Muses are all around us. Sarra is one of those people whom you meet and inspire you from the very start: her chic style, intelligent dialogue and sweet demeanor linger with you and leave you wanting more. So, what inspires a muse? We found out on one romantically rainy afternoon...
| Who is she —
Sara, a beauty biz exec with a nose for fragrance
| Why we love her —
A native Parisian, Sarra has a flare for storytelling, and innate style that stems from her impeccable sense of detail.
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
The quest for beauty. I am driven by aesthetic in everything I do. I work in beauty so it's a daily quest to make products, ads and details look beautiful and special. Even my office has to look beautiful. I favor aesthetic over functionality. For me, beauty is an ideal. It elevates. It is linked with culture, knowledge, it's deep and gives a sense to life.
What inspires your daily creative practice? What’s in your creative toolbox?
First, visuals. I am very visual. I love magazines. But also words, colors, music, cinema, names, flowers, English wallpapers and Assouline books. My toolbox consists of fabrics, scissors, a sewing machine, a notebook with sketches of dresses.
What is your first creative memory?
A drawing from my mother - who is an occasional painter - when I was in primary school . I always asked her to paint me flowers, so she does remarkable oils on canvas. Some are on the walls of my New York apartment. I come from an artistically gifted family, so arts have always been part of my life. When I was a little girl, I loved to draw fashion sketches and spent time designing audacious clothes for my dolls. Later, I replicated designer looks directly from lookbooks to dress Barbie dolls.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Never let other people decide what is good for you. Make your own choices. Master your life.
What influences your personal style?
Women. Actresses playing specific characters. I grew up admiring Greta Garbo, Romy Schneider directed by Claude Sautet, Marthe Keller in Fedora by Billy Wilder, Marie-France Pisier playing Coco Chanel, Natalie Wood directed by Sydney Pollack. And also style icons like Talitha Getty, Loulou de la Falaise or Jean Shrimpton.
The roaring twenties and its opulent beauty (fur, extravagant jewelry, gold shoes).
The seventies, the "golden age" of the boho-chic, with its saturated colors, blue nails, long straight hair, headbands, printed patterns, mix and match aesthetic for an unexpected mash-up. The LA lifestyle. The Mediterranean region.
Who is your biggest creative icon?
Yves Saint Laurent. His fashion is infused at every turn with romance, nostalgia, Marrakech and decadent wonder; the West enchanted with enigmatic objects and imagery from the East.
What is your greatest achievement thus far?
My home on the hills of Cannes bought in the late 90s from the daughter of a French actress.
I initiated dramatic renovations. I even moved the pool. It’s a mix of past and contemporary style.
If you were not in your current profession, what would you like to do?
I never planned to become a marketer. I went to business school because economy was my favorite class in high school. I like the creative side of my job but at the same time, I like to be in business.
In my next life, I could be a fashion designer, an architect designing private homes, a movie director or I could run a department store. One of my favorite books is "Au Bonheur des Dames" (The Ladies' Delight) by Emile Zola. I rarely spend a week without visiting a department store. It's very entertaining and interactive with plenty of newness around and also inspiring.
If you had to bottle your “essence” what notes would it comprise of?
Iris, Chopin, Gershwin, the French Riviera, LA, The Great Gatsby and fruit salad.
What do you miss about Paris? What do you love about New York?
Paris: The freedom, the fine critical thinking, the creativity, the sense of taste, the irreverent style, the coffee shops and their conviviality, the left bank on weekends, driving in my New Beetle in the city with my hair in the wind, the month of August, the department stores.
New York: The energy, the architecture of old buildings like the Fuller building, the Essex House, Central Park, Soho, Manhattan by Woody Allen. The people’s kindness, women holding a clutch, the department stores. I also like the idea of being French in NY, keeping my personality.
What object did you absolutely have to bring back from your Paris apartment and why?
I brought pretty much everything with me. I am attached to objects, furnitures, clothes. Each has a story. If I could have brought only one thing, then it would have been my Art Deco mahogany vanity with its chair and mirror. My grandmother gave it to me when I was a 8. It's a romantic powder room by itself.
What is your favorite accessory?
Sunglasses and a hat. 2 iconic accessories of "screen sirens" to enhance their enigmatic beauty and cultivate an air of mystery.The hat has to be a wide-brimmed hat or a Panama hat.
And also heel sandals with double straps and a clutch.
How do you keep things blah-free?
I like to highlight my outfit with metallic details (gold shoes, gold bag, sequins ...) as my personal trademark.
Same for my home. I am a big fan of metallic wallpapers, of One Thousand and One Nights. Everything that glitters is gold.
And finally with just the right amount of wrong.