“I’ve always loved hair. And makeup, clothes, bags, everything. But the thing about hair is that everyone is always concerned with it. No matter what age—kid, man, woman, older…every day you’re concerned about your hair and what you’re going to do to it and how you’re going to fix it. I always liked the idea of not being perfect, but your hair makes you look better.
In France, I studied hair for three years—it’s a long process. When I moved to Paris, I started working with Bruno Pittini, who was a big hairstylist. He had a salon but also did shoots and theatre and movies. At that time, fashion wasn’t what it is today, but we would work with Elle and photographers like Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon…those people really had vision. Those shoots had so much imagination and with the hair, everything has to be possible. It’s not about commanding the creative process because you don’t even have time to think when you’re on a shoot. You just find solutions. We did crazy things, like in Marie Antoinette with Sofia Coppola, or for shows with Galliano or Gaultier. But the magic is the teamwork. You’re never working by yourself.
I never thought of myself as having a personal style because we worked on doing style on people. So it’s not about me—it’s about what’s happening in the picture. And I have so much energy and on set, I have to be in action! I’m in jeans and flat shoes most of the time.
Skin is all about hydration. Joëlle Ciocco does my facial and I think the products are very good because she has a cream for when you’re in your 20s, one for when you’re in your 30s, another one for your 40s…there’s a specific product for every age. There’s a lotion for the morning, then a night cream—it’s a lot of work! I use a bit of Chanel and a bit of La Mer, too. It’s the crème de la crème! [Laughs] Then I like to have a bit of protection for my skin because that’s very important. In the summer I swim a lot, so I use Sisley Sunleÿa SPF 50. It’s a bit expensive but it’s a really good product. I get that—and most of my products—from the pharmacy in France. Then there’s also Biafine, which is good if you have a burn or something. Japan is similar to France in their pharmacies, so whenever I go there, I bring stuff back. Like Cosme Decorté. That brand is quite nice and is working with Kate Moss. And the other one that I love in Japan is SK-II and their famous masks. They have that Cate Blanchett seal of approval. And when I worked with her, she always had that. So I was like, ‘OK, I have to go get that.’
After my creams, Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer. It’s not really a foundation, but it helps unify everything. In the summer I use Terracotta Skin Foundation by Guerlain to feel fresh. Then I use a bit of powder from Chanel or Charlotte Tilbury. I don’t like the feeling of mascara so when I have time, I tint my lashes. Then I use some sheer lipstick—never red—and I’ll put it on my cheeks too. There’s a new brand called Christophe Danchaud x Absolution that’s organic lipstick that I like.
Me, I don’t have the best hair in the world, so I don’t need that much. I get it cut once every four or five months. And I mainly wear it up because I’m working so much. That’s why I designed this pin that you can get at Bon Marché or Colette. I don’t make my own products though—not yet. I work with Kerastase and Moroccanoil on shows, though. I like the Kerastase Shampoo and Conditioner and the Moroccanoil Masks—that’s very important. I also love Leonor Greyl and Christophe Robin…they are both very French. I love Christophe’s masks because when you are blond, you need to hydrate the hair. You wash the hair and then you condition…if I’m not working, I’ll leave it in for a while. It’s really a weekend process.
Then aside from products, you need good brushes. I think women forget that they have to brush their hair—after you shampoo, you should comb the conditioner through your hair. I mean, that’s why it’s there! Conditioner helps you brush the hair! In Japan, they have the best ones—wood with half boar, half synthetic bristles. And Mason Pearson, of course. It’s the best brush.
Eau de toilette is for day, eau de parfum for evening. I have the new Alaïa, which I love. Oh, and Santa Maria Novella. Then the Serge Lutens Fleur D’Oranger is in my bag. He has a store in the Palais-Royale and his perfume is always mixed with wood scents and things—c’est sublime. But I don’t think we should use the same perfume in the winter and in the summer. In the summer, you need to be a little more fresh. But maybe that just means you don’t wear perfume at all if it’s too heavy.
At least once a year, maybe twice, I go to the spa and relax. That’s very important. I have thalassotherapy and Ayurvedic treatments. C’est incroyable, it’s the best treatment you can ever have. I’ll do it in August when I take holiday like everyone else. Otherwise during the year, when I have time, I go to the gym. It’s the best thing to do when you’re somewhere like LA and you have jet lag.
When I’m in New York, I go to Spa Belles for pedicures. To me, there is nothing worse than a woman who is very chic but then her feet are not perfect. And I’m always on my feet. So I’ll go and have a ‘medical pedicure’ and use Nars Soup Can. But never on my hands. Just feet.”
—as told to ITG
Odile Gilbert photographed by Virginie Khateeb at her home in Paris on October 12, 2015. Interview by Marie-Cybele Muysers.