“In the natural pursuit of beauty, women change constantly – great products inspire and guide this process. It’s all about finding different ways to express individual beauty and personality.” – Francois Nars
Francois Nars (Renowned makeup artist and photographer)
New York, US.
Date NARS Launched:
Francois sold the company to Shiseido in 2000 and joined creative forces to launch a skincare line entitled NARSskin, which was officially released in 2002.
The use of sleek black packaging, smooth texture and pristine white print make for an inevitably professional appearance with the contrast of deeply provocative product names, often gives the brand a playful and edgy twist.
Francois Nars altered the industry standard of beauty through his use of ethnic diversity and unconventional models through his campaign ads. Francois’ creative vision always relays a type of quirky beauty that never translates as unattainable or fake. Nars is most famous for working with each individual’s characteristics and creating aesthetic masterpieces that not only compliment the intended theme, but also the models face.
NARS is most well known for its universally flattering powdered blush “Orgasm” and its sister products; the multiple and the illuminator which all emerged on the scene in this coveted tone after the success of the original. Some of the other cult classics include Turkish delight lip gloss, Dolce Vita lipstick and the infamous Laguna bronzer.
Francois Nars was born in the South of France and as a young child became enamoured with the iconic beauty of old Hollywood, European cinema and the glamour that graced the pages of French Vogue. Francois’ passion began to blossom further with the adoration for his mother’s love of fashion and beauty. Her decadent fashion sense and minimalistic approach to makeup allowed Francois to appreciate the true essence of a woman’s natural beauty. Francois eventually attended the infamous Carlita makeup school in Paris and soon after caught the eye of American Vogue Editor Polly Mellen who persuaded him to move to New York in 1984 to rub shoulders with some of the finest makeup artists and fashion designers the industry had to offer.
Upon his arrival, Francois quickly made his presence known with many of New York’s highly celebrated fashion designers and met some of the very same models, designers and artists he had come to admire in his youth. François’ collaborations with top designers continued to grow over the years, most notably joining forces with Dolce & Gabbana, Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Sui, Versace and Valentino among others. His most famous partnership was born out of a Steven Meisel photo shoot where he met iconic fashion designer Marc Jacobs. It was this chance meeting that led Francois to become Marc Jacob’s key makeup artist for all of his fashion shows spanning over the next ten years. After working his magic on the runway, Francois had become disenchanted with the products available to him. Out of this frustration, he created a collection of 12 rich pigmented lipststicks and launched them at Barney’s New York in 1994. After the collection was released, the demand for more products steadily increased and the brand was successfully born.
With a lack of money and inability to hire a professional photographer, Francois NARS decided to take it upon himself to shoot his own promotional ads in the fall of 1996. He was met with much success as the industry praised him for his style and raw talent. Even today, Francois continues to shoot all of his own ads, establishing a career as a successful photographer for Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Allure and many other noteworthy publications.
X-Ray – 240 pages of immense color portraits-creations, really-extracting the essence, of the world’s most remarkable individuals and celebrities.
Makeup Your Mind – The ultimate instructional makeup manual.
15×15 – A limited edition release celebrating the 15 year anniversary of NARS cosmetics. The book contains 15 celebrity portraits utilizing an iconic NARS product.
My Top Picks:
- Orgasm blush
- Deepthroat blush
- The Multiple (in all shades)
- Copacabana illuminator