They just do things differently in France—which you will surely conclude after browsing these pics of Clémence Poésy, French actress, model and now, the face of a new Chloé scent launching this fall. (She's actually reprising her role as a Chloé spokeperson, as she repped their Eau de Parfum alongside Chloë Sévigny and Anja Rubik between 2008 and 2010.) You may know Clémence already from this site, seeing as she's a Paris Fashion Week front-row regular, or from the Harry Potter and Gossip Girl series, in which she starred.
Chloé is the epitome of a "cool French girl" fashion brand, so it's no wonder they chose Clémence. With her minimal makeup and tousled, always slightly imperfect hair, she looks fresh and elegant—but never like she's trying too hard. Here are her top 10 looks:
1. Long, tousled brown hair with inner-eye highlights
Outside the Chanel show in 2010, Clémence could be a Chanel ad come to life. Doesn't she look like she'd belong on their catwalk? What I like best about this look is her hair. First of all, it's not been blondified, which I think makes it a little cooler, a little more model-like and European. Then there is the amazing bedhead texture, parted down the centre and giving her that sexy je ne sais quoi. The makeup is fresh and minimal, with the silvery highlight at the inner corners of her eyes taking the starring role.
2. Über-blonde, centre-parted hair with a fresh, bare face
For the Cannes Film Festival in 2011, Clémence actually did blondify herself, and while I like her with a darker shade best, the way she wore this was with her signature coolness. It looks baby-soft, like she just air-dried it before parting it down the middle and then throwing on her gown for the premiere (as you do). Her face is pretty much bare as well, save for mascara. I always love that contrast of low-key hair and makeup paired with a super-dressy dress.
3. Centre-parted low bun with smudgy shadow, tightlined eyes and pink lips
Things got a little dressier for this Harry Potter premiere, where Clémence wore her hair in a (still textured) chignon with a centre part at the front. Her eyes have been lined all the way around in the waterlines, and then smudged with a halo of bronzey shadow. Take note: I don't think you'd catch her dead with false eyelashes, so there's just mascara. And I kinda like how she did a pink lipstick instead of the more predictable nude mouth. Since the eyeshadow and blush are in the same warm tones, the cooler pink gives a subtle pop.
4. Loose, undone braid with bangs and clear gloss
This look, for a 2012 Balenciaga show, is one of my faves—and a great reminder that braids don't always have to be tight to the head. Hers only starts around her shoulders, and there's this terrific, face-flattering volume up above. It would be a great hairstyle for anyone who likes the looseness and imperfection with more hair around the face. I'm also loving the "bronde" colour, the bangs and her bare face. See how the French don't even pile on the blush? I have to admit, it does look cooler. With just mascara and a hint of clear gloss, less is definitely more.
5. Blonde waves with bangs, defined lashes and a pinky-beige lip
Let's just all air-dry our hair from now on, shall we? This looks so much better than the ultra-groomed, not-a-hair-out-of-place vibe of Hollywood. The honey blonde is a really flattering colour for Clémence, and the soft bangs really frame her face. Makeup-wise, there is some nice lash definition going on, again minimal blush and then a very Chanel-looking sophisticated lipstick.
6. Loose updo with bangs, shimmering nude liner and flushed cheeks
How pretty is this?! Also a favourite look for me. And I guess the French do wear blush... maybe just on special occasions. The pink cheeks here make Clémence's complexion look so doll-like, and her blue eyes totally stand out. If you look closely, you can see a tiny bit of pinky-nude shimmer on the lower lash line, along with plenty of black mascara. Another thing to notice is the matte texture of her lips. Can you imagine how tacky a goopy, vinyl-finish gloss would be? I like her hair here, too. A simple updo with bangs and a little texture, no earrings. I hope Hollywood is listening.
7. Bright, matte red lips with a bare face and a sky-high bun
Finally, we have a lipstick in the house! And it's an excellent one at that—a matte, bright blue-red that's been applied with the ultimate precision. Look at those curves! You would definitely need to use a lip brush to achieve that, and it's well worth the effort. I must bow down to Clémence (and really, French people in general) for knowing how to wear a red, i.e. with nothing else but mascara. Hair's been pulled all the way back into this high and slightly messy bun. Is that a braid around its circumference? Nice touch.
8. Deep side part with hair across the forehead and black-rimmed eyes
You might remember this one from the Chanel show last year; I'm not exactly sure what's happening in the back of her hair, but the front is worth talking about. It's been parted way over to one side, but the key is the hair sweeping in a curve across the forehead. It almost gives the effect of a short haircut with a sweeping side bang... without having to actually cut. This is also the most intense eye look we've seen on Clémence, and I think it's necessary with the hair. She always likes to do liner in the waterlines, smudged out with a lighter colour shadow and black mascara. Note how the brows aren't filled in, and they don't always have to be. (In fact, asked Chanel's makeup artist about this last week and she concurred—especially when you have light brows, filling them in can fight with the eye makeup.)
9. Sleek top knot with bold berry lips
So great! And quite similar to the previous lipstick look, except here it's more of a berry shade and with a creamier (instead of matte) texture. The hair is in the same high bun with a braid around it, except maybe a little more undone (I like that one piece of hair on her left). Notice the lack of earrings again, the lack of brow-filler, the lack of eyeshadow, the lack of strong brush. I think it makes her blue eyes stand out all the more. Again, they've been carefully defined with intense black mascara.
10. Wavy bobbed hair with brown shadow and bare lips
This look won't be for everyone. I can't imagine a North American woman being down with the makeup here—er, lack thereof. But at the same time, I think it's pretty darn admirable of Clémence to have the confidence. She's not wearing blush or lipstick... or anything save for a brown shadow and mascara. I once interviewed Terry de Gunzburg (founder of By Terry) and she told me it's considered cool in France to look a little tired, like you've been out at night. Like it shows you have a life! So props to Clémence for that. And, I also like her new haircut. The bob looks awesome on her with those soft, touchable waves.
Have your say
Are you a Clémence Poésy fan?
Which look here is your favourite? Least favourite?
What do you think of this French style of beauty—do you love the effortlessness or is it too casual?