Très Chic: Alessandra Lanvin’s Beauty Routine

French, gorgeous, and with a footwear collection that would make Imelda Marcos blush — Alessandra Lanvin might just be our beauty spirit animal. Lanvin (yes, those Lanvins — she’s married to Hubert Lanvin, the grandson of the eponymous fashion brand’s founder Jeanne Lanvin) is the brains behind the gorgeous, luxe footwear line Aperlai, a favorite of red-carpet fixtures such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Blake Lively, and Kate Bosworth.

Besides being immensely talented, this hot mamanis the very essence of stylish and drop-dead gorgeous to boot. We got the chance to sit down with this rock-star of the designing world to talk about how she crafts that signature je ne sais quoi beauty look that seems hardwired into every French woman’s DNA, plus the products she can’t live without, the starlet super-fan she was so psyched to work with, and what we can expect from Aperlai in 2013.


Tell us about your personal style. How would you describe it?
“Sophisticated, fresh and modern.”

What about your beauty philosophy?
“I don’t spend a lot of time on my hair, but I am crazy about my nails — I have a lady who comes to my house twice a week [to do them for me]. I think I look better natural because I have sensitive skin, so I start the day with a good Aesop moisturizer and a big smile. My signature makeup look is pearl skin and black eyes — I have big eyes and lips, and with too much makeup, I look like a clown.” 

Balenciaga coat, Equipment shirt, Van Cleef & Arpels clutch and ring


What is your every day beauty routine?
“Every morning I wash my face in the shower with Kanebo Sensai Purifying Silk Peeling Powder. It leaves the skin clean, brighter, and softer. Then I use the Aesop Sage & Zinc Hydrating Cream SPF 15. I have a lot of hair, but it’s thin, so I tend to lose volume and get dirty easily. That’s why I wash my hair every morning with Leonor Greyl Shampooing Au Miel, which is very light and non-damaging. I also use Leonor Greyl Huile de Palme — it is an amazing, nourishing mask that is ideal for your ends.”

What are some of your other must-have products?
“I am crazy about Aesop, as their products are all-natural, but still very efficient. I’ve always loved Clarins products, especially the body products like Huile Tonique and the face product Lisse Minute — I don’t wear any foundation during the day, but use touches of that on the nose area and my forehead. I also use Crème de La Mer — it’s very rich, so I keep it as an emergency moisturizing mask.” 

Lanvin bracelet, Donna Karan Black Cashmere, Yves Saint LaurenTouche Eclat, Clarins Lisse Minute Concentré Comblant Anti-Rides, Chanel Rouge Allure, Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara


What made you start your own line?
“I have always been fascinated by shoes and accessories. I was always collecting shoes, special editions, unique pieces. After working in the luxury field for years as a head-hunter, I decided to create my own line three years ago to satisfy this passion.” 

Hermès bag, Aperlai pump and moccasins


You’ve had a lot of celebrity fans of Aperlai — was there anyone in particular you were really excited to find out liked your shoes?
“From the first collection, we had great support from many celebrities we love: Kate Bosworth was the first, quickly followed by Blake Lively, Naomi Watts, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, Ginnifer Goodwin — they all wore our shoes during their events and this generated an incredible buzz, especially on the Internet! Probably the celebrity that excited me the most was Kate Bosworth, as she was the first one I saw wearing Aperlai!”

We know you are an art history buff and use that as an inspiration for your line. Does art influence your beauty look as well?
“I like to be understated in my beauty look and very natural. I have strong facial features that I don’t want to draw attention to with lots of makeup. In fashion, I love to be inspired by the world of art with jewelry statement pieces and graphic prints.” 

Lara Bohinc, Giambattista Valli, and Lanvin jewelry


Do you have any quick beauty tricks or secrets you’ve picked up over the years that you swear by?
“For puffy eyes, I use Sisley Paris Express Flower Gel Mask. When I wake up after long nights and my eyes are puffy, I put it on and leave it for 10 minutes — it reduces the puffiness.”


Who is your beauty inspiration?
“Fashion icons from the past: Katharine Hepburn for her perfect sense of style, always understated and elegant; Sophia Loren for her sensuality and generosity; Diana Vreeland…what can I say? She was a genius!” 

Aperlai pumps, Lancôme Genifique Contour des Yeux, Chanel Poudre Universelle Libre


We’ve heard rumors that a handbag line is in the works. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
“Aperlai is all about our passion for shoes. Our main focus is and will always be on footwear. Still, we are currently working on various projects to complement our shoe collections. We would like to develop a collection of small evening bags and clutches.” 

Lanvin bracelet, antique earrings, Celestina clutch


Are there any beauty trends, products or looks you would never try?
“I would never change my natural hair color, as I think it fits my skin tone.” 

Anything you are dying to try out?
Lumière Light Therapy — it’s a non-invasive anti-aging treatment that you can do at home.” 

Bottega Veneta bag, Aperlai boots and pumps


We recently did a story on how French girls just seem to do beauty better. How do you think American beauty differs from French beauty?
“American beauty is more sophisticated and professional, while French beauty is more messy and spontaneous. All my American girlfriends are so perfectly natural because they take the time to take care of their skin, hair, and body. Their complexions are incomparably glowing and fresh! On the other hand, French girls are less perfect, maybe more spontaneous, which makes them naturally beautiful.” 

Carven skirt, Aperlai boots

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