A corporate anniversary is the dullest thing I can think of. And yet: Nars has been cool for 20 years. It’s never reinvented itself, never freshened up, never “listened to our consumer,” never pondered its own DNA. And it’s never not been cool. As I tried on shades of his sleek new Audacious lipstick, I asked François Nars: How do you stay cool for 20 years? He leaned back in his beautifully cut black suit—Nars has always been one of the best-dressed men I have ever seen: always a suit, always a white shirt, always a quiet, faintly edgy luxury—and considered. “Well, I never had an identity problem,” he chuckled. “Fashion can confuse you, make you doubt yourself. I do what I believe, then inject just a bit of fashion.” This in mind, I chose a more-nude-than-my-usual color, a creamy beige called Anita. As in Ekberg? Pallenberg? Either worked for me.
“I guess I just try to improve,” he continued. “I go for classic, iconic—and it doesn’t hurt to be shocking.” He smiled. “I mean, I made this blush called Orgasm, and I thought it would never sell.”
Nars Audacious Lipstick in Charlotte, Lana, Vera and Anita, $32 each, narscosmetics.com