Her quest for both the glamorous and the intellectual sides of beauty has led Victoire de Taillac on an incredible adventure; co-founder & editor of the French Beauty Club, Editor in Chief of Corpus Magazine and Co-Founder of the boutique, Buly 1803. The Buly Boutique, situated on Rue Bonaparte is undeniably one of the most beautiful discoveries I’ve made in Paris. From the moment, I stepped inside, I have been fascinated with their niche scented and beautifully packaged offerings. I recently sat down with Victoire for tea at Ladurée to chat about Buly, beauty and our fascination with Parisian chic. Here Victoire shares the inspiration behind the creation of Buly, her daily beauty rituals and insider tips.
How did the quest of Buly come about?
It was quite a long journey as you know. As part of our research, we were browsing catalogues from old French perfumers and we were really inspired by the old, French, beauty products. I fell in love with the words and semantics in the catalogues. The terms for beauty were so original and not like the words we use today – a more beautiful way to describe beauty. The inspiration really started here. From there, it was finding the brand (an old French perfumer) conserving the original DNA and design. We then started working with a beauty historian and digging through the national beauty archives.
Working with a beauty historian sounds fascinating, can you tell me more?
Yes, France is a very old country, we have administration for a very long time. There is a long history of perfumers and traditions here. During the revolution a lot of things were burnt but not everything. If you are lucky you can find some great information, old invoices and old catalogues. There are a lot of libraries also where you can find information too. This part of the research was extremely interesting for me.
I love how some Parisian pharmacies have retained the look of the old French apothecary – did this play a part in the design of the Buly boutique?
You still have the facades of the old apothecaries here in Paris but unfortunately the inside of those apothecaries have been destroyed. No one was really interested in keeping the original construction and the products. That’s what we really want to do with Buly. The idea of a modern day apothecary, where you could buy a perfume or a pomade, but where you could mix products. In the olden days, if you were an aristocrat, there was a lady in charge of you who would do things for you, before your bath. In the old apothecaries they had a little atelier or factory in the back where they could custom make things for you and I really liked this. I really wanted to bring this element into the store, to be a modern day apothecary.
The Buly packaging is candy for the eye, can you tell me a little bit about it?
You know there is a real pleasure of sharing things you believe in. We really wanted things done in a certain way. We love catalogues, print and we love paper. So we thought for the kind of product we are selling people need the information and a catalogue would be great.
What is the inspiration behind the décor?
It’s just a point of view. The décor part is really at the hands of my husband (Ramdane de Taillac), of course I participate but it’s really his. He loves retail, and he has a great eye and personal style. He has worked in Japan, with Liberty in London. He loves beautiful craftsmanship. He loves old places, every time he is travelling he will visit places – it can be a motor bike store in Bali or the Comme de Garçons store in Tokyo. He won’t compromise, for example the way the store is done, he found a way to do it even with a limited budget.
How do you go about sourcing and creating the products?
To create the Buly products we have been working with a very specialist company here in France. The products from around the world in the store have been found through word of mouth! Ramdane loves to travel, he’s very old school like that, he will always go to check the place and discover the product for himself first. It’s a work in progress, I am learning every day from clients in the store – word of mouth.
I am very curious by nature. I like to travel, to discover and I love to find new things. when you receive people in the store who are curious I love to have those conversations. What I like very much in beauty, is not to be the most beautiful – but how to take care of yourself. What I love in my customers when I spend time with them is to discover all the particular things that they do. I find that fascinating. It’s really personal and that’s what I love. Discovering new products through word of mouth and now through the store, through our customers is endless. I love this aspect.
What is your personal view on French beauty?
I believe what you are is also coming from what’s behind you. I had a very sophisticated Grandmother, she always wore Guerlain perfume. I haven’t smelled that perfume for a while but I remember that smell so clearly in her room, on her things. She was always very glamorous with her lipstick. I think those early memories I have of my Grandmother’s beauty rituals really shaped the way I see beauty and femininity. The way she was taking care of herself, the way she was doing her sport, and her hair.
I saw that she was ageing gracefully, that’s important and it’s part of the journey we will all face. I find the idea of modern beauty in the media difficult. You can’t only choose people younger than you for inspiration because the road is going one way.
What are your beauty rituals?
I really believe beauty is how you feel inside and it reflects in your eyes.
I use very few things. I will do a facial or a toner in the morning. I have a floral water, L’Eau Superfine, and then I will put maybe a Pommade. At night it really depends on my mood and what I am feeling like. It can be an exfoliation, rice powder from a Japanese brand that I love, or a milk cleanser. If I am tired, a little bit of oil. I really like masks there is a great one from Aesop that I love. I think once or twice I think you should go see a facialist.
How important is a good facial, I know sometimes I would prefer to spend the money on shoes!?
You’re living in your skin, not your shoes! I love Joelle Socco, I think she is a genius. She gave me great advice on my skin. She is very passionate and the results are amazing. She is amazing but very expensive. Jean de Bucy, a very traditional one, old school one, where I used to go as a teenager. Les Petits Soins is also very good place for facials. She is doing the method of Françoise Morice and the price points are great.
“You are what you eat”… How do you feel about the trend towards detox diets?
I think the IT diets are crazy…The problem is processed food. What you eat is very important. The fashion of no oil or no fat, is very bad on skin on hair. I see it on people around me on the IT diet – you can see it in their skin and hair. Fat is not the problem, it’s processed food. Great butter and great fresh cream it’s essential.
What is luxury in beauty to you?
A real luxury treat is to have someone come to my home to do a mani-pedi. I think it’s also important to trust and have a good relationship with the people taking care of you. I think it’s also a real pleasure to have time to get dressed up before going out.
What are your own personal Buly must haves?
I love the Lait Virginal, it’s a perfume milk. I don’t like to wear perfume so to have a scented body products. I like it in other brands too. It is a real pleasure to wake up in the morning with something fresh like a rose water. The Superfin Toner is a real pleasure to wake up to.