Following her tenure as international creative director at Yves Saint Laurent - during which time she inspired and developed YSL's colour range and, most notably, the cult status Touche Éclat - Terry de Gunzburg decided to harness her vision, forming her eponymous brand in 1998.
After founding her signature beauty label, By Terry, the line quickly developed a reputation for quality and creativity. Adopting a customisable and personalised approach to beauty, the couturier cosmetologist that is de Gunzburg is astutely aware of the growing (and varying) demands and expectations of customers: "Even with couture now, sure you can have the black dress, but you can also have the black dress with feathers, with sequins, with crystals… there are always more options."
Her newly launched Palette Factory, a mix of beauty counter and lab located at Selfridges in London, speaks to that bespoke "more is more" ideal. Offering consumers the chance to create their own bespoke palettes, "it's an opportunity to get creative and mix pigments, but in a very scientific way - and with a very luxurious approach."
Heralded for her skin-friendly formulas and flattering range of colours, Terry de Gunzburg - who we're dubbing the modern-day Helena Rubinstein - remains ever the creative, boundary-pushing dreamer who is always on the hunt for the next big thing in beauty. "My role is to offer my clients things that even they don't know they are dreaming about."
What does the ByTerry client want?
Quality of pigment; the texture, the formulas and the combination of colours. The ByTerry customer is really attracted to is the luxury of the formulation and the fact that all our products are easy to apply. I have put my experience into all my products. For example, I know that for a photoshoot you have to mix about five different highlighters to create the right one. So I anticipate that and mix and match to make the formula just perfect in my highlighter and CC serum. What my customers like is that my products deliver what they promise.
Touche Éclat was an amazing achievement for you, and for YSL - what did it give you?
I'm very happy and proud that it is my trademark - my personal one. It set me up as being different in this industry; as being an innovator. When I started out, The Wall Street Journal named me "Steve Jobs of cosmetics". But what really interests me is the next step, what I still have to improve and to investigate.
What key pieces do you always take with you when you travel?
My Baume de Rose - in a pencil, a liquid and a colour version. My Lash-Expert Mascara - a lot of women own two mascaras and this combines the best of both with its retractable brush for length and volume, while also being very nourishing. My Light Expert because it's an XXL version of Touche Éclat and does absolutely everything - you can use it as foundation, concealer and highlighter. I also always carry my red lipstick - it's a colour I created for me and goes with every outfit.
Weighty beauty products in fancy packaging traditionally equates to luxury. But that's not so appealing to travellers…
I can't stand those heavy cases - objets de bouteille, jewel cases - they're so cumbersome. Instead, we do our casing in cardboard and have made it very chic.
Which country do you think is leading the way in terms of beauty innovation?
Korea for emulsions and also for packaging. My development scientists are working with a big lab over there - they use my ideas. but go there for manufacturing because they have technology in Korea that isn't available in Europe. Still, I have to say for powder and pigments, Italy is the best.
What are your beauty essentials?
An excellent moisturiser and a fresh, natural-looking complexion.
What is your makeup manifesto…
I am working for women. I am a makeup artist, devoted to women everywhere, everyday, every minute.