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Getting Dressed With Charlotte Le Bon

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The Violet Files

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An evening with the fresh-faced French-Canadian actress before the premiere of The Promise.

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Getting Dressed With Charlotte Le Bon

“For three-quarters of the movie I’m just covered in dirt!” says Charlotte Le Bon of her new film, The Promise. This is to be expected. While the film is a romance—Le Bon’s character finds herself in a love triangle with Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac—it’s also a gritty, politically charged period piece set against the backdrop of the Armenian genocide.

Despite the movie’s weighty subject matter, Le Bon is joyfully free of pretense as she preps for its Los Angeles premiere. Tonight she’s getting ready at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills with her team: hair stylist Owen Gould, makeup artist Beau Nelson, and stylist Jeff Kim. Together, they’ve conspired to create a showstopper moment on the red carpet, replete with dramatic ruffles, smoky eyes, and oversize jewels.

Before taking to the red carpet, Le Bon took the time to talk to VIOLET GREY about skincare obsession, period dramas, and the strange joys of driving.

SUBJECT: Charlotte Le Bon
OCCASION: LA premiere of The Promise
TEAM: Beau Nelson (makeup), Owen Gould (hair), Jeff Kim (styling)
VENUE: Four Seasons Beverly Hills
THE LOOK: Dress by Rasario, earrings by Anito Ko and Coomi, shoes by Gianvito Rossi

charlotte le bon
charlotte le bon

How did you come to star in The Promise?
It was a bit surreal, actually! I was doing a road trip in Iceland when I received a call from my French agent saying that Terry George wanted to meet me to do a Skype audition for this WWI movie with Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac. It was like, You’re lying. I was surrounded by volcanoes and I couldn’t believe it. Two weeks later, I was in New York doing a chemistry test with Oscar. And then I got the part!

What did you like about your character, Ana?
I was really attracted to her in a human way. She felt like a modern icon of that specific period of time. She was leading an independent life as an artist in Paris—education at the time was a matter of choice and money, and she was lucky enough to have both. She had this amazing life with this journalist boyfriend to whom she wasn’t married. And then one day this life felt meaningless, and she decided to go back to her roots in Armenia [Le Bon’s character is an Armenian who was born and raised in France] and try to find another way of life. And when the war breaks out in the movie, she becomes this symbol of courage and abnegation. I will probably never be like her [laughs].

charlotte le bon

Your character’s dress really reflects this journey.
The first part of the movie it’s very powdered. It’s 1915, it’s really pretty, there was a lot of embroidery and corsets and huge hats. And then the other three-quarters of the movie I’m just covered in dirt! The makeup artist on set was Tina Earnshaw, who did the makeup on Titanic. She became my second mother because I was with her for four months. She took great care of me—even when I was covered in dirt it was applied in very specific colors.

Are you into beauty when you’re not on set?
Skincare is really important, for sure. I’m obsessed with my skin. It’s almost bad. I get crazy when I get a pimple. It’s not about what I eat, because it really doesn’t matter for me. It’s the products I use.

What products do you use?
I see a woman in Paris who makes all of her own products. She comes from Morocco and works with essential oils. And at the same time she does facials and stuff like that. I wash my face with black soap once a day, and then I just apply a cream she does for me. And I don’t use makeup.

charlotte le bon

Where are you based?
Right now my apartment is in Paris. But I’ve been spending a month [in LA] and I think I’ll spend two more.

Where’s your favorite place in LA?
It’s crazy, but I just like being in my car and driving around! In Paris you can’t do that. It’s impossible to have a car in Paris.

What’s your getting-ready soundtrack?
I’ve been listening to the latest Frank Ocean album for a while now. People say the first one is the best, but I don’t agree. It’s nostalgic and at the same time there’s hope in it.

Ideal dinner date?
Keith Haring.

Pre-game beverage?
A shot of vodka!

charlotte le bon

“For Charlotte’s look this evening we did a classically beautiful face with a sheer black-slash-gunmetal smoky eye and a hint of color on the cheek, and left the lips totally alone—just a coat of Rouge Coco Baume. Charlotte prefers balm to lipstick, so we kept it simple and I slipped one into her clutch before she left.

Because her dress is so dramatic I had to strike the right balance of drama and ease so it didn’t look like she was trying too hard. Keeping the eye semi-transparent makes it a lot more modern. And leaving the lips undone gives it a carefree, Parisian feeling. For perfect, natural-looking coverage, I applied Chanel Les Beiges Foundation only where needed and buffed it using a small, soft brush. And Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Sticks are perfect for blending into foundation to achieve a healthy luminous glow.

I used Illusion D’Ombre cream shadows to create intensity on the eyes. Fleur Des Pierre was used at the lash line very intensely and faded up into Mysterio which was applied very sheerly and blended well so that you could see the skin underneath it. And Inimitable Intense Mascara—it gives me the blackest, thickest, non-clumpy lashes.” —BEAU NELSON

“Tonight we’re doing a back-textured ponytail. She has really nice hair, so I don’t need too much product, but I’m using the Sachajuan Ocean mist for some texture and finishing it off with Living Proof Flex Shaping Hairspray. I’m also using a large-barrel curling iron to add a little bit of a wave, and then pulling it back to show off her earrings.” —OWEN GOULD

“The dress is by Rasario, and we have jewels by Coomi and Anita Ko. The shoes are by Gianvito Rossi. Typically I don’t like for my girls to wear black on the red carpet, because a lot of times it doesn’t read very well and shows flat. But this dress has immaculate details—it’s kind of a showstopper moment—and it shows some leg, so it has a very classic, sexy, old Hollywood kind of appeal. And we haven’t ever done that with Charlotte. Her style is very unique and cool. We’re very inspired by Cindy Crawford in the ‘90s, so we do a lot of high waists, crop tops, hair down, messy, fucked up—that kind of feel. It’s about staying true to a woman’s form in a new, modern way.”—JEFF KIM