The Sephora Glossy: François Nars on the 20th Anniversary of NARS Cosmetics


Read this post on The Sephora Glossy here.

The makeup mastermind reflects on the past, present, and future of his audacious, iconic brand.


Schiap. Copacabana. Orgasm. In the world of NARS, just one word can embody saturated color, luxurious texture, and unadulterated glamour. This year, the trendsetting company responsible for such cult-classic shades and products celebrates its 20th anniversary as a beauty powerhouse. We caught up with legendary founder and creative director François Nars to hear the colorful story behind the brand. RENEE TRILIVAS

Why did you decide to create your own makeup line?
I was frustrated with not being able to find the best products or colors, and I thought it would be fun to create a makeup line. It wasn’t planned; it was very spontaneous, which is what I think makes it so fresh. From there, it grew little by little, and I stood behind it the whole way, and I think we have stayed true to our roots because of that.

What makes beauty lovers so loyal to NARS?
The product, packaging, campaigns, and names are just a few reasons why I think we have such a cult following. When I create products for instance, I always push our chemists to create colors that look the same in the compact as they do applied on your lips, eyes, or skin. I also think our packaging has been very successful. The soft-touch feel and logo are very recognizable. I also think what sets us apart is that even though we are growing very fast, we try to keep the young feeling of the company.

After 20 years, where do you find fresh inspiration for new products?
I am inspired by everything: places I’ve traveled to, old films, exhibits I’ve visited, and even people on the street. I can see something someone is wearing, or their hair color, and design with those colors and palettes in mind. That’s the way I create collections—it’s very impulsive, nothing is really planned.

What’s your favorite part of creating a new product?
Coming up with the names! Although today, it is more and more difficult as a lot of names are taken! I keep a small book that I write in 24 hours a day. Even in the middle of the night, I wake up and write a name for a lipstick or an eye shadow. I always try to find new names.

Where do you see the brand going in the next 20 years and beyond?
I never think too much about the future. I work a few months in advance because I have to, but for the most part, I take it day by day. I celebrate the past but live in the moment. I hope the image of the brand remains; I hope we continue to grow while staying true to our history. I think it’s hard with the evolution of NARS, but it’s been this way since the beginning, so I hope in 20 years it will be the same.


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