'I think a little bit has changed since I did my Top Shelf a few years ago…back then, I wanted to get a little more experimental with everything, but I think that I've just now perfected my cat eye! These days, I am doing a lot more with my skincare—I’ve actually started using masks.
At the moment, I love the SK-II Facial Masks. In December I was in Tokyo for the Dior show and went to this place called Tokyu Hands. They had everything that you could ever want there, and I bought these funny face masks that have Kabuki faces painted on them. You literally put them on and look like a Kabuki master! I’m also really into these Dolce & Gabbana Aurealux Masks that I’ve been using for travel. They smell delicious, and I travel so much…at the moment, I’m basically living my life on a plane.
I've been so busy recently—my next issue of Tank Magazine is coming out, and I’m working on Because Magazine, which is our digital magazine. I also just had my Nordstrom Signature and Caroline Issa clothing launch, which was huge for me because it’s the first time I have collaborated on ready-to-wear. I have a long history with Nordstrom. I used to be a management consultant, and when I graduated Penn 15 years ago, they were my first-ever client. Then, a few years ago they approached me about collaborating, so I hopped into the world of clothing design. It’s a 28-piece capsule collection that comes out quarterly for the next few years—basically, they're essentials for your wardrobe. We’ve got things like a key trouser, great leather pieces, a two-piece power suit—all with good tailoring, because I love tailoring. That probably comes from my days as a management consultant! Basically, I want it to feel like you can mix-and-match throughout the collections and have every piece work with your existing wardrobe—you can wear a Dior coat with our suit, or your Topshop jeans with our biker jacket. Just key, classic, and timeless pieces.
I have two different kinds of 'going out.' I go out almost every night for work, so I have to do a lot of day-to-night dressing when I'm running around all day, meeting the bank manager in the morning, then have to go to a fancy dinner at night. I tend to wear really versatile pieces during the day, so that I can go straight out in the evening. That’s where makeup becomes important. I’ll put on big chandelier earrings and a red lip, and that is how I can sort of cheat my way from day to night.
On a weekend when I’m going out with friends, I like to have fun, really dress up, and do my face for the evening. I tend to go out for dinners with my friends, and I like old-school places like The Delaunay or The Wolseley where the light is really good. I have a friend who sometimes brings this amazing DJ from Italy to the downstairs bar at Momo, and I’ll just spend six hours dancing. That’s my release—twice a year, dancing nonstop for six hours, getting dressed up, and letting loose.
WHERE TO GO
I still love going out in Mayfair, London—it’s really chic and has beautiful bars. I don’t tend to do East London...I’m just not hip enough. It is very cool, very i-D, but I’m a W kind of girl. I always think that Paris is the perfect city to go out in, other than having to find a cab to go home. This amazing club called Chez Castel has just reopened. Actually, when I joined Tank—almost 12 years ago now—that was where we did our first Paris party. There was red-velvet everything, and it’s where all the rockstars used to hang out.
André Saraiva and Thomas Lenthal, the guy who co-founded Numéro, came together to redo this institutional club. It’s amazing—a true Parisian place to go out at night. It’s sexy and French—it’s glamorous. I love places where you can inject a little energy and glamour wherever you go.
Recently at Couture Week there was a party at Caviar Kaspia in Paris. It was black tie, so I took it at face value and wore a white tuxedo with a bow-tie, a red lip, and a cat eye. It was great, but everyone was like, 'You’re so dressed up!' I just said, 'The invitation said black tie! And we’re in this glamorous restaurant!' We spend our time reading magazines and looking at these amazing images, and sometimes we just want to make the effort, look amazing, and be in that moment to have that amazing memory.
For my skin, I’m addicted to Glossier's Perfecting Skin Tint for a little bit of sheer coverage, then I just use Charlotte Tilbury’s The Retoucher Conceal and Treat Stick in 3 Medium around my eyes, nose, and on any zits I need to hide. The coverage is really good, but it doesn’t feel heavy. After that, I’ll put on a bit of bronzer on my cheeks and, with that, I’ll look relatively presentable.
Then, for the evening, I will pile on mascara—a double-layer instead of a single-layer—and I’ll do my bottom lashes. I use Diorshow Black Out Mascara, because it’s a really intense black, or the Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes 5 Star Mascara in Glossy Black because it stops me ending up with raccoon eyes at the end of an evening—but I always keep the classic Maybelline Great Lash as a backup. A cat eye is the only thing that I can do very well. I use the Eye Do Lash Enhancing Liquid Eyeliner from Eyeko because Alexa Chung does, and she does a great cat eye. But I also love the Creme Eyeliner from Laura Mercier in Noir. I feel like a gel defines better, and I like the texture of it—plus it has a powdery finish. I need to learn how to do a smoky eye. I’m so afraid of messing it up, but right now I just use a little bit of Charlotte Tilbury’s Filmstar Bronze and Glow on my eyes and under my brow.
Sometimes I wear a red lip during the day if I have a lot of meetings, but I’ll deepen it for the night. I also really like this Dior lipstick that’s a two-in-one— Dior Diorific Golden Shock Lipstick in 007 Passion Shock. You can use it if you want to lighten up or need a little bit of a sheen. I was on a shoot with Charlotte Tilbury, and she said, “Darling! You need to try this and my Golden Goddess!” She’s amazing.
My new favorite perfume is D.S. & Durga’s Silent Grove, but I tend to consider Frédéric Malle’s Lipstick Rose my signature. It reminds me of my grandma’s lipstick. It’s so good! I don’t switch my fragrance for night, but I do switch my winter and my summer fragrances. Winter is always Lipstick Rose.
I usually have no patience for my hair. I slick it back, put some Pantene Pro-V Curl Shaping Gel in, and that’s it. It's naturally really frizzy, but I never leave it curly—I was thinking of busting out the au natural soon, actually. I haven’t dyed my hair, and I’m letting all the white hairs out. It’s good to be natural. Now I just need to take the next step to let the curls out!
After a long night, I always take everything off. I just started using Charlotte Tilbury’s Take It All Off Genius Eye Make-Up Remover, and then I use Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser or Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser with the washcloth. It’s so good! You feel like your skin breathes after all the dancing and sweat. Then I really like to massage in Liz Earle’s Superskin Concentrate—it hydrates really beautifully and smells really good. Then, I use Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer.
I’m an early-night type of girl. Sleep is important—super important! I need about eight hours of sleep, but I’m lucky if I get seven. I’m now on six...It catches up with you. I think that nowadays, a lot of people know not to expect me after dinner. Once dessert hits, I tend to eat it and then duck out.”
—as told to ITG
Caroline Issa photographed by Tom Newton. For more After Dark, click here.