The British actress springs within the 1960s Swinging London scene where she models and ap-
pears in a few films such as The Knack and How To Get it, in 1964 and Michelangelo Antonioni’s
Blow -Up, in 1966. In 1968, she moves to France and meets Serge Gainsbourg on the set of Slogan.
In 1969, they release the duet, ‘Je t’aime...Moi non plus’ he had originally written for Brigitte Bar-
dot: the sexually explicit song provokes a scandal and, from then, the two become an emblematic
and controversial couple of the 1970s. The actress appears in several French films, sharing her
time between dramas such as La Piscine, in 1969 and popular comedies such as La Moutarde me
Monte au Nez, in 1974. With her partner as a mentor, Jane Birkin also becomes a popular singer
and remains, today, an ambassador of Gainsbourg’s songs. A fashion muse with her simple and
feminine outfits in the 1970s, Jane Birkin has also given her name to an iconic Hermès handbag
that perfectly suits the woman who once declared: ‘My mother was right: when you’ve got noth-
ing left, all you can do is get into silk underwear and start reading Proust.’ Today, Birkin can’t be
dissociated from her famous and iconic daughters, who she forms a tribe with: late Kate Barry,
Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon.
“BECAUSE FASHION DOESN’T END WITH JUST CLOTHING...”
BANISH FRIZZ FOREVER
Begone, halo of unruly hair!
Liz Kreiger sets the record straight on the best tricks to achieve silky strands.
es to life’s inevitable obstacles, there are death, taxes, and, for so many of us, a cruel third: frizz. The cause of the mess?
Th e fragile hair cuticle, the outermost part of the
singles hairs that make up the cuticle layer are lifted and in disarray. “This happens
when your hair is damaged and dry but also when it’s especially humid outside, when moisture is absorbed and swells your
strands,” explains Tim Rogers, creative director of Living Proof and a stylist at Sally Hershberger salon in New York. As a result,
the shingles lift, and your hair appears frizzy instead of smooth and defined. Here, the recipe for control. IT ALL BEGINS WITH
YOUR CUT Keep your eye on the cutting tool your stylist chooses, and if you see a razor, run, says Dove celebrity stylist Mark
Townsend. “A razor can slide down the shaft and shred the ends, creating split ends and a plethora of frizz,” he warns. “And never
let your ends get over-layered. A bit of bluntness keeps frizz in check.”SHOWER POWER How you wash and condition is criti-
cal, says Rogers. Deep-cleansing and clarifying shampoos rough up your cuticles, so avoid those. Look for sulfate-free shampoos,
which are much gentler on your locks. Try Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger MirrorSmooth Shampoo($21). Don’t oversham-
poo, says Townsend. It can strip your hair of natural oils and leave it dry. Just two or three times a week is enough; on other days,
use a cleansing conditioner. Try Pantene Pro-V Damage Repair Cleansing Conditioner ($6.99).STYLING SECRETS After your
shower, don’t towel-dry your hair, says Townsend, since strands get caught and roughed up in all those teeny loops. Instead, sop
up wetness with a microfiber towel or a T-shirt, and use a wide-tooth comb to gently detangle. Next, apply an anti-frizz product
while hair is still wet. The experts agree: Once hair starts to dry, you’re losing the game. Living Proof No Frizz Humidity Shield
($22), which uses the brand’s OFPMA molecule to “coat each strand with a hydrophobic layer,” is “weightless,” promises Rog-
ers. Another good option: dry oils. “They absorb into the hair instead of sitting on top, which can leave fine hair flat,” Townsend
says. “I like Serge Normant Dry Oil Spray [$24]. Spray it on your hands and then rake through the hair,” he suggests. R+Co Foil
Frizz Control Spray ($27) is another good choice. If you prefer a cream texture, try Redken Frizz Dismiss Smoothing Control
Cream ($22). Shu Uemura Art of Hair Wonder Worker($33), a leave-in/styling hybrid that also protects hair from heat dam-
age, should be your next step if you’re going to blow out your hair. Steer clear of products that contain a lot of alcohol, such as
some hair sprays, mousses, and gels, says Townsend, which can dry out the hair. And adjust your routine if you love salt spray,
he cautions: “Salt absorbs moisture and leaves the cuticle wide open, so it can lead to tons of frizz. I use a drop or two of Dove
Silk Crème [$6.19] before using it.”HOT TOOLS Avoid scorching your hair at all costs. Ionic dryers quickly break up water
molecules, allowing you to use a lower heat setting while drying your hair faster, so there’s less damage. Try Conair Ceramic
Ionic Styler($35). Some new models of flat irons have plates coated with nourishing oils that can seal in shine and smoothness,
says Townsend. The Cricket Ultra Smooth Professional Hair Dryer ($100) has a filter infused with argan oil and keratin protein.
The Agave Healing Vapor Iron ($149) features a reservoir of smoothing, shine-enhancing agave sugars.SALON SOLUTIONS A
professional smoothing treatment can keep your hair frizz-free for months. While some still do contain formaldehyde—particu-
larly those that promise to squelch curls along with frizz—the ones that are purely frizz-focused are usually free of the chemical.
The Cezanne Perfect Finish treatment(from $350) opens the cuticle and envelops each strand in a silk protein, and can smooth
hair for three to four months, claims Kattia Solano, owner ofNew York’s Butterfly Studio Salon. Other effective choices: Goldwell
Kerasilk and Trissola Solo. Finally, consider the benefits of hair color, says New York colorist Sharon Dorram. She recommends
a semipermanent gloss or glaze, which deposits color and smooths the cuticle and lasts up to six weeks.
If all else fails, don’t forget that a disheveledbun is one of the season’s hottest hair trends. A handful of
bobby pins may be the greatest frizz buster of all.
hair shaft. Frizz occurs when the thousands of little
hair shaft. Frizz occurs when the thousands of little shingles that make up the
Image courtesy of Chanel
This autumn, French fashion house Chanel will return to the Saatchi Gallery for a new exhibition: Mademoiselle Privé.
The showcase will be spread across the gallery’s three floors, bringing to life the charisma, charm and spirit of ledgendary
icons Mademoiselle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld.
The display will focus on the Haute Couture element of the renowned brand and the iconic Chanel No5 fragrance, as well
as display re-editions of the High Jewellery Bijoux de Diamants collection created in 1932 – the only fine jewellery to be
designed by Chanel herself. A companion app will also be available to guide viewers around the exhibition.
This will not be the first time Chanel has inhabited the halls of the Saatchi Gallery. Previous shows include photography
exhibitions, namely Lagerfeld and Carine Roitfeld’s The Little Black Jacket in 2012 and Sam Taylor Johnson’s Second Floor:
The Private Apartment of Mademoiselle Chanel in 2014.
The exhibition will run from 13 October – 1 November 2015. Admission is free. Visit mademoiselleprive.chanel.com.
This property is one of a kind: a
stately 1930s colonial hotel on the
leafy outskirts of Nairobi, making
it an ideal stopover before or af-
ter a flight. Giraffe Manor boasts
original art deco features and ele-
gant four-poster beds. You could
be in a traditional Highlands
manor, but the fellow permanent
residents that roam the grounds
– 12 Rothschild’s giraffes – will
soon indicate otherwise.
These magnificent creatures use
their long necks to good effect at meal times: they love to join guests for breakfast, stretching in through the ceiling-height
arched windows into the airy, mint-green dining-room. Watch out for food pellets landing in your freshly squeezed juice of the
Afternoon tea is served on the front lawn and lunch can be taken on the patio; we recommend the red snapper, which was exqui-
site. There is also a dark, intimate dining-room for candlelit three-course evening meals, which can be followed with after-dinner
tea on a plush sofa in front of the fire in the lounge.
During your stay, visit the nearby Giraffe Centre to learn about this endangered species. Also close by is the David Sheldrick
Wildlife Trust, where you can meet, feed and even adopt orphaned baby elephants.
Above the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River, sit the nine enormous tents of Sasaab Lodge. The open-air, Moroccan-influenced
rooms overlook a river often frequented by bathing elephants that you can hear in the early hours. Each tent has an open-air
bathroom and freezing (though refreshing) private plunge pool. The tents are zipped up and secured at night and the sounds of
local wildlife echo around the valley like a peaceful song. A spear is left outside your room, not – as I had at first assumed – to
ward off any unwanted visitors in the night, but to put in the ground when you want privacy as a bush-inspired take on a ‘do not
There is an infinity pool to cool off from the midday heat between game drives, and a Liz Earle spa. Breakfast is served on the
road, during one of the early-morning drives, with freshly cooked pancakes, bacon and eggs on the riverbank.
It is a fair distance to the Buffalo Springs National Reserve for game drives, but worth every minute. Beautiful elephants tend
to follow you on your ride and there’s a perfect sundowners spot at the top of ‘Leopard Rock’, complete with one of the most
spectacular views I have ever seen.
ST MARTINS LANE
St Martins Lane, owned by the Morgan Hotel Group, has recently
undergone an extensive redesign. The new Den area, their lobby
lounge, features soaring ceilings and electric splashes of colour with
a renewed emphasis on comfort and simplicity. The hotel’s high-con-
cept design goes hand in hand with the absolute efficiency and capa-
bility of their friendly staff, and it manages to retain all of the youth-
ful, unexpected charm of a boutique hideaway, at the very heart of
the art-loving energetic West End.
The renovation includes the newly designed rooms by Tim Andreas
of banjo Ad Inc; think clean fresh lines lit up with colour, huge deep
beds, linen drapery, polished aluminum and teardrop lighting. Ap-
pliances include the newly dichronic laminated glass desk as well as
the illuminated surface that houses a flat screen smart TV. Beautiful
gentle prints soften this minimalism to create a luxury atmosphere of
utter calm. The bathrooms are innovative and spacious with smooth
designs and gorgeous smelling products. The only things worthy of
distracting from the beauty of the rooms are the views of Nelson’s
Column or the Coliseum that you wake up to.
The hotel has also just opened the Blind Spot, an quirky new cocktail bar. The hidden entrance leads you behind the lobby’s tea
counter into a fabulous modern hunting lodge, showcasing the cocktails intricately designed by Andrew Loudon (of 69 Cole-
brooke Row fame). You can sip these alongside a delicious bar snack menu thought up by Chef Tien Ho. The atmosphere is high
fashion meets après ski, with gourmet everything elegantly thrown in. The relaunched in house restaurant is Asia de Cuba, aptly
described as sophisticated, whimsical and above all, fun. I was lucky enough to sample a buttery breakfast omelet during my stay
that had me thinking longingly of all day.
Asia de Cuba
St Martins Lane offers guest a luxury experience with high design at its heart. Great for a weekend get away or even just an in-
dulgent date night.
45 Saint Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4HX, 02073005500 or visit morganshotelgroup.com. Room rates from £275.
7:00 A.M. My son wakes me up, and I prepare his break-
fast and get him ready for school. From seven o’clock to 8:15, it’s all about
him. I make him oatmeal with rice milk and fruit or toasted Poilâne bread with
Nutella—that’s the more decadent extreme. I just have oatmeal and water with fresh
ginger. It helps me stay healthy. I have Birman cats—two “Choupettes”—that my father
gave to my son. The cats are lovely, a brother and sister named Gaston and Gastine, only
they love leather, so they attack my bags and my shoes. They bite them like a toy, like catnip,
and they attack fur and feathers. We brush them all the time, but they have long white hair,
and I’m often dressed in black. I use a Scotch roller every time I leave the house. They come and
scratch the doors in the morning for breakfast, so I have not just my son but the cats waking me up.
8:15 A.M. After I walk my son to school, I go back home and do an hour of gym—running in the
Jardin du Luxembourg or doing yoga or Pilates. I have an instructor who comes to my house. That’s
my time where I can breathe. 9:15 A.M. I quickly have a coffee and take my shower. The cats want
to be in the bathroom with me; they follow me like dogs. I wash my hair with Shiseido shampoo. I have
long hair, so I use a mask instead of conditioner, and I’ve discovered a great Kiehl’s styling cream. I’ve
been using La Prairie moisturizer for my face—I kind of switch around. I was going to skin-care expert
Joëlle Ciocco in Paris, but I haven’t had time lately. My makeup is simple: BB cream from Ren, black eye-
liner and mascara from Chanel, and I’m hooked on Baume de La Mer lip moisturizer. My trick is to use
Laura Mercier luminizer under my eyes. It makes you look like you just went on vacation. In the shower,
I think about what I’m going to wear, and I get dressed quite fast. Where I lose time is finding my clothes,
because my wardrobe is not as organized as I’d like. I have my basics—jeans and a white T-shirt—and I
just dress around that. I’m in heels almost every day, so I have a lot of them; one of my guest bedrooms
has become a walk-in closet. My clothes all have a story: bags from when I was at Louis Vuitton, shoes I did while I was at Prada.
I’m kind of creating an archive. The new Sonia Rykiel clothes have just arrived in the shops, so now I’m allowed to wear them. I’ve
been enjoying wearing socks with sandals—I like the attitude. I often buy blazers and jackets for my husband from places like
Comme des Garçons, but I end up wearing them myself. I try not to go into his closet, though, since mine is already dominat-
ing! To tell you the truth, it reassures me that my closet is bigger than my husband’s because I’m more comfortable with a
man who isn’t too into his clothes and looking at himself in the mirror. I don’t like men who are too precious, at least
not as a husband. 9:50 A.M. I’m lucky I live close to the office because I’m always late. It’s my worst habit. My
husband has had to get used to it, unfortunately; he had no choice. I take a Vélib bicycle, which is like Citi
Bike, or walk or jump in a car if I’m very late, and I do my makeup on the way. I carry this huge Hermès
canvas-and-leather bag filled with books and references, or my Sonia Rykiel Domino bag. I don’t
know how to organize myself. I just bring my whole day with me.
The Sonia Rykiel designer’s life by the numbers.
45minutes applying face cream
Full Ad part 1
2:00 P.M. I go into my after-
noon fittings—that’s where things
evolve and start to become something else.
It’s quite magical. 5:00 P.M. I always have
the need for a snack. I have bags of nuts, almonds and cashews. If we have meetings, I bring
nuts for everyone. I can have three or four coffees a day, which is not good. 8:00 p.m. When ev-
eryone is gone I put on the music quite loud and design. I could go until, like, four in the morning; I
have strong endurance. I’ve been replaying the music from our last show: Jeanne Moreau—her voice is so
French and charming and sexy—and Leonard Cohen. One band that always puts me in a good mood is Phoenix;
Thomas [Mars] is a great friend. I just love his voice and his energy. 10:00 P.M. I have dinner when I get home,
something easy, like a soup that my son’s nanny prepares or a yogurt. I do have some guilty pleasures, obviously; I’m
very human. I used to be quite a chocoholic. It’s a fact that sugar attracts sugar. I discovered this amazing chocolate place
from the 1800s near the atelier, called Debauve & Gallais. It’s Sonia Rykiel and Miuccia Prada’s favorite. Lola [Rykiel] told
me that her grandmother often had chocolate instead of lunch. That’s something I used to do all the time. I’ve changed since
I was pregnant; you eat healthier when you have a child. I do like to have a glass of red wine or a cocktail with friends, but I
like discipline, actually—I like rules. I don’t watch TV often, but I did get hooked on Damages, with Glenn Close, 24, and Grey’s
Anatomy. Weekends, I concentrate on my family. We have a country house. I was born and raised in the countryside, so I need to
be close to green. That’s the way to recharge. If we’re in the city, we go out to restaurants and see friends and art. I recently saw an
amazing Jeff Koons exhibition at the Pompidou, and I loved Jesús Rafael Soto at Galerie Perrotin. They have such cool stuff. I like
to shop at Merci for home and design things and at Comme des Garçons. I love how Rei Kawakubo pushes a lot of the Japanese
designers—the creativity is super inspiring. You feel like you’re in another dimension. I have a sister in London we visit quite a
bit, and I love shopping at Idea Books there, which has really rare photography and art books. I have maybe 3,000 art books at
home. Dover Street Market is another favorite place. It’s nice to see the work of young designers like Simone Rocha and how
they push themselves in different directions.1:00 A.M. My ritual is washing my face, taking off my makeup, and a long
process of putting on creams that can take 45 minutes. Sometimes I do a mask as well. Right now I’m wearing a hydrating
La Prairie mask while I sleep. It’s important to me not to go to bed with makeup—it’s probably the worst thing to do. I do a
mask for my hair too. I get very girly at night.1:45 a.m. In my bedroom I have an old architect’s desk, a fireplace, and art
pieces, like a wall sculpture from French artist Laurent Grasso. Another bad habit is falling asleep with my iPhone.
I used to not be very into digital—I didn’t even have an iPhone—and now I can’t disconnect. With Instagram
you get a bit addicted, trying to find interesting images and putting hearts on different pictures. I follow Idea
Books and some funny ones like Michel Gaubert, who does the music at Chanel. He’s on it all day. I grew
up in the ‘80s, and we played Pac-Man; now Instagram is like my game at night. It winds me down,
like watching a soap opera. As told to Christine Whitney
The cats are lovely, only they love leather,
so they attack my bags and my shoes.
They bite them like a toy, like catnip.
Who can resist the magic and mythology of Corfu? That ancient sickle-shaped
isle, renowned for tempting the traveller Odysseus with its natural beauty, and
drawing Roman emperors and literary greats like Durrell, Lear and Pinter to its
Head to the north-east coast (nicknamed Kensington-on-sea after its chi-chi
inhabitants). Here the water is a blue of two tones: a jewel-like turquoise in the
shallows, and further from the shore a deep cerulean, which is so clear that no
matter how far you swim out, you can see the seaweed lazily sway with the cur-
rent beneath. The skyline of olive-trees brought over by the Venetians in the 16th
century – of which there are now over four million – is a romantic sight, punctu-
ated with lance-like Cypresses that reach for the heavens.
Although a series of sleek super-villas are hewn in the rock along the coast, in a
small bay round the corner from Villa Rothschild is Kouloura: an unassuming
fishing village that comprises a tavern and a Greek Orthodox church. A gated
villa stands at the end of the road; the holiday home of the Agnelli family -
picture-perfect with its white-washed walls and ocean-blue shutters. It was once
a 15th-century fortress, built by the Venetians to keep the marauding Turks at
bay; now it is a house that, to our joy, can be rented between May and October.
What To Do:
Inside, the breezy lived-in charm makes this a home away from home. The vaulted ceilings and pale flagstone floors keep it cool, and the
family’s obsession with sea birds and sailing boats are displayed throughout the villa – in the library, the hall, the five bedrooms. Balconies
run alongside one edge, and the house falls away quickly to the sea, which laps constantly against the wall – at night a soothing accompani-
ment to sleep.
The wide terrace is the heart of the house. It is from here that the coast and foothills of Albania can be seen (where an equivalent fort lies,
but in ruins), and where meals are taken every day. This is the perfect place to eat and enjoy evening gin and tonics or a cool glass of retsina,
as golden-green finches dart in and out of the vine-clad arches.
Up top, beyond the walled garden that rises up lush with bougainvillea and orange- and lemon-trees, is the salt-water infinity pool that has
a sunny aspect in the mornings and early afternoons. Fringed by rosemary, lavender and exploring butterflies, this is where you can sun-
lounge overlooking the sea and passing fishing boats.
Bedrooms are all light and airy, with air-conditioning and fans for maximum comfort (although it is certainly worth bringing insect repel-
lent). Most are ensuite, with Ortigia products in each bathroom.
Hire a boat from Filippos Boats (filippos-boats.com), and follow the gentle coastline of undulating rock to visit Nissaki, where you can dive
and explore underwater caves, and Kalamaki beach, which is scarce of tourists and great for children. Stop off at Kalami, a little bay with a
sandy beach where Lawrence Durrell lived with his wife at the White House (‘set like a dice on a rock already venerable with the scars of wind
and water’), Agni and Kassiopi, a small port that is said to have been visited by the Roman emperor Nero and the philosopher Cicero.
Main pic for article
Prescott & Conran’s latest venture boasts two first class restaurants: the stylish and simple bistro perhaps caters more to the West
End’s theatregoers looking to get a good bite pre- or post- show, while the more refined restaurant upstairs is a must for any seri-
ous lover of French cuisine. We loved the restaurant’s aesthetic; the designers Isabelle Chatel de Brancion and Terence Conran
have created a delightfully fresh and elegant take on the classic Parisian dining scene.
As the name suggests, Les Deux Salons is a Parisian experience of two halves, giving you two different dining options under
one roof. Downstairs welcomes you with a bustling, typical French cafe / bistro - perfect for a breakfast rendez-vous, weekend
brunch or to combine with an evening out in London’s Theatreland. The winding staircase takes you to the main attraction where
the more upmarket fare is on offer.
Les Deux Salons - a French brasserie in London - feels like the real thing.
Grazing on the mise en bouche while sipping on a cocktail should allows you time to peruse the mouthwatering menu; it’s made
up of classic regional french cooking with some added twists, and there’s something for all Francophile food lovers. If you like
to play with your food then the Devon crab, pea bavarois and pink grapefruit is where you must begin. This colourful and aes-
thetically striking plate appeals both to the eye and the taste-buds. Allowing you to ‘mix’n’match’ what, at first look, appear to
be unusually paired elements, but which compliment one another surprisingly well, giving you a different experience with every
mouthful. A glass of the somelier-chosen wine adds an extra dimension.
By contrast the butter-roasted Dover Sole Grenobloise is simplicity at its best, showcasing a high quality ingredient perfectly
cooked with warming butteriness complimenting the fresh sea taste, expertly boned and presented at the table. For dessert, the
strawberry soufflé with white chocolate ice cream is marvellous, though by the time you get to that stage of your meal, that may
be a treat best shared.
Contact: Les Deux Salons, 40 - 42 William IV St, London WC2N 4DD; 020 7420 2050
With more travel awards than you could hope to count, it’s safe
to say that the Nam Hai’s excellent reputation precedes it. And
its not difficult to see why: from the second you set foot at the
resort – no, sooner; from the second you are collected at the air-
port – you experience the very best service that Asia has to offer.
Widely considered to be Vietnam’s finest luxury beach resort,
the Nam Hai is a collection of 100 villas (60 of which are one-
bedroom and beach front, 40 larger pool villas) spread over 35
hectares of tropical gardens along the Ha My Beach. And it is,
quite simply, beautiful.
Indoor and outdoor showers, a (huge) canopy-lined bed, a sunk-
en writing desk, an eggshell-lacquered bath: each villa features
everything you could possibly need, and a whole lot more. De-
cor is inspired by traditional Vietnamese garden houses, with
local artwork adorning the walls, lofty ceilings, polished wood
and handspun silks providing the finishing touches. Comfort-
able doesn’t even cover it.
The pool villas come with the added bonus of a private butler,
plus a private courtyard entrance, a kitchen and – of course – a temperature-controlled plunge pool.
Food and drink:
The Nam Hai has three restaurants to choose from during your stay. The main one, named the Restaurant, boasts one of the most
extensive breakfast offerings I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying, with Eastern and Western favourites to choose from in the buf-
fet, a full à-la-carte menu and – a personal highlight – a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar. By day, guests can have an alfresco
meal at the Beach Restaurant, overlooking the pool and the sea, while night owls will enjoy the cocktails and live music at the
Bar. Whether you’re in the mood for the catch of the day or cao lau Hoi An (the local speciality: a rice-noodle soup with pork),
there’s something for every taste. Oh and, of course, there’s 24-hour room service.
What to do:
While the Nam Hai has become a destination in its own right (the private beach is so idyllic, it’s easy to see why many don’t leave
it during their stay), let’s not forget that the resort is based in Hoi An, one of Vietnam’s most beautiful and culturally rich areas.
The hotel provides a regular shuttle service into the centre of the World Heritage city, which is Unesco-protected and funded,
giving it an untouched, unspoilt air that’s rare to find in a place that’s now understandably so popular with tourists. Postcard
pretty, with colourful river boats, tiny cobbled streets and lanterns hanging from every possible tree branch, Hoi An is the perfect
place to just wander and explore. With plenty of art galleries, restaurants, markets and street performers – opera is a particular
favourite – there’s so much to see and do.
THE NAM HAI, HOI AN, VIETNAM
Lupita wears Valentino dress, Aquazzura shoes and Bulgari ring
Since her Oscar-winning performance in 12 Years a Slave, Lupita Nyong’o has been celebrated the world over.
She talks to Sophie Elmhirst about the risks and rewards of her meteoric rise to fame.
Smoldering pink lides are bold against a
black eyeliner. To get that “seductive” yet
wild look, go with Yves Saint Laurent.
Hair styles that fused a chigon and a
ponytail popped up on runways from
New York to Paris. How-to: Fasten
your hair at the nap of the neck and
twist into a knot, leaving the loose
The Eye Palette
Bobbi Brown knows how to do laidback
glamour better than anyone, and the make-up
maestro’s Sand Eye Palette is a beach essential
for this summer. The mix of shimmery and
matte finishes in shades of cream and brown
subtly brighten and contour eyes.
Between photographs in a King’s Cross warehouse, Lupita Nyong’o
dances. Nothing showy, just a shuffle of her hips or a head-nod to the
beat of the music in the background. She’s surrounded by people – a
circus of agents and stylists and Lancome representatives (she’s the
brand’s new ambassador) all there for her, but she doesn’t dance for
them. It’s the kind of dancing you might do while you’re drying your
hair, or on hold on the phone; moves only you can see. But seriously,
this woman can dance. At one point, she body-pops like a pro, and
makes herself laugh with a full-on strut. Mostly, though, she dances
in a kind of dream, eyes half-closed, like it’s the most private thing in
‘There was a time when I was afraid to dance,’ says Nyong’o. The shoot’s
over, and we’re in an empty cafe on the top floor of the building. It’s
dusk and you can see all of London, to the Shard and beyond, the lights
coming on across the city. She has changed out of a full-throttle orange
dress and into a black sweater and trousers, as though someone has
turned down the volume. Her voice is low; the music’s off; the circus
has packed up and moved on. ‘My older sister would dance with aban-
don,’ she continues. ‘She would do it to entertain. I was so mortified at
the thought of wiggling my body in any direction. And I wrestled with
myself, because I didn’t want to be so self-conscious. I wanted to be
able to enjoy music and not care that I looked cute. I don’t know when
something switched in my head, but I’m so glad it did, because I feel
like dancing, and being able to enjoy one’s body for oneself is such a
precious, precious thing. For yourself, you know?’ She pauses. ‘If this
had happened to me at a time when I couldn’t dance – ha – my God, I
think I would be way more of a wreck.’
‘This’ is the last two years, one of those trajectories that make you
feel woozy with vertigo and that make no sense in any world beyond
Hollywood. Nyong’o’s rise has been so fast and so extreme that she’s
still trying to figure what on earth happened. In 2012, she was still an
acting student at Yale School of Drama. The same year, an audition
tape made its way to Steve McQueen, who was looking for an actress
for the part of Patsey in his film 12 Years a Slave. Nyong’o got the
call, got the part, got the Oscar (for Best Performance by an Actress
in a Supporting Role). It was her first feature film, still the only film
she has released. There had been a relentless pre-Oscars campaign in
which she appeared in a procession of gowns that seemed to shout
from the red carpet: ‘This woman is going to be huge.’ By the time
she was standing outside the Dolby Theatre on Oscar night wearing
powder-blue Prada, the world was on first-name terms with Lupita.
‘You know, I thought it would come to an end after the Oscars.’ She
means the frenzy. ‘I thought the Oscars would come and go and then
all of a sudden everything would be back to normal and I’d be back
in my apartment.’ She laughs.
Victory has its challenges. In a speech Nyong’o gave to the Massa-
chusetts Conference for Women last December, she spoke about the
occupational hazards of her triumph. ‘Lately, I have been afraid of
not being able to handle all these new expectations,’ she said to the
audience of 10,000 women. ‘To the world I have achieved the pin-
nacle of success in my field, and yet I still have the rest of my life
to go.’ Oscar in hand, the realisation hit: after years spent fearing
failure, she was now bewildered by success. ‘No one teaches you how
to deal with that particular experience,’ she says now. ‘Not even just
you, but how the world deals with it, and deals with you because of
it. There’s no manual for that.’ Did she seek advice, help, the solidar-
ity of a post-shock-Oscar-win support group? ‘Emma Thompson,’
she says, fast and breathless. ‘Emma Thompson, Emma Thompson,
Emma Thompson.’ Nyong’o chants her name like a prayer. ‘It was
Cobalt Hair Ties Yves klein blue has been a singature
color in Reed Krakoff’s collection since the very first one, so it’s no
This bold blue pairs nicely with an equally as bold nail polish.
“It’s kind of cosmic
beauty, very rock ‘n’ roll,”
said makeup artist Pat
McGrath of the spar-
kly eyes she created for
Anna Sui. She applied
greenish-gold loose glit-
ter to three points on the
eyes—the inner corners
and the middle of the
top and bottom lash
lines—using lash glue,
leaving skin and lips
Makeup artist Uzo described the
bold orange lips at Tanya Taylor
as “crisp and unexpected.” She
filled them in with a fiery or-
angey-red lip pencil, then went
over that with a brighter orange
in a demi-matte finish for a more
dimensional, opaque look.
The pretty, fresh makeup at Tory
Burch was inspired by a photo of
Picasso and his muse, Francois
Gilot, walking along the beach.
Use rich colored eye shadow
to create fabulious look that
will keep people talking for
such a relief... witnessing her going through that whole thing [the
pre-Oscars publicity circuit] with an ease and a playfulness and just
abandon. That is like the person I want to be. I want to be that com-
fortable even in this very alien environment that you get put in.’
The red carpet was Nyong’o’s home for a while – a journalist from
The New York Times calculated that she churned through 66 events
in the five months leading up to the Oscars. How did she stay sane?
‘You know what kept me sane? Not knowing. Having never really
experienced that before... because this was new territory I had no
normal. I had no sense of what was normal in that world. It was all
new.’ Could she do it again? She thinks hard, and speaks quietly. ‘I
don’t think so. Not to that extent.’
You don’t hear actresses talk like this very often, about the weird-
ness of their lives. Usually they express perfect gratitude, a well-
honed spiel on their phenomenal good fortune. But Nyong’o isn’t
ungrateful or hoping to win your unlikely sympathy for her success;
and there’s no hint of self-pity. Nyong’o is simply fresh enough to
the industry to see how confoundingly strange it all is. And she’s
still trying to work out how to survive. ‘It’s definitely something that
I’m grappling with every day. Today, what are my priorities? How
do I ensure my year is not filled with celebrity work and no acting
work?’ She has seen how the image of oneself can overtake reality,
can develop a life of its own – she’s in demand round the world
for magazines, advertising campaigns, keynote speeches (Nyong’o
has been fast-tracked not just to stardom, but to speech-giving role
model too). Suddenly, the thing that put her in this position – acting,
a raw and daring performance of a slave in the Deep South – seems
After a long stint when the scales tipped too far towards celebrity,
there are projects in the offing, at last. She’s in the latest version of
Star Wars, which comes out in December (‘I’m not a sci-fi geek, but
I’m definitely trying to be one,’ she says, valiantly). She’s about to
shoot Queen of Katwe, a story of a young Ugandan chess champion,
directed by Mira Nair. And she’s going to produce and play the lead
in an adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel America-
nah. Nyong’o bought the rights to the book after she’d made 12
Years a Slave, but before the movie was released. She was, there-
fore, still a total unknown, but that didn’t put her off. She was a fan
of Adichie’s work and wrote to her through a mutual friend. ‘I gave
her my little pitch,’ she says now, smiling. ‘It took a while before I
was able to get the rights, but then I did.’ Which gives you a pretty
clear idea of her ballsy determination. On board to co-produce is
Plan B, Brad Pitt’s firm that also produced 12 Years a Slave. ‘So I’m
in good company.’Still, there’s no sign of her handing over the reins
to those with more experience. She remains closely involved, learn-
ing how to produce a Hollywood feature on the job. ‘My mum often
says, “Sometimes knowing too much can slow you down.”’
Most people in her rare position – in possession of
a Lancome contract that Isabella Rossellini once de-
scribed as ‘winning the lottery’, a ticket to creative
freedom – might sit back and watch the scripts rush
in, allow themselves to be feted, pick and choose the
plum roles. Not Nyong’o. ‘I enjoy learning new things.
I enjoy being uncomfortable for some reason. It’s more
interesting, more challenging...’ She’s amused by her
inability to sit pretty. ‘That’s why I’m an actor. Because
there’s nothing comfortable about being an actor.
You’re always out on a ledge, you know?’
Even though Nyong’o’s vocation is
now clear, the self-doubt lingers. She
told the audience at the Massachusetts
conference that she felt she had to ‘be-
come a super version of myself to keep
up with the versions of me that stare
back from magazine covers’ – a state-
ment you don’t often hear from people
who regularly appear on magazine cov-
ers. Why – how – does she speak about
herself so bluntly? ‘I wish that I took
it more lightly sometimes,’ she says,
rueful, ‘because it costs a lot. Which
is why I can’t do those speeches
every weekend, because it costs a
lot to share from such a deep
place, if you will.
But I don’t know how to speak
from any other place.’ The speeches are in
part a result of her upbringing. ‘Kenyans
are very ceremonial. There is a formality
that comes with gatherings and comes
from our colonial conditioning... Orato-
ry is something that’s really important
to Kenyans, the way one speaks to the
her father give political addresses, saw
the importance of being able to speak
clearly and powerfully, and recognises
that not everyone gets a platform, so if
you’re given one, you should use it well.
‘I don’t want to waste anyone’s time,’
she says. ‘If I don’t have anything to say
then I shouldn’t stand up there.’
What she chooses to say is often directed to a
child. She closed her Oscars speech, voice thick
with tears, with the line: ‘When I look down at
this golden statue, may it remind me, and every
little child, that no matter where you’re from, your
in Hollywood event, she responded to the letter of a
for Nyong’o’s presence on her screen because she had
been ‘about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious [skin-light-
ening] cream, when you appeared on the
world map and saved me’. Does she ever
the colour of her skin that other actors
don’t feel? Nyong’o pauses for a while
before speaking. ‘That’s an interest-
ing question,’ she eventually says. ‘I
don’t feel like the responsibility I
feel comes from any place other
than my gut. I feel a responsibil-
ity to speak about certain things
because I wish someone had
spoken about them for me.’ She
tips her head back and looks
at the ceiling. ‘I think that’s
why I have a deep desire to
speak to a child because,
um...’ And then
her bag, and
Now I’m crying.
I always have
you’re going to
write about this.’
I weakly protest.
‘Oh dear God.’
It’s true, her public ap-
pearances are often un-
settled by tears, but not
in a histrionic way – she
dabs at her eyes almost as
an afterthought. It never stops
her speaking. She gathers herself
again, gets back on track. ‘I know I’m in a
unique position where lots of people all over the world are seeing me
and connecting with me, and perhaps because of my demographic
and how limited representation is for my demographic, I do feel not a
responsibility but an impetus to speak. It’s an impetus.’
The numbers tell their own story: she’s the first black African actress to
win an Oscar, the first black Lancome ambassador. During the shoot,
a Lancome rep admires the particular shade of red nail varnish that
has been chosen for Nyong’o to wear – a colour that doesn’t work as
well next to white skin. She is transforming the picture of beauty. As
Nyong’o says, it’s about time. ‘It’s 2015, man. We could all use some di-
versity.’ That’s why she wants to do Americanah – not just because the
story is about the under-explored experience of Africans in America
(as opposed to African-Americans), but also in order to show a West-
ern audience that Africa is a continent, not a concept, containing a
limitless mix of peoples and languages. Is it frustrating, how people
over-simplify? ‘Yes,’ she says, typically direct. ‘It can get tedious to have
to explain that I speak English because Kenyans speak English.’
Her family are all in Kenya, it’s still home, even though she hasn’t been
back since 2013, before the madness set in. She misses it, and them,
keenly, but they keep relentlessly in touch through instant messaging.
At any moment she’ll know that her mother is stuck in traffic or which
skirt her sister is thinking of buying. It’s not perfect, but it’s all part of
the adjustment. Her life is now an itinerant one, continent-straddling,
managed. She sees her old friends – from Hampshire College and Yale
– on the rare occasions she makes it back to New York and to her
apartment in Brooklyn. To get time to herself, she recently had to go
away – she won’t tell me where – to a place where no one knew her and
she could be ‘one of the number’, entirely anonymous. Amid all of this,
does she have time for romance? She smiles, and says simply: ‘I plead
the fifth.’ Nyong’o speaks more candidly than any actress I’ve met, but
there are limits.
(Lupita Nyong’o wears Louis Vuitton dress, photographed by Alexi
Lubormirski and styled by Miranda Almond for Harper’s Bazaar.)
The first black African actress to win an Oscar and the first black am-
bassador for Lancôme, Nyong’o is transforming the picture of beauty.
Go behind the scenes on the cover shoot in the video below, in which
the 32-year-old shares her make-up tips and favourite products, exclu-
sively with Bazaar.
Grandiôse fan-effect mascara, £24.50, Lancôme
Advanced Genifique serum, £59, Lancôme
La Base Paupieres Pro longwear eyeshadow (in 05 and 06), £21,
Lip Lover 8hr moisture gloss, £18, Lancôme
Teint Idole ultra compact powder, £34, Lancôme
Le Correcteur Pro concealer, £29.50, Lancôme
Crayon Kohl eye liner, £17, Lancôme
Teint Visionnaire foundation, £37, Lancôme