"I got into what I'm doing now by mistake. I wanted to be in the art world—that was my first passion. But I realized it was going to be a long haul before I made any serious money. I somehow got into doing communication at Air France. I was hired as an executive assistant, but started doing communications on projects, and they let me do more and more. Then I moved over to Frédéric Fekkai and Bourjois, which at the time, were owned by Chanel. That was when I started doing PR full-time. I started working for Eres in the US, which was in the Chanel group, and when they closed their stateside offices I kind of had to open up my own agency on a whim, so I did. No big goals, no big strategy. I get to work with people I really, really admire. Now I represent clients like Christophe Robin, Darphin, Ladurée... I don't have a website, it's all word of mouth. That's how they found their way to me.
I love pharmacies in France. I spend so much time there. Medicine and then skincare, you know those vials the Coup D’eclat? Now you can see in Terminal 2 from Air France—they built a huge pharmacy. I buy all the cool brands that you can't find here. My favorite, favorite blush is not sold in the US but it’s Bourjois Lune D'or, Rose and Coup de Foudre. Just on the apples of my cheeks, it looks like you went skiing. Those were my go-tos, but right now, I'm using a similar color from Chanel. I started using Vitalumière in 42. I was working with a client who had gorgeous skin and I asked her what she used, and she told me her secret.
Mascara, every day. Right now—it’s all about right now—it’s the new Vinyl one from Saint Laurent. Sometimes I like the Twiggy look which is really spidery. In the summer I like the Bobbi Brown Intensifying Long Wear, it’s super feathery and very natural. Sometimes I'll do a beige shadow like the Chanel Ombre d'Eau [ed note: discontinued]. Lipstick always. I don't know how to do eye makeup, but lipstick is just an instant pick-you-up. If you have nothing else, a good lip will send you on your way. I love reds. MAC Liptensity is great, super pigmented. And then the Chanel Rouge Allure Inks... well, I have them all, but this one is Libéré. I love Chanel's Rouge Noir lip liner, too. They're so easy to apply. Sometimes I'll wear a nude lip, but it's rare. I'll leave the house with a nude but I'll have a red in my bag and I'll put that on instead. I have the Morrocan color-changing stains in all of my bags too, the ones that adapt to your lip's pH. They look so ugly and people are like, 'Why are you putting on green lipstick?' But they're wonderful.
You have to take off your makeup at night. Sometimes I don't want to! But I still do it. For now, I'm using the Mario Badescu Foaming Wash. It’s clean, not creamy. You can feel it working. I need to get rid of the 'oily.' Then I put the Darphin Toner all over. Sometimes I'll use an oil at night, the Darphin Rose or Orange Blossom ones, but that's really rare. Mostly I'll put them on my hands. Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Gel is a bit heavier, but I love that. It doesn't make me oily at all.
In the morning I brush my teeth and go down to the gym—that's New York efficiency, it's raining and you have the gym downstairs—and then I'll come back and shower and exfoliate. I'm using the Chanel Gommage Microperlé Éclat. You know how when you go to the gym it needs to hurt? Well, when I exfoliate, I need it to hurt a little. I have Darphin's Perfecting Body Scrub and I'll use it on my body, but sometimes on my face, too. I need it to work. I use the Darphin Uplifting Serum Eyelids Definition around my eyes. The Clarins Radiance Glow Booster I love, too. Actually, you know who told me about that—Anne-Sophie [Mignaux]! Just a tiny bit, that’s it.
Every two months or so, when I'm in Paris, I'll go to Darphin for a facial. They ask me what I want and I just say, 'No heavy cream.' I have very greasy skin so I’m careful about what I use. More serums and calming kind of stuff. I'm terrified of wrinkles, but I'm terrified of needles, too. I don't think I could do injections. All my friends do it in New York, but not me. I don't want to age, but it's going to happen. I have no control over it. Invest in skincare, and exercise! Here, exercise is everywhere. In New York, you have a dog, a shrink, and a private trainer. In France, all you need is a cigarette.
I've been dying my hair with pure henna for 25 years. I started after a trip to Turkey when I was 18—I loved the color and it's a great alternative to [salon dye]. It's deeply conditioning for me, once a month. I don't know what my natural color is. It's white...or maybe a dark blond? I don't remember.
For years my friend Emily in New York would do my color, but she moved to Paris and trained new people for me. Fast forward years later, I meet Christophe [Robin] and Francis [Kurkdjian]. I was doing Francis' PR, and Christophe was looking for PR in New York, so they introduced me. I found out my Emily worked at his salon in Paris, and so I was familiar with his products, because I don't know who isn't. I use his Salt Scrub but alternate in the Purifying Shampoo. Christophe describes it as a deep clean to get rid of all of the bad stuff that's in the shower water, plus hair products and whatever. Then the Regenerating Mask once a week for my color, and the Volumizing Conditioner with Rose Extracts, because I need volume. I just air dry it—I don't believe in hair dryers. Laurent at Privé cuts it. He's a dear, dear friend. But I do cut my own bangs. I just trimmed them this morning with my nail scissors!
I used to be addicted to Japanese ombré—you go every two to three weeks. I stopped a year ago because it really damages your nails and I have shitty nails to begin with. So I alternate between colors. Essie Clambake is very good, I like that right now. Christophe Robin has a multi-purpose balm—well, I call it a miracle cream, but I use it on my cuticles and lips. I also use it on my feet before going running or before I go to the beach. I have some for everything. I can’t, but people use it on the ends of their hair, too.
There was only one fragrance I wore from age 18 up until when I met Francis, and it was Guerlain Jicky. Then I met Francis and started wearing his Amyris. It smells like heaven—complex, feminine, leaves the perfect trace. I love this fragrance. Francis gets mad because I mix it with other things. I love Chanel's Gardénia too. Diorissimo is perfect in the summer, but I layer it, because otherwise it's too flat. Francis hates when I do that, but I do it anyway."
—as told to ITG
Celine Kaplan photographed by Tom Newton at her home in New York on December 8, 2016.