Clémence Poésy Wants You To Stop Being Mean To Your Fellow Woman

Photo: Courtesy of Jérémie Bouillon for Chloé.
It's not often that one is inspired by a fragrance commercial. That might be because not enough fragrance commercials star the luminous and spirited Clémence Poésy. The French actress and model is the face of Chloé Love Story, the first new stand-alone scent from the fashion house since the arrival of Chloé Signature seven years ago.

The ads for the scent — which were directed by French actress and sometimes director Mélanie Laurent — feature Poésy falling in love and experiencing all the small, sometimes silly things that can turn into more significant moments when we're with someone we connect with. Heralding back to that concept of love, the bottle design is inspired by the Pont des Arts bridge and the "lover's locks" that couples attach to it. And, of course, the iconic padlock that is synonymous with Chloé thanks to the Paddington bag.

The brand chose Laurent to direct the spot after seeing her first movie, Les Adoptés. "We didn’t want to do a classic TV spot," says Caroline Javoy, Chloé's vice president of marketing. "We wanted to have a fresh snapshot of what real life is and of what real Parisian life is. We didn’t want to have this fake feeling, because Chloé is about real women and very often in TV, in fragrance advertising, it can feel very forced and fake: like, slow-motion on the bridge… We wanted to give this the spontaneous feeling of a true, real Chloé girl, because what I think appeals to women about Chloé is that it’s made for real women. It’s comfortable; you can move with it."
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Photo: Courtesy of Chloé.
The fragrance features notes of neroli, orange blossom, jasmine stephanotis, and cedar. "We were all crazy about this kind of fresh, clean, sexy, floral aspect [of orange blossom], which is for me, very Chloé," says Javoy.

Who better to bring that to life than Poésy, an actress who has grown up with the brand. "When they talk about Chloé, they keep saying it’s natural beauty, it’s effortless, it’s being charming, it's being free. Clémence sort of ticked all the boxes," says Javoy. After sitting down with Poésy to chat about the role, we can say we wholeheartedly agree, as well as add the descriptors delightful, intelligent, thoughtful, and earnest.

Read on to hear her unique take on what makes a good love story, why she puts baby products on her face, and why women supporting other women is so important. That's a philosophy we can all get behind.

How was it working with Mélanie Laurent on this shoot?
"It was lovely. I think she was after something more real than... Well, perfume commercials can seem a bit like a perfect world where people don’t really move their faces too much, and she was after the opposite." 

How was the shoot itself?
"It was lovely, [but] it was so cold. The shot we did in the carousel, we shot that at like five in the morning — the temperature was insane. They’d stuck all those hand-warmers around my waist, so I wouldn’t get too cold. It was kinda fun. The camera man had to be backward and was starting to feel really sick, and getting greener and greener. Every take, I was like, 'This isn’t going to end well!' Shooting a movie isn’t glamorous; it’s probably one of the least glamorous things."

What do you think is the ultimate love story, real or fiction? 
"Love takes so many forms. I remember reading [Joan Didion's] The Year of Magical Thinking, which you wouldn’t think is a romantic book, but I think it is one of the most beautiful books on marriage and on how someone can just become a part of you, and I’m fascinated by that: couples who have managed to get through whatever life throws at them, to keep that partnership. That book is one of the most beautiful love stories, and it’s a real one."
Photo: Courtesy of Chloé.
What are you currently in love with right now? 
"New York! I’ve always been in love with New York. It’s such a vibrant and exciting city. Every time I land, I’m like, 'YES.'"

Anything specifically you love about NYC? 
"There’s a lot of food. This is really embarrassing, but I went shopping yesterday for Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning products. I put them in my suitcase every time I come back. I can’t get them in Paris, and they smell so lovely!"

What are some of your favorite NYC meals?  
"The Smile does a Manouri cheese sandwich that is one of the most amazing things. There’s a banana bread that Grumpy does that I love. I always go around New York thinking of what I can eat; where and at what time. How many meals can I fit in one day? How can I get all my favorite things?"   

What's your usual skin-care routine like?
"It’s pretty basic. I clean it and tone it. I tone it with a thing that’s really cheap that you find in French pharmacies called Lait Collosol. It’s a milk they usually put in babies' baths. You [don't rinse it off; you] keep it on, and it’s great. It’s really soft. Someone once told me that if your skin feels like it needs to be helped, to put a bit of magnesium, selenium, or zinc directly on [it]. That was a good tip."

Speaking of French beauty products, why do you think American women romanticize French-girl beauty?
"I don’t know, because I think we idealize a sort of very American girl. We always want what feels like it is a bit far away. To want something, it has to be not right next to you. It has to feel like it’s a bit hard to reach. I think there’s a tradition in films that has maintained that idea and image."

What do you think about the recent trend of no-makeup makeup, or this fascination with cultivating a done-yet-undone aesthetic in beauty?
"I was brought up by a mom who told me that I was going to have to wear makeup at some point, so I might as well enjoy the time when it was nice not to wear any. And, maybe [now] you’re encouraged to like your flaws a bit more. I love circles under the eyes — I think they’re very moving. I like when skin isn’t perfect. I’ve always loved pictures of people waking up, and when hair is a bit messy... Maybe we’re [finally] able to embrace what our flaws are. I always feel like there are girls who are in-focus and girls who are a bit out-of-focus, and it’s always a bit messy and nothing is ever perfect. Whenever I have to sit next to someone who’s all perfect, I feel like a little bit of chaos. But, I don’t mind it."
Photo: Courtesy of Chloé.
Who’s your beauty icon?
"There’s many! I was watching a film on the plane with Catherine Keener in it. She’s so beautiful. There’s something really moving [about her]. It’s not about how people look, really. It’s everything that they carry with them. People like Zadie Smith [are] beauty icons... Lee Miller, I’ve always been fascinated by her, how modern she looks. Joan Didion, if we want to talk about her! Joan Baez. It’s everything they’ve done."

Are there any beauty trends you’re dying to try, but, perhaps for professional reasons, you just can’t?
"I want to dye my hair pink."

Would you ever just go ahead and do that?
"Yeah, I will, I’ll do it. It’s really hard to find the right time to do it, because no films actually allow you to... I don’t know, we’ll see!"

Caroline was telling me how you've been with the brand for eight years, and she feels like you've grown up with it. What makes this a special collaboration for you?
"They were the first people I ever collaborated with, and they’ve been kind enough to let me do it again. It’s a brand I’ve always deeply loved. I like the woman it creates; I like the woman we’re creating for it. I think it’s an idea of femininity that I recognize in myself. I feel really privileged."

Something that's really unique about Chloé is that it's a company created by women, for women. Why is that so important in today's world?
"If I get started on that, you’d be here all day! But, we have to be our own best friends. I think women have to care about other women and fight for the ones who can’t. I think it is one of the most important fights to lead right now. I work with a web platform called Women’s WorldWide Web, W4, and they do funding for lots of different charities around the world. I also think women are the solution. If we’re talking about...what’s happening in the industry, the more scripts that are written by women for women, there will be more parts, there will be more of those energies put together. And, it’s doing it in a very positive way. It’s not a fight against anyone — it’s a fight for women."    

Chloé Love Story, $75, available at Sephora.


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