Givenchy had Audrey Hepburn. Warhol had Edie Sedgwick. Mapplethorpe had Patti Smith. Behind nearly every great artist—designer, painter, musician—there is a woman with a certain je ne sais quoi inspiring them to aim higher and create boundary-breaking, indelible work. To celebrate the launch of Estée Lauder’s first major fragrance in over a decade—the equally feminine (hello, jasmine…) and masculine (greetings, patchouli!) Modern Muse—we asked one of our personal-style heroes, stylist and makeup artist Stacey Nishimoto, to get into character. Well, actually, we asked her to play dress up and embody three of her all-time favorite muses via images and text, to which she replied, “So…what I do every day?” Some background on Ms. Nishimoto: an hour spent with the Los Angeleno, whether in person or through her Instagram feed, is like sitting in on a lecture at FIT—girl knows her fashion history. She also knows her way around a vintage store, is a bona fide beauty guru, and is a single, working mom to boot. When we think ‘modern,’ when we think ‘duality,’ we think Stacey, with two-year-old Gus in one arm and an iPhone in the other, snapping magazine-worthy selfies before heading to the office in a 1980s leather bustier. Take a page from her playbook: dress up, even for the grocery store. Flag a reference picture. Go for it with the liquid eyeliner. Use what you have! Oh, but—maybe pick up a new scent. This one is really, really good. Trust us.
Who: Anna Karina, the French ingénue with black cat eyes and lots of bangs.
Why: Anna Karina embodies sophistication and sweet seduction in a playful way. Her peach-colored lips and pearly matte face—punctuated with sharp black liner—completely changed my sense of beauty as soon as I laid eyes on her. I was a tender teen, dating this mod boy who would only watch French New Wave. The film: A Woman is a Woman. I sat wide-eyed, intoxicated and inspired, watching this sexy yet elegant kitten on the screen. I totally identified with her, of course. Eyeliner quickly became my weapon and I learned to master the perfect point.
Her face—her makeup—was always done in the most sultry way, no matter what she was wearing. Anna Karina is my muse to this day because in my book, an angelic face with killer eyes is always a winner. Which means that year after year, my go-to look consists of light sweaters and blouses tucked in full skirts, a black beret, a fitted trench coat, and a pair of cat eyes with a pale mouth. It’s a look that will forever be relevant.
How I Do Anna Karina: For her pearly matte skin, nothing does the trick like Double Wear Light. You get a fresh matte finish that looks incredibly soft and touchable. Vivid Shine Lipstick in Hot Coraline imparts the perfect soft peach, barely-there color that actually brightens my complexion. My Anna Karina ‘points’ stay on point with Double Wear Gel Eyeliner in Stay Onyx, an inky black liner with a silky texture that glides on effortlessly. You can’t screw it up. On lids, Pure Color in Winking Periwinkle. And for lashes, more of my favorite mascara in the whole world: Sumptuous Extreme. It’s like putting on a pair of soft and pretty lashes.