Isabel Marant


"I’m very boyish and I can be very feminine at the same time. I like contrasting things. I don’t like it when things are perfect; I like imperfection. I like sexiness, but I don’t like the first degree of it—the overly sexy, which, for me, is very vulgar. I’m very sensitive about the shoulders and legs. I like the fragility of the woman, but I like a strong woman at the same time. I think I try to put those two ideas together. I don’t like the image of a woman being just a sex object. I’ve always loved those feminist women that were strong and fighting, proving that they are equal to men… I’m a woman—I’ve got a kid, I’ve got a husband, but I also have my work.

I’ve always loved the most natural women; I’m not very into hiding yourself. For me, the most beautiful girl would be a girl that feels comfortable with what she is. I’m always asked about what I would recommend, or what a girl should do—but it doesn’t work like that. You have to find yourself and what fits you and what’s good for you, and most of all, feel self-confident. When you see people that are self-confident, they radiate something good. When you look at iconic people, most of the time they are dressed up exactly the same way for all their life. They dress for themselves. For example, my icons would be Serge Gainsbourg or Jane Birkin…or Françoise Hardy or Diana Vreeland. I mean, all their lives, they were dressed the same way and wore almost the same thing. I think the purpose is to find what’s right for you and what you feel good in. When somebody tries to be somebody else and looks too much to the newspaper or wants to resemble a certain girl, it will be a failure because you are not this girl. It’s better to spend some energy to find, ‘Ok, this is good for me,’ or ‘This is the right thing for me.’

When I get ready in the morning, I’m doing as little as possible. I don’t really have time. I rarely wear makeup. Today, the day of the [Spring 2013] show, I did. Sometimes I put a red lipstick on when I don’t have a good tan because it makes me brighter and otherwise I would look grey. I like really red. I quite like Yves Saint Laurent’s red lipsticks—the packaging is very sexy. I only color my hair a tiny bit. I go once a year to get a little bit of color, but I’m never covering it; I just do some lighter shades because I’m quite brunette but I have a lot of gray hair. I don’t have time to go to the hairdresser all the time, so if I dyed it, I would have roots, which is really ugly. So, I just do a tiny, lighter thing where my gray hairs are mixed into the darker hair underneath. It looks a bit sad if I don’t lighten it... I think my husband likes that I don’t really do anything with makeup or hair. I think. [Laughs]

When I have to look good for a special occasion, I really clean my face and wash it. Then I put a good cream on. I’m using Kanebo. It’s a Japanese brand that I discovered because we were going to do a perfume with them years ago and that’s when I started to use some of their products. We didn’t end up doing the perfume because I was too new in the business and I’m not a perfume girl at all, but they offered me their product. It really fits me; I love the texture, there’s no smell. It’s very simple. I have very dry skin and I smoke a lot so I need to hydrate. [Laughs] But I’m very tough on products; I don’t think most products are really good. It’s really about finding what you like and going with it. I drink a lot of carrot juice; I feel that my tan and skin is much better because of carrot juice—that’s why I’m always quite sun-tanned. It works for me. But I’m not obsessed, I don't have any process in the morning, like waking up and drinking a glass of water with lemon; I’m not serious enough for that. [Laughs] I need to sleep, I need to drink a lot of tea and things like that…a little bit of exercise, that helps! The whole aging process is just life. I love wrinkles; it’s your age, it’s your life. It says who you are, if you are smiling, the lines.... I think people who have faces that are not moving anymore, they just look like window mannequins. After a while, you don’t even know if they are old or young. I think one of the worst things in our world is this entire trend about surgery.

Actually, I quite like simple things. I think I understand very well what a girl is looking for in a garment. The attitude of what I make is very difficult for me to describe—it’s really me. Being in the fashion industry, I’m quite fed-up with clothes, but most of the time I have to try things on myself to feel if it’s right or not. I cannot see it on a model because a model, she’s just perfect. For me, it’s very important to have the right cut, that you don’t look too big, that the pockets are in the right place, because that’s what gives you attitude…the length, I need to experience it. Most of the time, I’m always dressed up in the same thing because during the day I change my clothes maybe ten times. Today, my team said, ‘Isabel, you cannot go [to the show] with a sweatshirt and those trousers.’ I don’t really care about what I’m wearing; I just pick the first things on the top of the pile. [Laughs]"

—as told to ITG

Isabel Marant photographed by Emily Weiss in Paris after her Spring 2013 show on September 28th, 2012. 

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Danielle Idan

    great interview! i loved her raw approach to beauty and life in general, very inspiring woman.

  • isabel

    looking forward to next summer to see the collection! and above all: wear it :)

  • L.

    Her new collections are far from simple (as seen from the pictures), but I do like her approach to beauty. Most importantly: I believe it. A lot of people claim they don't do much (like it's something that needs to be undermined, not to appear superficial, I guess) and then they start name checking all the products and it just piles up. Her routine (or lack thereof) actually feels genuine. Thanks ITG.

  • Kitchen Afternoon

    Refreshing, and what a marvelous jacket!

  • charlotte bentley

    Ah, I am BEYOND obsessed with everything Isabel does. She is one of my favorite designers. Everything is just so wearable. I just love her philosophy here. Creating a style, and sticking to it. While I think there is something to be said about an ongoing metamorphosis, I envy people that have a signature style and look.
    I just bought the gray Milwaukee boots and I basically cuddle with them every night before I fall asleep. The spring stuff is so up my alley. I better start pinching pennies now!

  • mllep

    She looks really happy which is the best beauty tip. I do like a lot of her things, but the prices not so much. Will hope for a lucky sale season!

  • Liza

    Great interview Emily! I absolutely agree that it's important to find a look that works for you and that you feel comfortable with and to stick to it. I'm still a teenager, so I'm sort of in the testing out phase now, but hopefully I'll find my signature look eventually. I think what you wear and your beauty routine should reflect who you are as a person.

  • Azrakun Blue

    amazing attitude towards natural beauty!

  • Ginger Noisette

    Isabel Marant we believe in.

  • katie chambers

    Thank you so much for this! She and Phoebe Philo (hint hint) are two of my favorites; they seem to really understand what's needed and wanted.

  • Christine Nicholson

    She's exactly what imagined her to be, perfect and cool in every way. Love Isabel

  • Sophie Lewis

    I have loved Isabel Marant the brand, and know I love Isabel Marant the person as well! xx

  • Amalie Espeland

    she is a genius!!!!!

  • Rachael SparkFire

    So inspiring! I love reading about strong women who carry themselves with love and respect for others and their own self. It is so good to see that we still have women worthy of being role models. She is intelligent and worthy of praise! Self respect is so admirable! xoxo, Sparks, a frequent reader

  • Couteau

    Give me that old-time religion,
    It's good enough for me.

  • Jillian Hobbs

    There is no on in this world I admire more than Isabel, well maybe mom and nonna if we're getting technical, she doesn't buy into glamour yet she is, in her way, glamours. I love the whole sweatshirt/trousers, and having no true intent other than the necessity to be clothed and the notion of comfort. It's something I can really relate to. Thank you for this :)


  • SLePane

    I wish I could look as good as she does doing so little. Maybe I am not thin or attractive enough, or maybe it is not enough confidence.

    I wear no makeup because that is how I am comfortable, but objectively I can see I look better with some... blah.

  • the marant philes

    The great thing, without being biased, is that she says the same thing in many interviews so you know it's coming from a sincere place. I didn't know too much about her, personally or her philosophy, but since I've started my blog, I gotten to "know" her through her interviews and really respect her point of view. obviously i guess.... - Aliya :)

  • Enterloop

    Love her, great article and beautiful clothes.

  • Enterloop

    Love this! And she looks stunning in the picture.


    What a fantastic interview. A bunchload of inspiring things!!!

  • Alexandria Gaines

    LOVED this interview, we got to see what a down to earth person she is!

  • Rachel Wentworth

    Love her thoughts on aging. There's too much stress and trepidation surrounding the whole process. It's lovely to hear from women who embrace gives me confidence as I get old. Brava.

  • bellaconsience

    if only aging did not affect women...well at least as far as looks are different would are lives be then?

  • Asharah Damore

    Loved the article..and I love the jacket she's wearing...

    Asharah Damore

  • eyebrow_mafia

    love her and i pine for a pair of her sneakers, but darn it isabel and all these women who smoke: you would be less wrinkly, more hydrated, and use less product in general if you just quit that toxic habit!!! simple solution. for reals.

  • Bonnie Clyde
  • Pixel_Queen

    While I cannot relate to her beauty routine (again with the smoking and the tanning!) I do love her designs. I can't afford them, of course, and probably couldn't wear them, either (I have an ass, I'm afraid) but they inspire me, nonetheless.

  • ohmydior

    I love the jacket so masculine!

  • Daul Be

    J'adore Isabel!!! I love her clothes and I've been finding and reading all the interviews she did because she's quite press-shy. Love love love that ITG got a dose of Marant for me <3

  • emily doyle

    Thank you for this lovely little window into Isabel. She has such a great attitude and perspective. I especially appreciate her view on real beauty and she shuns the pervasive world of plastic surgery.

  • Sharman

    Oh, those models are so skinny.

  • Melody Lam

    I love that Isabel proclaims her fondness for feminism. She recognizes and admits her love for strong women who are on par with men. The fashion industry tends to objectify women. Many people in the industry just see women as hangers to show off their designs. People like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift don't even know what feminism is. Modern feminism is not about burning bras and being anti-men. It's about female empowerment and female advancement, to erase gender lines that separate men and women from achieving the same goals in all aspects of life. This, especially when women are gradually becoming the breadwinners and main decision makers of the family.

  • Joan

    Goddess ♥