Emilie Jean, Antiques Dealer


"I was raised around a lot of old things—my parents were sort of fanatical about having everything old, even all of the cooking utensils and the tinsel on the Christmas tree….Every single thing in the house was old, which was exhausting when I was little because everything was so fragile. But, of course, now I like only old things, and I’m a dealer of antique textiles and jewelry. I love lots of color and prints for interiors, but not really in my everyday clothes, strangely. If I dress up, then I wear a lot of color—I love clashing prints and lots and lots of color, really over-the-top, with lots of jewelry. But if I’m not dressed up, I wear black or dark navy or white, monochromatic head to toe.

I love a vanity; I always have. I think it’s a much more civilized way of getting ready, you know? I like sitting down when I put on makeup; I hate leaning over a sink. When I was little, I remember I wanted a vanity so badly, and I got one for my 15th birthday—a big, ‘70s mirrored one. I still have it at my parents’ house. I never used it for putting on makeup. It was really more of a writing desk. Now, I use mine all the time... I’ll leave the house without makeup if I’m walking the dog, sure, but then I usually put on a pair of sunglasses. I just find that if you leave the house looking a mess, you’ll definitely see somebody you wished you hadn’t run into looking like that. [Laughs]

Makeup-wise, I definitely like a matte look; I think of makeup as 'face paint' in a very old-fashioned way. I probably got that from my mother—she’s certainly someone that is always pulled together and wouldn’t leave the house looking a mess, ever. My makeup staples are lipstick, mascara, powder, and kohl. I wear powder and mascara every day—I love the Serge Lutens line—but I love lipstick; I think it’s the greatest thing in the entire world. You know, I had these giant lips my whole life and I always hated them so much, but as I got older, I started to wear lipstick and flaunt them for the hell of it. Also, there’s something about lipstick I feel that makes you a bit…less naked, more defended. And you literally can just throw on some red lipstick and look like you’ve made an effort even when you haven't. [Laughs] It’s just such an easy thing to do.

I love all shades, but I’m obsessed with red lipstick. It used to be illegal back in the day, which I think is so great. People thought it was really indecent and vulgar, but then during WWII, they actually mandated that women in service wear red lipstick. I think it was considered a morale boost for the men and everything… The history of lipstick is fascinating. People say it’s still bad for you—that you’re not supposed to ingest it—I've probably ingested so much but…oh well! [Laughs] My favorite red lipsticks are YSL Rouge Pur Couture #13 Le Orange and #31 Cambon Rouge Coco by Chanel. YSL #2 Rouge Poupre is really good, too. I tend to wear a really bright orange-y red, as opposed to a blue-based red. I don’t really like the blue-y reds—I gravitate more towards more of the electric, bright, bright reds or corals. And I like the finish to be matte. I don’t want anything shiny or glittery in any of my makeup ever, including my powder, which is matte, the Serge Lutens Compact Foundation. I also just think his packaging is so beautiful, and packaging is so important. Really, it is. I couldn’t bear to have an ugly lipstick or any ugly product in my midst; I’m sort of fanatical about it. Actually, my boyfriend has completely taken over our medicine cabinet and I can’t bear to open it right now because it’s just stocked full of ugly  things. [Laughs] I don’t know, it's weird, but I just can’t stand it.

As soon as I moisturize, I put on the Serge Lutens powder foundation. I use a shade that the lady at the makeup counter says is too pale for me, but I just ignore her, because I think there’s nothing worse than having makeup that’s too dark for your face. Also, I think people don’t realize how pale my skin actually is. I just sweep it on with a brush and it evens everything out and gets rid of shine and, since it’s just powder, it doesn’t look like you’re wearing makeup—it’s sort of all you need. I do add the Serge Lutens translucent Finishing Powder, which sets everything. Since his products have such beautiful, discreet packaging, you wouldn’t be mortified to pull out a compact in public to touch up or powder your nose!

My mascara is Serge Lutens Eye for Eye. It’s very expensive, but it’s so good. It coats each individual lash with the perfect amount of mascara. It's the only non-clumping one that I’ve managed to find and it last forever. I've also been using a lot of turquoise eye shadow, the YSL Ombres 5 Lumières #5, in a sort Egyptian way, but you can’t do that and red lipstick—it’s one or the other. I actually got this turquoise eyeshadow because I had just bought these turquoise stockings with polka dots, and I knew I couldn’t leave the house in the stockings without sort of balancing the color on my face…Everything has to be balanced. I could never have a different color toe polish and a different color finger polish; it would make me crazy.

Aside from that, if I feel like I need a little color on the cheek, I’ll just use my lipstick as blush; it’s so much easier than buying a blush. And if I want to do a ‘bruised’ look above my eyes, which I love, I’ll use a red-ish or purple-y Chanel eye shadow. Then maybe a little YSL Touche Éclat if I didn’t get much sleep, since I tend to get circles—it’s sheer and just reflects the light. I can’t do much with my eyebrows. I wish I had giant eyebrows, but God didn’t give them to me; in fact, he practically forgot to give me eyebrows at all. [Laughs]

I’m obsessed with scents, and I love wearing perfumes; I never leave the house without scent. I wear Chanel N°5 and I mix it with some amber that I picked up in a bazaar in Istanbul. It’s sort of expensive but it lasts a long time, and it has the most amazing smell. I rub it into my hair, too. And, for some reason, it smells really good with Chanel N°5. My latest favorite scent is Ambre Nuit by Christian Dior; I think it’s for men, actually. But amber’s my thing. I love it…A character in one of my favorite books, Twilight Sleep by Edith Wharton, smokes amber-scented cigarettes. I wish they still made amber-scented cigarettes. I guess I like a heady, 'oriental' scent.

In terms of my skincare routine, it's pretty simple: I wash my face with Erno Laszlo Phelityl Cleansing Bar soap and then I use Erno Laszlo Active Phelityl Intensive Cream to moisturize my face. My mother recommended it to me a few years ago—I have sensitive skin and I’ve never had a problem with their products. I love Santa Maria Novella Latte Per Il Corpo; it just smells so good. Then, I wash my hair with Kiehl's Amino Acid Shampoo and Conditioner... And this is something I stole from my boyfriend: Geo F. Trumper Perfect Dressing for the Hair. It smells incredible and gives your hair a little bit of shine, but it’s not too oily. Since I wash my hair every day, I have to put something like that into it to give it a little moisture... I air dry; I never blow dry. I was just saying I would really like to learn how to use curlers because I hate stick straight hair. Thankfully, my hair doesn’t dry stick straight—it’s sort of wavy—but I would love to have even more dramatic volume, and you need to use curlers for that. I might learn eventually.

I don’t really like to be fussed over—but I will get my nails done, even though it does give me high anxiety waiting for them to dry. I go once a month for a pedicure and every two weeks for a manicure. I bring my own nail polish, which, the other day, someone told me was insane. Right now, I'm wearing #1 Rouge Pop Art from YSL—I think it’s a great red, and it lasts longer than the cheap stuff. If I forget to bring it with me, I’ll use Russian Roulette by Essie. I pretty much always wear red—on my fingers and my toes.

Oh, and Chapstick! Oh my god, Chapstick is the most important thing. I have Chapstick everywhere. Just, you know, the normal, Original Chapstick. It’s the best; it’s the only thing I use. It doesn’t dry out your lips—it actually moisturizes them. Everything else I’ve tried doesn’t work. I mean, sometimes before I go to bed I put on Vaseline. Because it’s so awful tasting, I'm less likely to lick it off. Is that strange? I don't know... When I was little, I was obsessed with eating Cherry Chapstick. [Laughs]"

—as told to ITG

Emilie Jean photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on December 5th, 2012. Emilie's new New York store is located at 206 East 6th Street between Bowery and 2nd Avenue.

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  • Marcela Cristovao

    Love, love, love this post. And this new features with all the products that we can buy straight away. This blog just keeps getting better.

  • Cate

    Loved what she said about picking a foundation shade a little light for her face. I'd much rather have foundation a little too light than too dark compared to the rest of my body. Also hilarious with the cherry chapstick. I'm fairly certain I did that as a child as well.

  • fairytalesandcoffee

    Chapstick, chapstick, chapstick - love it. I guess this is just one of the ways a future beauty aholic starts - eating cherry flavored chapstick - my currently 4 year old niece has been obsessed with chaptick since she was a few months old when my oldest sister gently tapped her lips with it. Since then, she's been slathering/eating her lips with it. Yup, she does. I thnk she recognized a tube of chapstick before she was probably able to distinguish/recognize her parents. Tons of value sized packages of chapstick have been purchased for my nieces enjoyment to slather her lips with, and a few of my lancome concealer wands have been cleared out because of her confusing it for chapstick. :)

  • Panglu

    when will the world make edible chapstick!?

  • http://twitter.com/magicmolly Molly Young

    I like learning about the beauty routines of people who aren't in the fashion industry. Especially experts. Especially experts who are antiques dealers that read minor postwar Edith Wharton novels and wear turquoise hosiery


  • http://www.getmadcute.com/ MADCUTE

    Aint no shame in my BYO polish game!

  • Melanie

    By 'real amber' does she mean ambergris?

    • beeswaxnoneofyour

      Amber and Ambergris are two totally different things. What she is talking about would be Amber (resin) as it would be plentiful to buy in bazaars in places like Turkey and Morocco.

      • Melanie

        Yeah this is why I was wondering, I guess - I don't believe amber the resin is related, scent-wise, to 'amber' the concept in fragrance. Amber the resin has little scent and when it does it's more like pine wood. Amber in perfume refers to accords made up of a collection of ingredients (rather than something derived from a single raw material, though it was originally based on ambergris) which vary between fragrances, perfumers etc., but generally based on benzoin, labdanum, and vanilla. Emilie goes on to talk about amber in perfume (so the perfumery concept rather than the resin), so I'm guessing she must mean she has a piece of ambergris - which is cool, because I wasn't aware you could still get it so (relatively) easily!

  • Erica

    Absolutely love this post-- she just oozes luxury!!!

    I squealed when I saw a Top Shelf! I absolutely devour everything posted on this website, but I definitely have a soft spot for these posts!

  • Leetoki

    What a gorgeous lady! I study package design so it's nice to see another person so blatant in their love for what their products come in. Also, totally loving the products role call at the end.

    AND MORE IMPORTANTLY I choked on my coffee when I realised her bangle holder is what looks to be a great big marble penis, and now cannot stop laughing. Perfect.

    • Chic noir

      Okay, I thought it was just me. I had to wipe my eyes cause I could've sworn I saw a giant marble penis before my eyes.

  • Marsi

    Did anyone else go out today and buy Russian Roulette nail polish after seeing those chic short red nails -- or is it just me?

  • CFH

    Was that an amber glass dildo holding bangles? More power to you, Emilie.

  • jillian

    This is probably my favorite Topshelf thus far. Love her details on scents and the way she stores her makeup.

  • Chic Noir

    Love this topshelf. She seems so glamorous. Have not tried Serge Lutens. The price point is a little big higher than what I normally pay for cosmetics. Tom Ford,Chanel and Dior are the most expensive brands that I use.

    Is there anyone else here who has used Serge Lutens who can recommend a few items? Are the fragrances long lasting?

    • Sandra Michaan

      I'm in LOVE with his fragrances & if you like Rose, Sa Majeste La Rose is the best. Smells like an exotic rose garden. His Amber for men is one of my favorites too. (Like she mentions, that she uses Amber & mixes it with Chanel no. 5) I sometimes mix that with my Chanel too! It's a sultry scent & both get compliments!

      • chic noir

        Sandra, thanks for the reply. I don't usually care for rise scents but I am certainly going yo swing past Barney's to give the Amber for men a try.

  • cheersdaily.wordpress.com

    Red lipstick is the best-I use MAC Russian Red and it's perfectly matte. Great post!

  • rena

    "Get The Products" is a great great idea!!! well done!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jjmedusa J.J. Barkas

    Wow - she's gorgeous! I'd love to check out her store.

  • teaberry

    Curious to know whether she uses the entire Laszlo line/does the 5,000 splashes, etc.? I've always wanted to try their products!

  • Sydney

    Hi! Wondering what Chanel shadows Emilie uses to get the "bruised" look?

  • SF City Editor

    She's a girl after my own heart, I love red lipstick and recently bought Blazing Red by Dior and Cana by Aveda, both orange-reds.

  • L A M A R T I N É

    look at the beauty lounging around in a vintage kimono with red lipstick... perfect!

  • Nicola

    I just to buy amber cigarettes in Cairo at the perfume shops in Khan el Khalili, I sure they still sell them. Apparently they are aphrodisiac.


Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent Ombres 5 Lumieres
Essie Nail Polish
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent La Laque Couture
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat
Erno Laszlo
Erno Laszlo Phelityl Intensive Cream
Erno Laszlo
Erno Laszlo Phelityl Cleansing Bar for Dry Skin
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Lip Color SPF 15