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2013 March 21

Beauty Break! Catching Up With Allure's Fashion Director, Siobhan Bonnouvrier

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(NEW YORK) Over a decade after joining Allure, the mag’s current fashion director, Siobhan Bonnouvrier, has carved out the supersuccessful beauty glossy’s style-centric angle, learned aplenty from the title’s founding editrix Linda Wells and longtime creative director Paul Cavaco (more on them here), and, at long last, pared down her own beauty loot collection. Teach us your tricks, Siobhan...

How has your job evolved since you started at Allure a decade ago?
I came initially to cover market when someone was on maternity leave. When that person came back, I switched over to doing sittings; that’s where I got my training. Then, I slowly took on more and more responsibility as the years passed.

How does your gig as fashion director differ from when you were formerly style director at the mag? 
It’s really about taking on different responsibility and overseeing the department. It’s more reaching out to designers and featuring them in profiles. I definitely go on more market appointments. Between all of that and my shoots, it’s a full plate! All in all, our department has around 10 people.

How does fashion fit into the narrative of a beauty magazine?
We meld beauty and fashion together, actually: they are one in the same. Women looking for great hair color also pay attention to what bag they’re buying and what shoes they wear. We’ve tried to present beauty in more of a context—as a means of showing an environment and a woman’s lifestyle. Fashion really helps tell this story, and Allure has made a bit of a move from studio-shot pieces to an environment that shows a lifestyle. We’ve been paying more attention to highlighting personal style, too, which I think has garnered some attention.

Is beauty paramount to every story in Allure, including the fashion pieces?
It’s definitely something I pay attention to, no matter what I am shooting. I really try to think out hair and makeup for every fashion story—they’re very time intensive!

In the past 10 years, you’ve worked quite closely with Allure EIC Linda Wells and creative director Paul Cavaco. Rapport report, s’il vous plait!
I feel so fortunate to be somewhere where I genuinely like the people I work with. It definitely breeds a lot of confidence, trust, and creativity. I’ve learned an amazing amount from both Linda and Paul: They are both so good at what they do. I almost feel like I have both Linda and Paul sitting on my shoulders. I can sometimes hear their voices while I’m working [laughs].

What’s the best Linda-ism the editrix has imparted on you?
Her vision as an editor to stay on track, in terms of the point of anything we’re working on. Linda always remembers the point of the shoot, which is very helpful! It can actually be very difficult to not take a left turn in the process.

Do you ever hang out with Linda or Paul outside the office?
Linda and I spend a lot of quality time together in Europe so that’s its own experience! Paul and I like to go to lunch. We love Japanese—we hit up Haru sometimes. There’s another place around the corner from Conde Nast on 44th Street that we often go to as well.

What’s your relationship like with beauty products—are you a minimalist at this point?
Yes, I am. I’ve turned the corner. I used to have bags of products; my bathroom and closets would be overflowing with beauty stuff that I thought I’d try at at some point. Now I only keep purely what I love and actually use!

How insane is your NYFW grind, compared to eds at fashion titles?
It’s pretty chaotic, but I think everyone’s in the same boat. It’s a mad dash, running back and forth to shows and the office. It’s never a dull moment…

Do you love or loathe traveling for fashion shoots?
Every shoot is really its own movie—I tend to really like trips, which happen seasonally. My favorite shoots have been such adventures. Anything can happen. Paul is the complete opposite: he hates traveling for shoots!

It is exhausting! A lot of people who don’t do shoots assume that I’m going on vacation when I shoot. It’s funny, because I am actually going straight to a meeting or the set right away when I land. It’s far from not stressful. I’ve done a lot of shoots at spas, which is very ironic. Everyone else in the place has cucumbers on their eyes, and I’m running around drenched in sweat.

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