“I grew up in Paris and I’ve lived here most of my life. I always knew I wanted to work in fashion—why, I don’t know. I went to my first show when I snuck into Isabel Marant with my best friend when I was 14. I guess it all really came together when I did my first internship at Opening Ceremony in New York. And then I did a ton of other internships, trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. I interned at Dior in Paris, Stella McCartney in London, and by that time I knew I wanted to be a buyer.
Buying means that you are always ahead one season. You look at the collections and pick which items you want to have in the store. So, you work hand in hand with different designers—going to shows, going to showrooms, and making sure that it’s relevant for your customer. What makes a good buyer is listening to feedback from the staff—what sells, what doesn’t. Sometimes there’s something really chic but no one gets it—that’s part of the job. It’s also part of your job to educate the staff and the customer. Sometimes you have to push people outside of their comfort zone. My favorite part is that you just have to question yourself all the time. I always challenge myself, and question, what are people going to love six months from now? There are so many different ways it can go right or it can go wrong. My first job as a buyer was at Galeries Lafayette, which is the biggest department store in Europe. I would also say it's the most iconic. It has this beautiful cupola and incredible architecture. It has the most extensive brand mix in Europe, and I’d say it’s closer to your Barneys or Nordstrom.
I moved to New York when Carol Umberto asked me to come back as a full-time buyer at Opening Ceremony. I got to discover so many exciting brands—at the time, Jacquemus was still emerging, Coperni was just launching, and there were so many exciting American designers we were working with. I remember Area’s very first collection when it got out, and we picked it up. Then after a few years I moved to work with The Webster. The Webster is a luxury multi-brand boutique that’s based out of five cities—it’s in Miami, in LA, in Texas, and in New York. From there, I got to travel so much across the country. I really loved my time in New York, but I’m back now at Galeries Lafayette to work as Creative Director for the new flagship on Champs Élysées.
For a few years my hair was really short, and then I finally found my signature haircut—a bowl haircut. I straighten it, and I moisturize it a lot. It can get wavy, so I use a straightening iron and oil or a moisturizer to make sure it’s very sleek and shiny—especially on the bang, which is the hardest part to keep under control and perfect. I go in between David Mallett or John Nollet or Maison de Coiffure in Paris. Those are my three go-tos, whoever is available. I use Ouai Smooth shampoo, and sometimes I use L’Hydration from David Mallett, or I use Klorane. Then I love Sachajuan, the Overnight Hair Repair mask. I use some of the David Mallett serum as well. And I get it cut once a month. As for my bangs, I cut them myself every two weeks. The trick is the right scissors. I got mine from the pharmacy in Paris.
For skincare, I am now fully, absolutely in love with Augustinus Bader. That has changed my skin. It is so rich, and yet it absorbs so easily. It makes my skin look so plump. I like a thicker cream in the winter, and then a lighter one, like Darphin, in the summer. I also love Embryolisse, that I’ve used my whole life. I use that all year round, just if I need any extra hydration in the daytime. For cleansing, I remove my makeup with Glossier Milky Jelly, and I like to use Bioderma—the blue bottle one. I’ve been using Bioderma since I first put on makeup, possibly since I was 12. And then I really like the new Glossier Solution. It’s not abrasive, and I actually feel like it helps get me a deeper cleanse.
I like to use an Avène hydrating mask if I really need that extra hydration, or Ren Skincare. From Ren, I use the Flash Rinse mask—it’s quite nice, it has vitamin C in it. It’s very natural and neutral on my skin. I like to use either clean beauty brands or pharmacy brands, because I used to be allergic to most brands that are non-pharmaceutical. And I like the little face rollers—I think they’re quite fun to use. They get the flow going. I try to do it in the morning, because it wakes you up. And for extra fashion week tired skin, I use the Joelle Ciocco Detox Serum.
Once my skin is good to go, I put on two different bases—I use the Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer after Augustinus Bader. It has so much coverage, and it’s SPF 30, which is so important. I’m very fair, and I’ve been wearing SPF my whole life—my mother wouldn’t let me go out in the street without SPF. She even had me wear a hat in the summer when we would go to the south of France. And then, I either use the Face And Body Foundation from MAC or Perfecting Skin Tint. If I want extra coverage, I layer the two. That makes my skin very dewy. Then I add some Wowder, very slightly.
What I’ve loved that I discovered lately are these two brands, Kosas and Edward Bess. From Kosas I like the cheek duo in Velvet Melon. I also use Beam, so I like any natural, melon-y color—that looks very natural on my cheekbones. And then to add an extra shine, I either use Haloscope or this new Edward Bess Marbleized Rose Gold Highlighting Powder. It’s not only fabulous, it’s also very beautiful, because it looks marbleized. It’s my latest obsession. After a touch of highlight I apply on my nose, on my cheekbones, on my chin, I then use this pharmacy brand called Amilab. They make the best lip balm.
Sometimes I like a red-red lip—like a big apple red. I use Chanel in Pirate, or I use La Bouche Rouge. Pirate is an iconic Parisian signature red. La Bouche Rouge makes your tints to order, so I made my own personalized tint. It’s the most special, and they have sustainable packaging and are beautifully crafted. I think a red lip makes you look put together in a quick second. I don’t wear eyeliner, but I like to wear mascara. I love Lash Slick because I have very little lashes. It makes my lashes much thicker without looking like I’m wearing anything. It’s really subtle. I also fell in love with the Wish Granted Magic in a Bottle mascara. That’s for a thicker look, for at night. I never use eyeshadow, but I like to highlight with Glossier Lidstar in Moon. Because I’m so fair, it’s nice to have a little light in the eye. And then usually if I don’t wear a red lip, I’ll wear Crush or Cake, for a natural feel. I sometimes need to refresh my face with a spray, so I either use Caudalie or Ren. I really like the Caudalie one because it feels very fresh.
NAILS, FRAGRANCE, AND BODY
Orange blossom is my signature scent. I either use Le Labo Fleur D’Oranger, or I also love this new brand Thomsen—they’re these cute sisters and they just launched their natural skincare line, and this is an orange blossom milk for the body. Then I like using Coco Coco from Coqui Coqui for my hair, because it’s very beachy. I use it like an oil spray. I also love the Savage Jasmine scent from Sana Jardin. I’m into floral perfume, mostly.
My nails are always, always, always either black or red. I always have a manicure on, because that too makes me feel put together. I really like Kure Bazaar—that’s really special. They only use organic nail polishes, so they’re very respectful for your hands and nails. Other than that, I do it myself, or I use the Chanel red that I really like, Arancio Vibrante. And then for massages, my number one spot is Ladda. It has the most outstanding view on the rooftop of Paris.”
—as told to ITG
Clara Cornet photographed by Tom Newton in Paris on February 27, 2019.