Christopher Niquet, Writer, Vanity Fair France


"I got into styling by mistake—I studied literature actually. When I was in my first year at university in Paris, I was getting really bored. I was reading Self Service at the time, so I took an internship there. It was a long time ago now. The team was very small. I was the intern for everybody, so you know, you do everything from transcribing interviews to sending FedEx, and going to the bank, but also assisting all of the stylists that work for the magazine. In the beginning of my internship there, I was still going to my classes. I dropped out at the end of my second year [at university]. Self Service was not so ‘fashion’ at the time—I think music, movies and cultural things were almost as important. There were no advertisers to service, and it was not like now where, as a junior assistant you’re just going to showrooms. You felt part of the creative process. That was really good. After my internship they hired me, and I was there for three years. One real thing I took from my time there was that they just had gut. They really cared—they always believed in their point of view, and they never lowered their standards. I am a contributing writer for them now.

I always liked music a lot, so I wanted to work for a music label. I found out that Jean Touitou, the founder of A.P.C., was starting a record label and was looking for people to help. I went for an interview and he was listening to Cat Power. She happened to be staying with me at the time, because a good friend of mine was her roommate in New York, and her tour kind of got messed up. I got really excited—I was like, ‘Oh, she’s at my house,’ and I introduced them. I think that’s what got me the job, because I literally had no skills to help them start a record label. [Laughs] At first, it was business aspects, dealing with lawyers, copyrighting everything, looking at contracts... But slowly they started asking me to reach out to people to do collaborations, so we’d have Richard Hell do a T-shirt, or Kim Gordon do something. Lots of things.

I’ve been in New York for 12, maybe 13 years now. I work with my partner, Zac Posen—I help him with anything I can do in the office, and I enjoy doing it, but I’m slowing down on everything so that I can write more. With writing, I want to make sure…I mean, some assignments are more interesting than others, you take certain things because the title is great, but it also kind of puts you in a special box. I’m trying not to box myself in.

I’ve always been obsessed with beauty. My mom, like every French woman, always had the pharmacy, La Roche-Posay, Avène, sunscreen kind of thing. My skin never really had problems, but I always loved stories about the transformative effect of beauty. And then when I moved to America, I started getting really obsessed. I started seeing friends of mine, their faces changing, and I don’t have the thing you do in America where you’re scared to ask. So I would ask people what they did. And I started going to the facialists they recommended. The first person I went to here was Christine Chin, because a lot of the model friends were telling me they loved her. Then I went to this place called Advanced Skin Care. The women there use a lot of clean but strong, efficient products. And that was maybe four years ago. Around that time, I also could see my dimples turning into wrinkles—like, it used to be just a cute little hole in my cheek, and then it was not anymore. I’m like, ‘OK, I need to start taking care of things.' I wanted to really figure out what would be the best for me.

Advanced Skin Care is kind of amazing, and I started going every month, but they’re really expensive. So I found a great woman called Cecilia Wong. Cornelia Guest told me about her. She said she had started her own little office downtown, and I was like, ‘OK, I’ll try it.’ And she’s amazing. I’ve been going to her now for two years. I used to go every month—I went yesterday. It depends for everybody, but for me, her touch is what works. It’s also very thorough—it’s always an hour and a half, maybe two hours. It’s extractions, steam, the electrodes, and then some kind of oxygen and LED. And then I started going to the dermatologist, properly. I started going to Dr. Katchen in Soho, very conservative, low-key. I started to do a little Botox with him. Then one of my model friends told me to go to Dr. Lisa Airan, and I went to her for two years. I’m Botox-free now, because I’m trying dermarolling instead. I was due for Botox in October but decided not to go, and instead I just do the roller every week. It’s actually quite amazing.

It’s a funny thing—[as you age] you start seeing the other face arriving. When it does, you can either be like, ‘Oh shit, my lips are getting thinner,’ or, ‘My face is getting gaunt,’ and try to fight those things. I don’t care about wrinkles, but I want to make sure that my skin texture is really good. I haven’t been in the sun without sunscreen since I was 18 years old. I don’t drink alcohol, I’ve been vegetarian since I’m a teenager. I do smoke cigarettes, and I eat a lot of sugar. But I’m kind of doing an experiment now, because I already know what works for my skin, so I’m trying to do cheaper things. I want products that are going to work, so I try to go with brands that are kind of clean, but are still going to show some results.

In the morning I do the Biologique Recherche Lait U. You put it on your face, and then take it off with a cotton pad. Then I do the toner that smells like garbage, the Lotion P50, which is really good. Then I kind of swap different serums, depending on what my face looks like. I’ve been using now this one from Deciem. It’s so fucking cheap that I was like, ‘Alright, who cares, I’ll see how that works.’ They’re $8.50, those serums. The one I’m using now in the morning is The Ordinary Resveratrol and Ferulic Acid, and it’s insane. I think it’s the best thing I’ve used. Then I do the COSRx Triple C Lightning Liquid Serum Drops. And then I alternate. If I don’t use those in the morning, I use the NeoStrata Skin Active Antioxidant Defense Serum. That one is really nice. Then I started using eye cream from La Roche Posay. I always have bags, and blue under my eyes when I wake up, and that stuff actually does help. I always like having a little bit of dark under the eye, but when you get older and it’s worse, you’re like, ‘Maybe I would like to look a little fresher.’ I’m using the Skinceuticals Age Interrupter cream right now, which I really like. It’s quite rich and good. And then a neck cream from NeoStrata, I don’t know what it really does. And then I do my sunscreen. I go through tons of it, and I keep changing and looking for different ones. This one I got from a recommendation by my dermatologist, and it’s really good. It’s called Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense.

In the evening, I do something that’s gonna be more active and more peel-y. Skinceuticals CE Ferulic is really hardcore, but it’s good, and then this Triple C Lightning Liquid. And then Marine Hyaluronics from The Ordinary. They’re all strong, but somehow my skin can take it. When I use those, I use a different cream—it’s Lacrème Beautè, and it’s bee venom I guess. It’s super, super rich. In the evening that’s good, or I like the Biologique Recherche Crème Echinoderm au Complexe. I think it’s their cheapest one, but it’s actually really good.

I started getting into the sheet masks, because they’re really fun. I don’t know what they really do, maybe they don’t do anything, but I like them. I do a lot of things that are brightening, so I started using the Dr. G Vita Whitening Mask. It’s Korean. And then the Shiseido White Lucent Mask. Another weird Korean thing that I bought is the Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Mask from Missha. In the evening you put it on, and it creates a very light film that’s supposed to keep your skin tense. I don’t know if it’s really nourishing anything, but you wear it overnight and in the morning, you feel like it’s tighter. And I keep everything in the fridge in my closet. I know some people say it’s better to have your creams a little warm, but I like them cold.

If I’m really looking tired, I’ll use the Glossier Skin Tint under my eyes, because it’s the easiest thing. I can just put it on my finger and blend, and not worry if I'll look like a panda or not. The Clé de Peau Brightening Enhancer Base is nice—that’s a BB cream with SPF. Then I use this thing that’s really cool. I found it in Koreatown, it’s called The Milky Dress White Platinum Edition. Really what it does is just make my skin slightly paler. It looks nice, just kind of makes everything smoother. I only do it in the evening because my applying skills are minimal. Makeup is tricky.

I’m worried about losing my hair, so I do Propecia. I also go to Philip Kingsley. I do a treatment every week—it’s amazing. It’s a massage with some kind of minty stuff that tingles on your scalp, and then they put a steaming helmet, and then he massages your scalp. I have like two shampoos that I use from him, and then I do those Trichotherapy drops, which are kind of amazing because it’s to help prevent the loss. It’s like a hormone—you put a few drops on your hair in the evening and you massage it in your hair, and I guess it balances the hormone that makes you lose your hair.

For cologne, I wear the Aromatics Elixir from Clinique. At the Clinique store they don’t even want you to spray it there, they think it’s too strong. And if you’re looking at it they’re like, ‘Can you please not spray? Because we’ll have to keep the door open.’ They hate that fragrance. It’s really not fashionable, that smell, anymore. But I wear it. Féminité du bois by Serge Lutens I have—not to wear, just to smell. It’s like that Moroccan summer spices kind of thing. But the packaging is so nice. That’s why I bought it."

—as told to ITG

Christopher Niquet photographed by Tom Newton February 28, 2018.