Francois Nars Prefers Tilda Swinton Over "Boring" Models

Francois Nars - H 2014
Clint Spaulding/Patrick McMullan/Sipa USA/Sipa via AP Images

The makeup maestro and creator of NARS Cosmetics says of his latest muse, "She lives the experience of transformation and expression"

Francois Nars is one of the world's greatest makeup artists, and his cosmetics line, NARS (makeup, nail polish and skincare), is just as popular with beauty lovers and celebrities all over the world. Known for innovative colors and creative textures as well as captivating ad campaigns, NARS is on the cutting edge of beauty. And so is the new face of NARS, 53-year-old Tilda Swinton, who was shot by Monsieur Nars himself for the campaign.

So what led Nars to work with the avant-garde style icon? Here, the makeup maven-photographer tells all to Pret-a-Reporter.

You had Charlotte Rampling as the face of NARS, and now, Tilda Swinton. How are you making these choices? Clearly these are actresses whose talent and intelligence you admire — but how do they reflect the brand NARS?

I like edgy fashion and strong features. I cannot photograph models that are very weak or too pretty; there always needs to be some strength, so the choice of the model is very important to me. If I don’t like the model I cannot take the picture, and I do not choose "boring" beauty models — I prefer beauty with character. With Tilda, she is a living legend. I love her bold style and really admire her work. As an actress, she brings such strong personality to the camera. And as a woman, she lives the experience of transformation and expression.

These are two women [Swinton and Rampling] both out of the ordinary and older for beauty campaigns. What message are you giving here?

I would think the audience of NARS would be more like 18 to 45. I don’t put an age limit on beauty. The NARS woman is strong, determined and sophisticated. She has no age — I don’t believe in "age labels." But she’s very modern; definitely not a boring woman.

Photo courtesy of NARS