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top flight:

charlotte 
gainsbourg’s
french beauty 

The French fashion muse, singer, and actress reveals the inspiration behind her brand-new collaboration with Nars.

Written By JAYME CYK

“For Charlotte [Gainsbourg], her allure is all in the uncompromising power of her personal style,” says François Nars. “It’s very cool and authentic, very French. But there is real inspiration in how she moves through the world. Like her lyrics, her voice, her mix of presence and humility, she is herself through and through.” 

She might be known to many as the daughter of two icons — Hermès muse and model Jane Birkin and French music legend Serge Gainsbourg — but Charlotte Gainsbourg has ably carved out her own path. So much so that Nars knew she would be the perfect subject for his next collection. “I admire her for building a career with no compromise, no limits, and totally dedicating herself to it,” he adds. “Her work reflects her soul more than anybody I know.”

Here, Gainsbourg talks to The Violet Files about the inspiration behind her limited-edition Nars collaboration, what her mother taught her about beauty, and the career she’d pursue if she were not singing and acting.



the inspiration

It was a matter of exploring products that I wished for, a bit of this with a bit of that. I couldn’t go toward something that was opposite of me, so it had to be quite natural. In the end, colors were sort of obvious for me — nothing flashy, just tinted. Emotional, if possible. My references had to do with actresses in films, so a natural cheek, redness from crying, running — things that move me.


behind the collaboration

François and his team were so great throughout the entire process. They really let me do whatever I wanted as long as it was authentic to me. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished. It’s quite magical to see the final product.



My [inspiration] references had to do with actresses in films, so a natural cheek, redness from crying, running—things that move me.

— CHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG


gainsbourg’S Beauty aesthetic

I like to keep it natural. Wearing a lot of makeup just doesn’t suit me. It’s about concealing little things here and there, like dark circles or blemishes, and emphasizing my cheeks and lips. But never a lot of makeup. My mom actually had the same advice. She always complains that she wore too much makeup when she was younger, especially in the ‘60s.


the new album

For this album, I worked with an artist called Sebastian, but he only did the music. This is the first time that I was able to write [lyrics] on my own, which is a huge step for me. It took me a very long time to understand that I could be musical and have something to say. I had never thought I would be capable of taking the same steps as my father.


plan b

I think everyone’s goals are always shifting. I want to continue to be a good actor and to explore and travel. If I weren’t doing any of those things, maybe I’d like to be an eccentric, incredible teacher.