Model and author Caroline de Maigret isn’t just Lancôme’s new beauty muse. She now introduces us to the world of Parisian women, with her new book “How To Be Parisian Wherever You are”.
A collaborative effort from 39-year-old Caroline de Maigret and fellow Parisians Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, and Sophie Mas, the book manages to both unpack the myth and bask in the paradoxes that characterize it.
Caroline de Maigret is certainly no stranger. Karl Lagerfeld co-opted her as one of Chanel’s ambassadors; Lancôme has just asked her to package her mystique into a makeup line. Part aristocrat, part rocknrolla, she’s actually the epitome of a Parisian woman – far more intriguing and sexy with age than she was earlier in her career as a model in New York, back in the nineties.
Now she’s even authored How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits (Doubleday), co-written with three of her girlfriends—writer Anne Berest, journalist and screenwriter Audrey Diwan, and movie producer Sophie Mas. It’s a collection of essays really, a fresh and spirited take on what it really means to be a Parisienne: how they dress, entertain, have fun and attempt to behave themselves. In short, frisky sections, these Parisian women give you their very original views on style, beauty, culture, attitude and men. On everything you can imagine – from dealing with men and ignoring fashion trends to being nonchalant and blue, or even when and what to shut up about. And on the very first page you already get slapped. “Don’t be afraid of ageing”, she writes. And “Always be fuckable—even when you’re standing in line to buy a baguette on a Sunday morning”.
These talented bohemian iconoclasts with careers in the worlds of music, film, fashion and publishing, they are untypically frank and outspoken as they debunk the myths about what it means to be a French woman today. Letting you in on their secrets and flaws, they also make fun of their complicated, often contradictory feelings and behavior. They admit to being snobs, a bit self-centered, unpredictable but not unreliable. Bossy and opinionated, they are also tender and romantic.
“I believe you should always be ready to meet someone, whether it is your favorite writer or the man of your life. I don’t mean just physically ready—you’ve read, you’ve listened to music. You see—realistic, but still romantic”, she says. “It’s the best advice I’ve ever had: always to be proud. Looking for perfection, as Americans do, is a lack of self-confidence,” she said. “I’m always surprised how guilty women feel not to be perfect. It must be hard to live every day.”
– A few strokes of mascara (Hypnôse by Lancôme) – be generous on your top and bottom lashes, to accentuate your look and disguise any bags under your eyes.
– Bright red lipstick (Dior Addict) will not go amiss for a night out.
– Beauty in France is epidermal – nobody cares that much about make-up, it’s what’s underneath that matters.
– Skin should look natural. Freckles can appear in spring… sometimes your cheekbones blush when you lie, and your whole face flushes when you are intimidated.
– French women avoid using foundation, which merely serves as a shroud, and therefore trivialises.
– Skin of your face must be treated as a canvas. Start with a moisturiser to smooth your skin.
– Hide any imperfections with concealers (such as YSL’s Touch Eclat) or a BB cream. If you really can’t live without your foundation, then mix it with a touch of moisturiser to mute its effect.
– Never go to bed without taking off your make-up, so you fall asleep not smelling like the party. Yes you climb into bed more tired for this care. But that’s the price we pay to save our skin.
– Find your perfume before you turn thirty. Wear it for the next thirty years.
– Be unfaithful: cheat on your perfume, but only on cold days.
– A touch of perfume on your hair, behind your ear or on the nape of the neck, never did anyone any harm.
– Always put on perfume before going out.
All images of Caroline de Maigret are courtesy of Lancôme.