The first time I met Laura Mercier, she scared the bejaysus out of me. I’d gone to the hotel she was staying at, along with other beauty writers, and we while were all struggling not to be entirely enveloped by ridiculously plush sofas, I think I (innocently) asked a question she didn’t like and boy, she barked. I really can’t remember the details – only the sting! So, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to meeting her again. We meet in a gorgeous hotel – in the swish, whitewashed spa – and she has her new collection spread around her. Only this time, she isn’t feeling well. She has vision disturbance and I point out that it could be the beginning of a migraine and she should eat carbs. She does, and feels better. Regal, beautiful and immaculately dressed with a curious cross-mix of huge and tiny jewellery, she likes to tell it how it is. So do I. No wonder my nose was out of joint last time – straight talkers rarely like to be spoken to the same way! So, lesson learned – don’t dish it out if you can’t take it.
Laura is very straight – she rails about the struggle to have more colours in her tinted moisturiser lines with deflated hand gestures and irritated shrugs; her movements are rounded; no spiky jabs or fast face pulling. However, she has a victory to share; she is bringing out two more shades nowish, with two more to follow, but I know this has been a long and laborious process. She talks us through her spring/summer collection with ease and the conversation soon diversifies; we are suddenly talking about the importance of lipstick and her knowledge of the history of make up becomes apparent. Laura has an innate understanding of how ‘real’ women want to look; you won’t find anything to scare the horses in her collection, but you will find subtle colours, flattering hues and elegance unlimited. Refreshingly, she gets it that some women like to tan, and produces colours accordingly, and she gives some fascinating insights into the differences between the American cosmetic market and the UK. Apparently, in the UK, palettes don’t sell as well as single colours – we prefer to mix and match, but in the US, women are more prepared to do it by the book and work from pre-selected colours in a palette to a specific look.
I ended up staying far longer than I had intended to; her previous abrupt manner this time was muted with infectious passion about her subject, and as is the way when someone is deeply knowledgeable about a topic of interest, I found her mesmerising and fascinating. Just minded my P’s and Q’s a bit better!