sarah moon photography
Impressionism meets old-world glamour in Sarah Moon’s photography.

The face of “impressionist” photography, legendary lenswoman Sarah Moon has brought her brand of ethereal charm, muted palettes and soft “brushstrokes” to Nars’ recently launched Holiday collection. The tie-up – initiated by the beauty giant’s namesake founder Francois Nars – is the brand’s first artist collaboration that uses new, not archival, imagery.

sarah moon x nars
Legendary French photographer Sarah Moon

Born Marielle Warin in France in 1941, Moon cut her teeth in fashion as a model before moving behind the camera in the ’60s. Initially a photographer and collaborator of the era’s seminal designer Barbara “Biba” Hulanicki, she took a different artistic path in the ’80s, working mostly on projects for gallery exhibitions and films since.

For inspiration, Moon and Nars looked to the 1927 German sci-fi flick Metropolis, admired for its cubist visuals and regarded as one of the most stylish films ever made. Then there was the other, more prosaic influence. “Francois had asked me to bring an object that could inspire the packaging design, so I brought a very simple transparent square box. That was really the trampoline,” she says in an exclusive e-mail interview.

Moon’s dreamy images of models Codie Young (above) and Anna Cleveland on the packaging were inspired by the 1927 sci-fi film Metropolis.

Eleven of her original works grace the palettes’ packaging. In each of them, models Anna Cleveland and Codie Young – both known for their unconventional beauty – recall astral winter nymphs of sorts: futuristic, ethereal and sensuous. “The vision came together right away… Simple, strong, transparent, frosted but not frosted,” says Moon. “I wanted it to be very modern and feel almost as if the woman is transparent.”

sarah moon nars eyeshadow
Indes Galante eyeshadow palette

The Metropolis touch comes not only in the styling – cue the Perspex corsets and helmets – but also the models’ makeup. Think classic red lipsticks and nail polishes, and heavily kohled, but soft, smudgy eyes that evoke Brigitte Helm, star of the sci-fi masterpiece. “We talked about the idea of (having) a kind of mist around the eyes and worked from there. Nothing too obvious, nothing too strident,” says Moon of the visual direction.

“Makeup enhances the personality… When you photograph a woman with very light makeup or very heavy makeup, it gives her a tune. And then you follow the music.”

sarah moon nars red lipstick

The standout in the 22-piece line is the Moon Matte Lipstick ($40), which is creamy, intensely pigmented, and comes in three shades of red (blood, ruby and brick) and one nude. There are also eyeshadows, lashes, eyeliners, blushers, nail polishes and false eyelashes, and eight holiday coffrets.

sarah moon lip and cheek palette
The True Story Lip & Cheek Palette

Moon’s work never fails to conjure up the surreal and fantastic, but she points out that the collection is ultimately rooted in reality. She says: “We wanted to tell the story of an authentic woman. Any makeup she is wearing is never a mask. We really collaborated to find this woman who was delicate yet strong, and always very modern.”


Like this? Find out why Nars Orgasm is the best blush shade, why you should add the Nars Sculpting Multiple Duo to your beauty routine and our favourite limited edition holiday makeup