“I’m very involved on a shoot with the decisions about hair and makeup. I don’t just wait until the model comes out, ready—it’s too much fun! I’m always saying that it’s my Barbie moment. You have live Barbie going on. There is so much you say through hair and makeup about the character you’re trying to portray. Obviously it starts with the clothes, but from the hair to the shoes, every element is very very important to the feeling of the character. And of course I always love mascara—I always ask for more. If there’s nothing on the girl, it’s mascara only.
If I were an era, I’d be the ‘70s in my beauty look. That’s the time when I was a teenager and finding out who I was. I think that is what stays with you, for always, for everyone. It’s when you’re discovering your identity through music, fashion, or hair and make up. That’s where, at least for me, a lot of inspiration comes from. Growing up, I never really thought about a beauty ritual that much. I always just used mascara and put on whatever cream. And I still do. Except when I was thirteen: I was putting baby powder on my face to make it full white. It was all about white skin, no tan ever. I used to have this big eyeliner going all the way across. And the reddest, biggest mouth. I would draw the mouth way bigger than my own—I was obsessed with Sophia Loren and her top lip was bigger than the bottom lip, so I would draw mine that way. But then you’re thirteen, and you have such a baby face! Anything that you put on just sits. When I was young, I tried every kind of makeup, everything. You don’t think about it because your face is like a clean palette. I didn’t care then whether it was making me beautiful or not. I just put it on to experiment.
I love makeup—I love applying makeup—but it’s very uneventful for me. I just don’t use that much. I used to love doing it on myself when I was a young puppy, but now I feel so far out at 48. Jeanine [Lobell] told me to do this, which is her secret: she told me all you need is this Bobbi Brown eye shadow in Flesh, Toast, Slate, and then black. One’s for under your eye, one for the crease, one that you put on the lid, and then that’s it. Plus mascara, always—I use Lancôme Définicils. I’m very low maintenance makeup-wise. It still takes me forever, combing out each eyelash. The Clarins Instant Smooth primer is another makeup thing that I found, that I love. It’s amazing. It actually smoothes everything; it fills in the wrinkles. I just went over to the Clarins counter and there it was! I’m not beyond cruising the beauty aisles. [Laughs] I’m always looking because I have so many ideas for developing a makeup line. So I’m always looking to see if someone is doing what I’d like to be doing at some point in my life, or is it not yet there, or what are they choosing, and what kind of picture do they use, why does that work.
The facialist Tracie Martyn, I think, is incredible and going to her was the start of taking care of myself a lot better. The way she approaches the whole skincare line that she designs with her husband—together they work on all of these products, and then use them with the equipment, like this “Resculptor” machine. Now she has some red light sun-tanning bed that doesn’t give you a tan, but it regenerates all your cells. That is pretty incredible, I have to say. You get out of it and your skin is all moist and springy and juicy. It’s incredible! I don’t get in there that much because I don’t have the time, but I would like to. The plan is always to go once a week but I never manage to go more than once a month. Many people call her their secret weapon. Look at Diane [von Furstenberg], she looks incredible! She’s had no surgery. What I like with Tracie is that you’re very pampered but it actually works miracles too. There’s this enzyme peel I use, you make your skin wet, you put it on, and you let it sit. It’s like a mask. It’s great for when I travel, all jetlag is scrubbed off your face at once. She also gave me the toning cream, which is supposed to be for your body, but then she said Cyndi Lauper came in and put it on her face and looked amazing so now it’s used for the face as well as the body! I use that first and put Benefiance Wrinkle Resist Emulsion by Shiseido over it for the SPF. They used to make one, from the same Benefiance series, that felt way better but unfortunately they keep changing the formulas. But I still use it because it definitely has a more velvety texture than other brands.
Anyway, the morning starts with those two things and then this eye roller by Clinique which I love. The puffy eye thing, I hate it! I keep telling Tracie, your next product has to be something that takes the water out from under your eyes. And then, maybe eight years ago, I found this cream, which I think is a miracle cream. Avène Ysthéal +, it’s unfortunately full of retinol but it’s actually incredible. It was the first time that I had found a cream where you put it on and right away you actually look glowing because it brightens the skin. I remember putting it on a day that a friend was with me—I went upstairs, put it on, came downstairs and she says, ‘Wow, what happened to you?!’ It’s an incredible cream. But because it has retinol, I now try to diminish the use of it. I used to wear it in the day, which you shouldn’t do with anything containing retinol. I didn’t know. I think that’s the general issue—you don’t know. You could have used something else and your skin would have been better, but you never know because you choose that one cream and you think it works, but you don’t know if you could have looked even better with another cream, which I think is the deal with the beauty industry. How will you ever know?
The other thing that I’m obsessed with is Annick Goutal’s Ambre Fétiche perfume. I found it in their store in Paris and ever since I’ve been wearing it, everyone has been telling me, ‘Oh my God. What is that smell?’ People right away are like, ‘I need to know.’ Men, women, it’s fascinating. I’ve never had that with any other perfume I’ve ever used. It’s very interesting for me to encounter that with a fragrance. We’re working on a fragrance ourselves now. We were approached by Ben Gorham who owns Byredo, and he proposed to work on something together. Vinoodh [Matadin, her partner] and I shoot a lot of fragrance campaigns—[Viktor & Rolf] Flowerbomb, Chloé etc. The bottle is there, the fragrance is there, and we are communicating the feeling of that fragrance through a photograph. We were always saying that it would be so interesting to make a fragrance based on an image, which kind of happened with the one we did for Narciso [Rodriguez] ‘For Her’, because that image of Carmen Kass already existed. We had already made that image for Narciso for a fashion ad; it was made in memory of his dear friend Carolyn Bessette. And so we made that, and then he said, ‘You know what, I want that special image to be my fragrance image.’ He had already developed the fragrance and the bottle, but connected it and it works.
So now we said with Ben, why don’t we give you a picture that in our mind, ever since we made it, we always felt like it would be something interesting for fragrance. And I think there are many images from our whole career that we feel are interesting as starting points for fragrances. It’s going to be based on this one picture and it’s going to have the name of the picture—‘Kirsten, 1996’. So he made the fragrance based on the photograph, and on our life, as he has been here to this house. We said, ‘These are the notes that we’ve always been attracted to, and these are the different countries we’re dreaming of; these are the feelings of the upper layer and the lower layer in the picture’, and in talking with him, it sort of became this thing. It has a very oriental feeling to it. It’s a little warm, there’s a woody-ness. There’s Vinoodh and there’s me, and we kind of just pushed them together. But it’s not like saying, this is the Inez and Vinoodh fragrance, we never approached it like that—it’s the ‘Kirsten, 1996’ one. And then mostly it has Ben’s touch, his interpretation of that. Who knows, maybe the next step is us making a real fragrance, but that is a whole other thing. This a good point of entry. It’s super exciting. It’s this little beautiful wooden box with the print and the bottle that we’re going to give to 100 people as a Christmas gift. It won’t be for sale—it’s a thing without any sort of pressure or competition or without anything having to sell. It’s a project for our friends and it’s art.
For my hair in it’s frizzy natural texture I use Moroccan Oil shampoo, conditioner, oil—the whole line. I’ll use the Viviscal pills like medicine, to give my hair a boost in winter. So many of the models told me about Viviscal; they swear by it. And then there’s all my Fekkai shampoos because I go to them to color my hair. I go to Jamie at the downtown salon. They always recommend shampoos and changing them around depending on the weather. I’ve been coloring my hair since I was 21—I’m fully gray. I go every three weeks. I used to do it at home when I was a teenager with a very blue/black dye, my hair never went back to it’s natural color after that. I’ve just started having my hair blown out maybe only in the last two years. Sometimes after a coloring session I’ll ask them to blow it out if I have to go somewhere looking like a less frizzy person, but it’s such a luxury for me. It’s really very recent that I’ve started doing that. Same with things like Tracie, I hardly went for a facial or anything like that.
I like getting older. I actually feel better ever day. The only thing I don’t like about getting older is maybe if there is something physical that doesn’t work as well anymore—like health things. I do worry sometimes that after menopause your face will fall off your skull—the estrogen is starting to go and everything just falls off your face. [Laughs] I don’t want that to happen. But little wrinkles and stuff, I’m not fighting right now. I mean, like I said, the only thing I really don’t like is the puffy eye. But surgery or botox, I can’t imagine doing. I was talking about it with Christy Turlington once, and she was saying, ‘Yeah, if you do all that, you will never know what you would look like old.’ And I agree with that actually. It’s true. But of course, she is going to be so unbelievably gorgeous no matter what age.”
—as told to ITG