Lili Barbery-Coulon Writes From Capri

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Dear ITG,

The first time I went to Capri was 10 years ago. I was on a press trip for the launch of a perfume by Azzaro. At the time, I was working at French Vogue, and I had promised myself that I would be back someday after years spent dreaming of this island and the Amalfi coast. And now, writing you this postcard from an amazing rooftop in Naples while enjoying the very last glass of red wine before traveling back home to Paris tomorrow, I realize just how lucky I am to have fulfilled one of my dearest dreams.

Anywhere in Capri, you expect to see the ghost of Jackie O popping out of a café, Michel Piccoli staring at her smoking a cigar from the balcony of a villa, or of a young Brigitte Bardot with a black wig such as in the film Le Mépris by Jean-Luc Godard. It is so infused with famous scenes, which have filled my culture, that every corner looks familiar. Instead of Dolce Vita actresses and stylish young models of the '60s, I have to admit that the main square—the tiny piazzetta—is surrounded by tourists holding selfie sticks...but, who cares? April, isn't the highest season, and you can easily escape from the crowd. Take the Pizzolungo coastal path and get your iPhone ready for the Faraglioni Rocks and the Villa Malaparte (where Le Mépris was shot). The walk is quite tricky as it is filled with stairs coming up and down. At the end of the walk, you won’t look like Jackie with a nice scarf in her hair but more like someone who just came out of a Soul Cycle session...but filled with beauty from head to toe.

Speaking of beauty, I came to Capri with a bag of just the essentials. I may be on holiday, but that doesn't mean my skincare is. I want to tell you about my favorite products from a brand that launched last year. Retrouvé's Dynamic Nourishing Face Cream and I ntensive Replenishing Facial Moisturizer are incredible together as a day and night treatment. This line was created by Jami Morse Heidegger, who used to own Kiehl's before selling it to L'Oréal in the early 2000s to launch her own skincare products. It started as a few products made just for herself and her friends, which she kept confidential. I get so many skincare products for free because of my job—expensive ones, cheap ones...but at the same time, it's very rare that I get to believe in one's brands words. For some reason, I decided to try this line. My skin truly changes when I use them. Maybe it's because I'm aging, but this stuff really works on my skin. I've become addicted to it. And although the bottles are made of glass, which makes it very difficult to travel with, I can't use anything else right now.

For the past 12 years, I've been cleansing my skin with Joelle Ciocco Lait Onctueux Capital, so naturally I brought it along. I rinse my face after cleansing with Avène Eau Thermale and take it with me out in Capri to refresh my face in hot weather. I also use it on my daughter if her skin feels irritated. I carry these little vials of Bébisol Phisiological Serum to put on my eyes, which helps save them from the dryness of the plane. It also helps get tiny bits of mascara out if you rub your eyes or took a nap in your makeup. Then finally, Anthelios XL SPF 50 by La Roche-Posay for the whole family. I use it four to five times a day when I'm on holiday, and it protects my skin but still gives me a light tan.

While my family and I have been vacationing, we took a trip to the other side of the island to visit the tiny Anacapri. It's a dream place where everybody gets handmade sandals, custom-made according to your size and wishes. On the way to Villa San Michele (the most amazing garden ever), jump to Carthusia. This Capri perfumery has a large collection of fragrances inspired by the island. Anywhere you go in this period of the year, you can smell wisteria blooming next to lemon and orange flowers. Pine scents fill the air, too, mixed with rosemary, basil, and cherry tomatoes. I wrote down everything I could perceive, just to make sure that I would not forget. I don’t know what I will do with these, but I am sure that they will end up inspiring me for my writing on perfume. Don’t leave Capri without a boat tour, even if the sea is rough. You might feel sick, but it’s so gorgeous it’s worth it. Looking at the contour of the island from the seaside makes you feel even luckier to be there. Sometimes, life has wonderful taste…

xxLili

For more on Lili Barbery-Coulon, read her Top Shelf here. If you speak French and want to hear more about her trip to Capri, check out her blog.

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