“I was born in Paris, to a creative family. My parents were normal parents, they’re not famous or anything, but they always let me have my own way of thinking. At the age of five, I was dressing myself in tutus and yellow boots—I wore everything I wanted. I think it’s really important to let children have their own idea of art and aesthetics, and form their own identities. When I got older, I loved to experiment with new, cool things—one time I took some cassettes and created my own necklace out of the tape. I wore it every day, and people would see me at my job and say, ‘Oh I saw you a few days ago, I recognize you from your tape.’ It was funny to see that you could create something and make a community around it.
I wanted to work in real life, so I quit school. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I was sure I would be creating things in some way. I had a lot of little jobs for a while, because I wanted to have my own money. I assisted a big buyer in fashion for a bit. It helped me realize that what I love about fashion is the work and the pieces—the colors, the shapes, the textures—not the shows and the parties and the ambiance around it. All the craziness is really not me. Also, none of my friends in the industry had kids, and I wanted to create a family. When you come home to kids, no matter what kind of day you had, they don’t judge you. You are not selfish anymore, because your job is to take care of these other people. It’s really important for me to keep my feet on the ground.
Right after I decided with my husband that we wanted to have children, I got pregnant with my daughter. I wanted her to have some clothes that were more graphic, and monochrome—I couldn’t find baby clothes like that. I sketched a pair of leggings, and I made them. People would stop me on the streets like, ‘I want these!’ My husband is a marketing director, so he encouraged me to sell them online. I thought I would be making like, one pair of leggings a month, but the first day I got 20 orders, and the next day, even more. It was amazing—it was all because of Instagram. I started on Instagram in 2012, and at that time it was really new. Instead of using it to make an image for my brand, I told a story about me and my family, and people wanted to buy the product. After thousands of orders, the business had grown to the point where it became too big for me. What I liked was to create the pieces—the sketches, the pattern—and that had become only 10-percent of my time. The rest was business. So I stopped everything and reversed. For a while I was collaborating with brands and making Instagrams, but that can be really frustrating—it’s true now that you can be a musician, but if you have a lot of followers on Instagram you are not a musician, you’re an influencer. It’s like you don’t have a métier, you know? But my real job is consulting with brands behind the scenes. This is what I will be doing when Instagram is gone, and this is what I was doing before Instagram, too.
I’m not a beauty person—I love fashion, and beauty I just have my favorites that I stick with. Voilà. I cleanse with Bioderma—basic—and then I wash my face with Sisley Creamy Mousse. After that I put on the La Mer oil. At night, I use Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair, and then a night cream. I use Genesis of Youth night cream from Carita, but I prefer the Sisley Velvet Nourishing Cream. For me, Sisley makes the best products. When I do a mask, I like this one, the Sisley Mask Contour. It makes your skin so soft—it’s like, ah, perfect! Or I use this Argile Verte, which is a typical clay mask, mixed with aloe vera. I use it when I have a spot. I use this La Mer eye cream, because I have some dark circles. I’ve tried a lot of eye creams, but they never work. [Laughs] I’m a woman! We need to try to be sure.
I do wear makeup every day, except Saturday and Sunday. I try to have the most natural look as possible. I start with the Guerlain Blurring Active base. Après, I use the BB cream from Erborian and their CC Eye. If I need more coverage I use Clarins Foundation, and I also have the Glossier Stretch Concealer. For blush, I use Chanel Les Beiges or Cloud Paint. Blush I can do really well. For my lashes, I like Dior mascara, and Climax from Nars isn’t bad but it smudges a little. Miss Baby Roll Mega Volume mascara is really the best one. And for my lips, I just use Homeoplasmine or Carmex—I always have a tube in each of my bags, just to be sure I have some. They are really amazing.
I used to curl my hair, and I love it that way, but it takes me so much time. Now I just wear it natural, like this. I do a lot of things for my hair because I try to keep it in really good condition. Normally I use this shampoo from Sisley’s Hair Rituel, which makes my hair feel really smooth and shiny—it’s a really, really good product. But my favorite shampoo is this one, Ultra Gentle from Klorane. And when I feel like my hair needs a break, I use Mixa Baby Shampoo, because it’s so gentle. In France, it’s a really basic thing, and it smells so good—a real French smell. Everyone knows it. If I need a deep conditioner, the Leonor Greyl hair mask is the best I’ve tried. For my fringe, I use a spray bottle—you can spray just the fringe if you want to clean it. Then I use the Leonor Greyl Styling Spray and finish with the Precious Hair Care Oil from Sisley. I talk about that one to all my friends. I take some, put it just on my ends—when you have little hairs sticking up in every direction, it makes it perfect. And salt spray from David Mallett makes your hair look like you just came from the sea. I like it when I’m wearing something basic, like a white tee or a simple shirt.
My husband and I both have really dry hands. So, we prefer to use this lotion from Aesop. It smells really good. And I have nail polish, but not that many. I have my favorites—a black and a red from Essie, and Rouge Flore from Kure Bazaar. It’s a really cool brand because it’s organic, and that color is amazing on the nails. I used to do gel—it stayed strong and perfect for two weeks, but it was very bad for my nails. Now I just do it when I have an event.
I know that the French style is to not wear perfume, blah bah blah… Me, I love to wear perfume. I love when your stuff smells like you. I don’t like really big and strong perfumes, but soft and calming perfumes I like. My favorite is this one, Tom Ford Sole di Positano. I wear it in winter because I need it, you know? And I tried this one, Portrait of a Lady. It’s a little stronger, so I just use it in my hair. I tried Dioramour a few months ago, and I loved it. Normally I never like perfumes that are pink, and when I saw it was a floral perfume I really thought I wouldn’t like it. But it’s the only one I like that’s girly—it’s really soft, and it’s elegant. For the night, I use this too, Aromessence Neroli. It’s so calming—you’re in your bed, and you’re like, ‘Ah!’ It really is just for night. I used to use Chanel No. 5 when I was younger—you could tell your girlfriends, ‘I wear Chanel!’ [Laughs] It’s a good first step to Chanel. But it’s really strong—like a grandma. And my grandma did wear it! I never wear it now because it’s too strong, but I love that the smell has a lot of memories.”
—as told to ITG
Leia Sfez photographed by Tom Newton in Paris on February 27, 2019.