It’s been a great year! We’re rounding out 2019 with Fanny Bourdette Donon, who ITG first interviewed in 2013. Last month she invited us to celebrate her birthday and we’re not one to turn down a good time. The result is her new Top Shelf After Dark. Enjoy!
“It’s my seventh year with Dior—can you believe it? When I started I wasn’t doing what I’m doing today. I was doing press tours, and working in an office, and making PR kits. I was so miserable—I die if I’m not talking to people. But that’s the beauty of this brand, because my boss saw that in me and allowed me to be myself. Now, my official title is Special Project Manager—we had to find a title, but it doesn’t really translate into what I actually do. On the three axes of makeup, fragrance, and skincare, I have to make sure that we’re always in touch. Who are current personalities that fit the Dior brand? If I see someone in Japan that is super cool, and I know this person is traveling somewhere where we have an event, my role is to make everybody aware. My biggest challenge has been making sure that we include diversity—not only ethnic diversity, but also in gender. Even though I’m in Paris, I’m coordinating things between all the different markets, based on our priorities and what my marketing team is giving me. It’s amazing, because it’s a little bit of everything.
Since I turned 30 I feel like it’s been like woah, these years are flying by. It just makes you realize that you need to find balance, and my constant struggle is finding a balance between my friends, family, and work. But I love my 30s so much—I would not want to go back to my 20s for anything in the world. For my most recent birthday I traveled to New York to celebrate. It’s funny, before my birthday I thought, ‘I cannot believe I’m turning this age, I’m getting really old.’ Then one of my friends sent me this quote from Gwen Stefani that said ‘you’re not getting older, you’re just getting more entitled to be your fabulous self.’ And I was like, that’s it, that’s what I’m going to be. So that was the inspiration behind my birthday party. The theme was ’90s video vixen. We had dinner at Mr Chow, and then we had drinks at Rintintin in Soho. I didn’t feel like having a big party because I’ve been traveling so much and working like crazy. And then the next day we went to Bella’s [Hadid] farm in Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving. We ate good food, went to bed super early, and took walks in the morning. It was so dreamy, it was like heaven on Earth.
I never have time to get facials, but for my birthday I did get one beforehand with Joanna Czech. My facial was mostly about hydration because of all the flights. I drink two liters of water per day at least, and in the long run, I think that helps. We did a bunch of masks, she massaged my face, and that was it. Right before I have an event, I usually use this Joanna Vargas scrub that gives me such a nice glow, and then the Dior Prestige serum and cream. I’m a Prestige girl. I have access to all these products, and they work so wonderfully for my skin.
As much as I can be loyal to my skincare, for hair I’m more adventurous. You know, I just love to try things. I love doing hair masks. I use Moroccanoil, Shea Moisture, and Carol’s Daughter—love that one. When I first moved to America I was living in Miami, and I didn’t really speak English. But that’s how I met Leo and Frank, the founders of IGK, who are French. They’re my friends now, and I’m lucky enough that they send me products, so I use IGK. And of course I use Ouai. I listen a lot to my girlfriends as well for recommendations. When one thing finishes, I try a new one.
I discovered weaves three years ago in London—someone put a weave on me and didn’t really ask for my opinion. I was kind of scared at first, but since then, I can’t live without them. It’s terrible, I’m addicted.
For my birthday, I went to the salon to get a blowdry, then I curled it myself. I don’t really have any particular iron that I love, but right now I’m using a GHD. That one works. I discovered weaves three years ago in London—someone put a weave on me and didn’t really ask for my opinion. I was kind of scared at first, but since then, I can’t live without them. It’s terrible, I’m addicted. Completely addicted. I go to Rio Sreedharan in London because I haven’t been able to find someone in Paris that I like. The French are a little behind in that sense—we don’t really have a good, high-end, ethnic hair salon. I try to see Rio every three weeks, but he’s so popular that he’s always on tour with someone.
Sage White has been doing my makeup for the past two years. We both do mood boards, and our common inspiration is always Aaliyah. For my birthday we exchanged ideas and made it fun—we were definitely listening to ’90s music and singing and drinking champagne while getting ready. I don’t like makeup artists who just put on eyeliner and some blush and say you’re good to go. No—work on my face. I want, I need, every single step. A lot of product. I’m literally obsessed with the Diorskin Star Foundation. To be honest, I’ve tried so many foundations and I can’t live without this one. I’m not just saying that because I work for Dior. I like its coverage and that it's glowy—I’m not into matte skin. Then we used a contour stick in Shade 3. It’s just the perfect brown. I contour my chest, my nose, and my jaw to get this sharp effect. We don’t make it anymore, so I literally have to beg every single artist for it. Peter [Philips] just found one in his house in Belgium and brought it to me. [Laughs] And then we used the Nude blush and one of the Dior palettes to do a smoky eye. I love doing colors on my eyes, but somehow on my lips it doesn’t really work—it’s funny, my mom always told me that lip color looks too flashy on older women, and that kind of scared me a little bit. I love the KKW lip pencil from the ’90s collection, and then we just used the Lip Glow and a little bit of gloss on top.
A while ago, I saw one of my girlfriends and something had changed in her face, but I couldn’t place what. And she told me she got lash extensions—she had beautiful lashes and they looked so natural. My friend put me in touch with the lady who did hers, named Alona. She’s Russian, she doesn’t really speak English that much, and she doesn’t even have Instagram. Very lowkey. I was lucky to find her—I love her. She comes to my house about every two weeks. I don’t usually wear a lot of eyeshadow, so they last, but when I have to wear makeup for events they fall off faster. But I don’t sleep on them, or scratch my eyes—I am really careful. When you’re always on the go, extensions are such a great help. That little thing that just makes life so much easier.
When I joined Dior I was like, ‘I can’t wear J’adore!’ I wore J’adore when I was 14, because when my dad would travel he would bring it for me from the duty free. That was my fragrance for most of high school. So when I started working there, I needed something different. I tried all the women’s fragrances, but none of them felt like me. I’ve always loved Dior men’s fragrances—they’re so particular. My dad wore Fahrenheit from Dior when I was growing up, and my grandfather wore Eau Sauvage. Now I wear a men’s fragrance, Dior Homme Intense. When I found it I was like, that’s it! That’s my scent. The first time I met Françoise, the perfume’s creator, he told me it suited me well. I’ve been using it for the past seven years and it’s become my signature scent. My friends tell me they can smell me before they can actually see me. [Laughs] I’m really loyal to fragrances.
Homme Intense is strong and associated with work for me, so on weekends I like to wear something softer. Maison Christian Dior now has all these different fragrances, and I’m trying them all. Right now I’ve been using Holy Peony. Just to chill, you know? It’s what I would put on at night as well, when I go to bed. I just finished Cologne Royale—when you look at all of [the Maison fragrances] with all the different colors, it is so precious.
It’s really important for me to take off my makeup at the end of the night. I use Neutrogena wipes—that’s the first step. Then I wash my face with Dior Prestige Cleanser. It has some micellar water in it, so it also helps remove makeup. I am obsessed with face wash—I have a collection of them. I will pick a face wash to travel with me everywhere I go. When I feel like I have heavy makeup on, and I’m home, and I have all my products, usually I also do the Dior Homme Dermo System Cleansing Gel. It’s from the men’s line. That’s like a super light scrub, and it bubbles. When I have heavy makeup I like to wash my face one last time with that. Then I apply my serum and call it a day.”
—as told to ITG
Fanny Bourdette Donon photographed by Sage White in New York on November 27, 2019.