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Ambra Medda, Co-Founder & Creative Director, L’ArcoBaleno

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'I was born on a tiny island in Greece, and I grew up in Milan and London. I consider myself Italian. I studied Chinese, and came to New York with the ambition of selling Chinese art, but felt uninspired by the art world—it was too commercial and not my vibe. I was really familiar with design, so instead I decided to start an art show called Design Miami at Art Basel. We did one in Basel, Switzerland, too. It was a big success. I was the director for six years, but left two years ago to start a new project, L’ArcoBaleno.com, a Berlin-based website that’s half editorial and half e-shop for art, furniture, jewelry, and even things for children. It’s mostly high-end pieces, but we’re integrating more affordable options every day. There’s also a blog on the site that I update every day. My talent is not in tech or fabricating objects, but in creating dialogue. I connect people and connect the dots.

Beauty-wise, I tried a lot of makeup out when I was young, but I never really got into it. I was too much of a tomboy. It was just so much work and I would think, ‘I don’t have time for this.’ [Laughs] I still can’t do foundation, but I’m into doing my cheeks and lips. I just recently picked up the Korres Lip Butter in Wild Rose and I keep that in my handbag at all times. I used Benetint for a long time, but here’s the thing—if it’s liquid, it has the potential to spill in my handbag. I travel a lot, so I need something that’s going to work with me and multitask. I’m not going to bend for a product. I still have the Prada lip balm I bought four years ago. I’m so upset they don’t make it anymore. For lipstick, I like Chanel Rouge Allure in Passion when my outfit needs a lift.

For my eyes, Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Eyeliner in Ébène has been particularly successful. I mean, you just want to wear it. I’m liking my current mascara— MAC False Lashes—that I got from a fashion party. But I’m always on the hunt for the right mascara. Smell is really important for me when it comes to mascara, because most of them smell weird; it really upsets me. A bad smell doesn’t make me want to put it on my eyeball. [Laughs] But Dior’s DiorShow actually had a great scent.

Traveling has given me mixed-conbination skin, so I use very gentle skincare products. I just discovered this great makeup remover form Paris— Lift’Argan from Léa Nature. It’s like an argan-oil version of Bioderma Crealine—it doesn’t foam, and it’s great for eye makeup. It’ll do the job. [Laughs] I’ve fallen in love with Santaverde Aloe Vera Cleansing Milk. It’s an aloe-based line that also does a really good toner, like a really good toner. It’s very soft, it has a nice consistency, it smells good, and it really works. I mean, I can’t recommend it more. It’s such a pleasure. When I want a deep clean, I use the clay Aesop Primrose Facial Cleansing Masque. Then I moisturize with Jonctum Cica Repairing Cream. I’ve been using it for 10 years—it’s a French pharmacy cream, and it’s a less-slippery version of Embryolisse, but the same principle. And I discovered Simply Divine Botanicals by Rose du Jour Light and Lovely Moisturizer at a health store the other day on 3rd street between 1st and Avenue A. It sits really nicely on your skin.

For my hair, I don’t use the same shampoo over and over again because I think it dulls the hair. I have the Rejuvenating Cleanser from Five Wits that my hairdresser, Joey Silvestera makes, and I just bought this Klorane Shampoo with Magnolia. For conditioner, I use Korres Almond and Linseed Conditioner for dry and damaged hair and Davines Lovely Smoothing Conditioner for Harsh and Frizzy Hair. After I wash my hair, I put in Rodin Olio Lusso and braid it while it’s still wet. I think I bought this bottle of Olio Lusso three weeks ago, and it’s like I’ve been drinking it. [Laughs] I enjoy my ritual. Then, for styling, I like Bumble and Bumble Thickening Spray—I went through a phase where I was just slapping it on to add texture. And I just discovered Klorane Dry Shampoo, and I have to say—fuck me. It’s unbelievable. I have the best deodorant, too— RoC Keops Deodorant Stick. It’s almost scentless.

So, after I shower, I always put on moisturizer, whether it’s body oil— Rodin makes a great one—or Skin Trip. It depends on how quickly I have to get out of here. If I have to put on clothes in less than 20 minutes, I put on lotion, but if I have at least 30 minutes, it’s enough time for oil to soak in.

I’ve been wearing Reminiscence Paris perfume since I was 13. It’s the only constant in my life. [Laughs] It’s a weird French brand that smells like the beach, and like watermelon. I mean, my business is called L’ArcoBaleno which means “the rainbow” in Italian. That’s how I feel—joyful. Sometimes, at night, when I want to go on a scent journey, I wear Majenty After Hours. Robert Downey Jr. actually gave it to me. Usually my reaction is ‘God, I wish people didn’t give me perfume. I’m never going to use it.’ But this one smelled like my mother’s friend, and I got attached.”

—as told to ITG

Ambra Medda photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on November 19, 2013.

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