“My husband Bertrand and I created Caudalie back in ‘93 after we met Professor Vercauteren from the University of Pharmacy in Bordeaux. We were touring my family vineyard, and he told us that we were growing the best part of the vine. He let us know about the French paradox, how French people drink more wine than anyone else in the world but have the least cardiovascular disease, even though they eat a lot of foie gras and good cheese (laughs). It is because the polyphenols found in red wine strengthen your blood vessels and prevent cardiovascular disease. Those polyphenols are extremely efficient at fighting free radicals, which are responsible for four out of five wrinkles. But they were extremely unstable and turned creams red. So we met with him the next day and learned that he was patenting a way to stabilize these extracts. We convinced him not to sell his patent to a big skin care company but to work with us.
“In the Nineties there was a first Glamour magazine created by Condé Nast. It lasted for three or four years and after that it was finished. It was the greatest magazine I’ve ever seen in France. Very often people would say that Glamour was going to be launched again and each time I wanted to be a part of the team. For a while it didn’t come back, it would be Jalouse or another launch. When the new Glamour was finally launched for real I was eight months pregnant with an extra twenty kilos [laughs]. I was working for another magazine called, Vingt Ans then. It was a very special magazine that doesn’t exist anymore, but very funny and unique. I was the Beauty Editor for this magazine and their idea about beauty was different. But I said okay I am going to try to see the editor in chief for Glamour and I will see what happens. I was sure that she wouldn’t take me because I was so pregnant and we didn’t know each other but I sent her a mail with a book of my work. She called me and said ‘ok we can meet each other.’ We talked and then she decided that she wanted me for this position. Condé Nast took me during my maternity leave. This kind of thing doesn’t happen often so I was very touched they trusted me. But I worked during my pregnancy and my baby was one week old and I was at work and taking meetings. It was very hard in fact but I don’t have any regrets, I was very happy to work for Glamour and it was nine years ago now, so it is a very long love story.”
“I grew up in the beauty world, my grandfather and all of the family was working for Clarins so I lived in that world. It has everything for skin care and makeup but nothing for nails or hair. So I could start something for nail care or open a hairdressing salon, but nail culture is something missing in Paris. There was a need and we responded to it. I started Nail Factory with two partners. When we opened it was a big success, everyone was doing the queue to come in. We do nails, feet, shellac, acrylic, everything- which is very uncommon for people in Paris, in New York you see this everywhere. The worst thing is that in Paris we have to make nail appointments. In New York you don’t ever need to but here nail salons are so rare so you have to book a time.”
2012 is days away — what better time than now to find a signature scent for the new year?
On my quest for my next favorite fragrance, I linked up with Laurence Bouard, the newly appointed Director of Mauboussin on New York City’s Madison Avenue. This was my first trip to their recently renovated five-story townhouse. The store is elegant and whimsical with a touch of 1900’s Paris. At Mauboussin, they boast that “luxury should be the universal language.” The French jewelry house manages to make luxury affordable with a broad range of inspired fragrances, hand-crafted by master perfumers.
While in Paris, I caught up with my dear friend, the charming film buff and cat enthusiast Jessica from Marie Claire, France. Jess writes about fashion and culture for the Paris based glossy and contributes to other publications when she has the time. We spent an afternoon chatting about how she got her start as a fashion writer and her favorite beauty finds.