5 Minutes With…Simone Otis, Joe Fresh beauty director

Scan the streets of New York for the city’s most stylish (and even the editors at Stylesight’s office in the Big Apple) and you’ll notice they all seem to have one thing in common: they’re wearing Joe Fresh. Yes, we’re talking about the Canadian fashion and beauty retail success, founded by Joe Mimran, creative director, who also started a little brand called Club Monaco back in the mid 1980s. No big deal.

Since Joe Fresh opened its first New York store in Fall 2011 (510 5th Ave.) the brand has grown exponentially thanks to its cheap-yet-chic clothing, accessories and especially beauty. With two stores on 5th Avenue, one in Southampton and a new Soho store slated to open this Fall—it’s clear that Joe Fresh isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

We chat with Simone Otis, beauty director at Joe Fresh about the secret to succeeding in one of the world’s most competitive style markets, her favorite looks at F/W 13 and what is inspiring the Joe Fresh beauty collection for S/S 14.

Stylesight: What were your favorite beauty looks on Fall 2013 runways?
Simone Otis: “There were so many great looks, it’s hard for me to choose. The bronze-y purple eye at Max Mara and Gucci, the dramatic lace look that Chanel’s Peter Philips created, the multi-glitter at Thakoon—all of it was so inspiring. I especially loved the use of color this season on some of the classics—the silver winged cat-eye at Dior. The cat-eye is one of my favorites it’s totally timeless. At Dior, it was sexy without being overt, a subtle play on a the look. At Joe Fresh, I try to create makeup that’s for the urban sophisticate. I always look to the shows for inspiration and to try to take that creative energy and create colors and products for women to use everyday.”

SS: Music, fabrics, art, icons: which of these are inspiring you for the S/S 14 season?
SO: “Beauty is having a bit of a kapow moment, designers and artists are creating new looks and changing the landscape. Joe (Mimran) always says that inspiration comes from the sky, you just sort of reach out and grab it. I agree, but I always ask myself, ‘What do women want right now? What are they missing?’ Esteé Lauder’s Spring 2013 campaign with Hilary Rhoda was really inspiring. It reminded me of Lauren Hutton and Margaux Hemingway: gorgeous, larger-than-life women, athletic, with peachy lips and a healthy glow. The kind of muses that make any woman say ‘Wow’ I want to be just like her—summering somewhere in the Riviera Maya or St. Barts with my kids. Toned and tanned models in the summer issues of Harper’s Bazaar in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, icons like Veruschka … it’s the muse, that really impacts me. For S/S 14 I’m working on colors and formulas that create that modern goddess glow.”

The Season: Just Peachy from Joe Fresh on Vimeo.

SS: Your motto that has set you on a path to success?
SO: “It may sound a bit cheesy but before I have a big shoot or if there’s a big project coming up—really, I do this everyday—I just speak it into being. ‘Today is going to be a great day,” I say to myself. Putting that positive energy out there before the job has even started keeps me in the right state of mind. Whatever I’m doing and wherever I’m working in the world, whether it’s in New York or in Toronto, I give it my very best and make it the best it can possibly be.”

SS: Good luck charm (item, person or pet)?
SO: “I usually wear my mother’s wedding ring and keys that I found that belonged to my grandmother in Finland on a chain. I wouldn’t say they’re good luck charms per se but I do like having them with me. It reminds me of them and where I’ve come from.”

SS: Product you’d never live without?
SO: “SPF. I really never leave the house without it. It’s so important. DCL, Obagi and Yonka are great ones. The other parents must think I’m nuts but I put the best SPF creams on my daughter and send her to school. She even has her own mini Yonka bottle in her backpack!”

— Glynnis Mapp, Stylesight Beauty Editor

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