'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.