"My dad is French and my mom is American—I grew up in the West Village and moved up to Dutchess County [New York] when I was 11, but I’ve always been a city girl. I was raised around a lot of old things—my parents were sort of fanatical about having everything old: wooden spoons, cutting boards….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 exotic 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 just go for a monochromatic black or navy blue outfit, or white, head to toe.
I’m big into having a vanity; I always have been. I think it’s a much more civilized way of getting ready, you know? I need to sit 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. 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 like that, 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-fashion way. I probably got that from my mother—she’s certainly someone that was always pulled together and wouldn’t leave the house looking a mess, ever. For me, it’s about playing with lipstick, mascara, powder, and kohl. I wear powder and mascara every day—I love the Serge Lutens line—but I’m really into 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 embrace them. There’s something about lipstick I feel that makes you a little bit…less naked. You can literally just put on some red lipstick and it makes one ‘look,’ like you’ve made an effort. [Laughs] It’s just such a 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—but…whatever. [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 towards more of the electric, bright, bright reds or corals. And I like the finish to be relatively matte. I don’t want anything shiny or glittery in any of my makeup, 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 ‘guy’ things. Like, tubes of toothpaste, deodorant… [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 foundation. I use a shade that the guy at the makeup counter says is too pale for me, but I just ignore him, 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 swipe it over 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 it out at an restaurant to touch up or powder your nose!
My mascara is called Sege Lutens Eye for Eye. It’s a lot of money, but it’s so good. It coats each individual lash with the perfect amount of mascara. It costs a lot, but it makes such a big difference; it's the only non-clumping one that I’ve managed to find and it last forever. I've also been doing 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 quad because I had just bought these turquoise sheer Fogal 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… I’m big into balance. 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 on my eyes, which I love, I’ll take a red-ish or purple-y Chanel eye shadow and put it right in the crease—super quick. 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. It works as a highlighter, too… I can’t do much with my brows. 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] That’s the thing I hate about my face, but c'est la vie.
I’m obsessed with scents, and I love wearing perfumes; I never leave the house without perfume. I wear Chanel N°5 and I mix it with some real amber that I picked up in a souk in Istanbul, the Grand Bazaar. 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 mixed in. My latest discovery is Ambre Nuit by Christian Dior; I think it’s for men, actually. But amber’s my thing. I love it… I once read in one of my favorite books, The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton, that a character smoked amber-scented cigarettes, which I always thought was so amazing…I wish they still made amber-scented cigarettes. I guess I like a really strong, complex scent.
In terms of my skincare routine, I'm 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. For my body, I love Santa Maria Novella Latte Per Il Corpo; it just smells amazing. 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 have to 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. It's funny, 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’ll have my mother’s friend teach me.
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 do Russian Roulette by Essie. I pretty much always wear red—on my toes, as well.
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 icky tasting, you’re less likely to want to lick it, or eat it. 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.