Beauty Nostalgia is a column on Beauty Counter in which we ask influencers, tastemakers, and some of our favorite industry experts to wax poetic on the sticks, salves, and sprays that helped shape who they are today.
The Pro: Alex Chantecaille, vice president of sales for Chantecaille Beauté
The Product: “That little black bottle of Fracas by Robert Piguet brings back memories for me. My mother had the original concentrate from Paris on her bathroom vanity. I recall her telling me it was the most [potent] of all perfumes—pure tuberose. I think a miniature flacon of it sold for the astronomical price of $100; to an 8-year-old that sounded like a million dollars. I would always open the fragrance’s pearl-like topper very gingerly, dabbing only a small amount on my wrists or behind my ears. That felt endlessly more [glamorous] and feminine than an overwhelming spritz. Other times, I’d merely sniff it, breathing in the sweet aroma. Once, I fumbled and spilled the bottle in my mother’s sink, lacquering the bathroom with its exuberant scent. I felt as if I had dropped holy water! I think my mother kept the empty [flacon] for years afterward. It was a symbol of bygone elegance and awkward adolescence.”
“It’s not about doing fantastical hair anymore—it’s about simple parts and color,” said Guido Palau about the trend for Spring 2014 at an industry event last night. But there was one exception to the rule, he explained: Dolce & Gabbana. It was there that romance and Romanesque updos reigned supreme—adorning them with everything from almond tree blossoms to antique coins. The final look, he described, is “all the things a girl wants to be at some point.” When the models finally hit the runway to music by Nino Rota from various Frederico Fellini films, and blush-colored petals gently cascaded down from the ceiling in the background, it was, in a word, enchanting.
For all the behind-the-scenes beauty details, read this month’s Backstage Confidential.
Hungarian model Vanessa Axente may only be 18-years-old, but her list of accomplishments is already impressive: She’s become a muse for Steven Meisel, walked in a slew of runway shows (21, to be exact, for Spring 2014), and graced the covers of the Japanese, German, and Italian editions of Vogue. Not bad for someone who can’t even drink. While primping for the Gotham Independent Film Awards this week (photo diary below), the new face of Calvin Klein and the brand’s forthcoming eau, Endless Euphoria, shared her low-key beauty habits.
Her red-carpet ritual: “[The night before an event] I go to bed before 11:00, and I always take a hot bath. I put olive oil, lavender oil, and milk in the water to moisturize my body. It makes me feel so relaxed, and after that I’m ready for bed.”
On her look for the Gotham Awards: “My makeup is very simple, but it’s still sexy because of the eyeliner. I went with a more natural look, because I’m young. The hair is very Calvin Klein—straight but also a little wavy. The whole look is kind of masculine, but still feminine, because the back of the top is so pretty.”
Her secret for gorgeous skin: “I always wash my makeup off at night with Chanel cleansing water, and once a week I exfoliate my face with brown sugar, to keep it soft.”
Her tricks for makeup that won’t budge: “If I need my makeup to last all day long, I spritz my face with Avène water, because it refreshes my skin but it doesn’t mess up the makeup. To make my lipstick last, I apply concealer and lip liner first. A makeup artist taught me that.”
What she loves about Calvin Klein Endless Euphoria: “It’s fresh, youthful, and it fits my personality perfectly. It gets your attention, but it’s not too overpowering.”
And where does she like to spritz? “I like to apply fragrance on my neck and wrists—that’s where you smell it the most.”
Endless Euphoria Calvin Klein (the blush-colored bottle at left)—a blend of cherry blossom, violet, and sandalwood—is available beginning March 2014.
What started as an atelier of sorts on Melrose Place has now turned into L.A.’s newest beauty destination. Violet Grey, founded by Cassandra Huysentruyt Grey, was initially a haven for celebrities, stylists, and artists and their entourages—a place they would go to seek inspiration and test hair and makeup looks for an upcoming appearance. Now this private world initially intended for A-listers only is opening up to the public, starting with a Web site that produces a monthly digital publication, The Violet Files, created by top fashion photographers, filmmakers, and actresses. (Starting Oscar week of 2014, the e-commerce portion of the site will be live, featuring a well-edited selection of products chosen by industry insiders.) For the December issue, longtime visitor to Grey’s oasis, Eva Mendes, plays the starring role in her own version of a West Coast Christmas, where eggnog is served cold and firs laden with snow are replaced with palms wrapped in twinkly lights. Inspired by Slim Aarons’ 1955 photograph of his wife (at left), where she can be seen floating in the family pool—a normal Los Angeles activity, save for the large Christmas tree at one end and glittering ornaments strewn across the surface—Mendes devised a character for her cover story she dubbed Dolores Carmen. “Photo shoots are best, and always more fun, when I transform into another persona,” she said. Shot by Guy Aroch at the iconic Brody House built by A. Quincy Jones, the red-carpet fixture documented “Dolores” preparing for the festive season, devising her own intimate winter wonderland in the glamorous, warm-weather setting of Holmby Hills. Here, an exclusive look at some behind-the-scenes snaps:
“Growing up in NYC, the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa was so iconic and the ultimate in luxury glamour. It was the spa that all little girls dreamed of visiting someday.”
We pay homage to her childhood dreams with a photo of the original red door of the Arden Building on Fifth Avenue (along with a vintage ad). Gruss is almost like Eloise, but in lieu of The Plaza Hotel, this mini Manhattanite would have rather spent time a few blocks away at the Red Door Spa. And as newly appointed Style Director for the storied beauty brand, this now-grown-up designer will be getting her wish—working on everything from social-media initiatives to creating a collection of cosmetic bags, which come out next fall. “Classics like Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant are sometimes better left untouched,” she says, but don’t rule out a mini makeover. “Creating limited-edition packaging could be fun to explore in the future.” It appears the designer plans to give the doors of the 103-year-old company a fresh paint job.