Nicole Banning, Swimwear Designer

Having spent the last four years in Paris designing for Yves Saint Laurent, it’s not surprising that Nicole Banning, the designer behind luxe new swimwear brand, Ephemera, has that ‘effortlessly stylish’ look utterly perfected. When we heard that she was back on Australian shores, we just couldn’t resist the chance to profile her on Beauticate. On the eve of her brand’s NET-A-PORTER debut, Nicole chatted to us about nineties grunge, the art of restraint and all things beauté. 

Nicole wears Yves Saint Laurent top and Zara skirt.

Nicole wears Yves Saint Laurent top and Zara skirt.

I hate that really over ‘made up’ look      

And all that super bronzed fake tan.  When it comes to designing, the art of restraint has always been very much my sensibility, and the same goes for my approach to beauty. I don’t wear foundation. I’ll just give my eyes a little definition using Chanel mascara and liquid eyeliner, and then a bit of Chanel powder blush in orchid rose and sometimes a coat of Chanel lip gloss or lipstick.  I have two younger sisters who like to make themselves up a lot more when they go out and they always look beautiful, but it’s not for me. It’s quite funny actually, you would think that sisters would have the same approach to beauty but it’s not always the case.

Pretty much all of my make up is Chanel

Because my partner, Rémi, worked in the legal department at Chanel when we lived in Paris.  I especially love the Chanel nail colours; ‘Dragon’ is probably my favourite and the shade I wear most. I’ve always done my own nails and eyebrows. I’m really low-maintenance when it comes to that kind of stuff.  

Chanel cosmetics and vintage jewelry adorn Nicole’s antique marble-top dresser.

Chanel cosmetics and vintage jewelry adorn Nicole’s antique marble-top dresser.

Nicole’s favourite shade of Chanel nail polish in ‘Dragon’ red.

Nicole’s favourite shade of Chanel nail polish in ‘Dragon’ red.

I’ve had to change up my skincare... 

Since coming back to Australia because the climate is so different here compared to that in Paris. One of the reasons I moved back was because of the lack of sunshine over there. The weather affects my mood a lot and I need blue skies and sunshine.  Now that I’m back in Sydney I can’t put too many heavy creams on my skin or I will just breakout as my skin is prone to oiliness. The exception is Chanel’s Ultra Correction Line Repair Day Cream. I’ve just started to notice a few little age lines so this day cream it’s amazing for that. It might be a little bit heavy for the Australian climate, but I love it all the same.

I use Kiehl’s Supremely Gentle Eye Makeup Remover which is really great. I’m a big fan of Kiehl’s. Once a week I also use Himalaya Herbals Purifying Neem Scrub with anti-bacterial properties - my mum initially got me on it, and for a scrub it’s very gentle. 

I swear by coconut oil…

as an evening face and all over body moisturizer, that’s another thing my mum introduced me to.  A friend of mine recently told me about using coconut oil for oil pulling where you swish around a teaspoon of it in your mouth for twenty minutes once a day. It’s supposed to draw out all the impurities from your mouth.  My girlfriend’s teeth are really white but she said it was a few months before she saw the effects. It’s not easy to do, I tried it once but found it really hard and only lasted like five minutes before I gave up.  I didn’t have the patience for it.

Nicole wears vintage top from a thrift store in Paris.

Nicole wears vintage top from a thrift store in Paris.

I’ve been balayaging my hair

Nicole wears vintage top and Chanel pants.

Nicole wears vintage top and Chanel pants.

For quite some time, long before it actually became a trend I think. I always had that kind of look as a kid and was looking to replicate it in some way, so that’s where balayage came in for me.

My hair is naturally really curly so I use Aveda Be Curly shampoo and conditioner which keeps the dreaded frizz at bay. I’ve found my hair goes curlier here in Australia because the water’s lighter and I spend more time in salt water at the beach.  In Paris they’ve got this really hard water with a lot of lime scale, which makes my hair really flat and my skin really dry. It’s crazy how much the climate and water can affect your skin and hair like that.

Mum is a trained hairdresser so she was always a huge influence and educated me about hair growing up. She trained with famed hair stylist Vidal Sassoon back in the seventies at his Bond Street Salon in London. I remember she used to tell me all these cool stories like the time she was assisting the Vidal Sassoon creative director and worked with Paul and Linda McCartney on an album cover. 

I once died my hair green…

when I was 15. You know those Fudge colours? Well, it was one of those.  I was going through my grunge stage in the nineties so I was all about Doc Martins and my green hair.  Times have definitely changed a bit - the Doc Martens have since been replaced by vintage YSL and as you can see my hair is no longer green.

 A design for Nicole’s luxe swimwear label, Ephemera.

 A design for Nicole’s luxe swimwear label, Ephemera.

 

Interview by Madeleine Boyd, photography by Jake Terrey, hair by Paloma Rose Garcia, make up by Desiree Wise.