Words and Illustration by Neige @greenbeautydirectory
Photography by Emmanuel Cappellin
They are all standing still, diverse and multicoloured. This collection of little bottles, painted one by one over the last few months has turned out to be much bigger than I expected. As I'm watching it, the memory of another collection arises from the faraway lands of childhood. I am about 4 years old, and somehow I've become passionate about perfumes. A series of miniature bottles, not unlike the ones I'm staring at right now, stands on the shelf near my bed, and is often the last sight I take in before falling asleep. With time my passion for perfumes extends to "haute couture", the French tradition of handmade clothing and its incredible crafts allowing fashion to turn into art. For years my drawings are either sketches for a collection sent down an imaginary runway or portraits. I stay up at night to read and re-read the History of Fashion, and the idol of my 12 years old mind is none other than French designer Yves Saint Laurent. As I grow older, I realize that I am equally interested in the image-making process, whether it be still or moving images. But it is my fascination for flowers that leads to the purchase of my first reflex camera. While my pencil draws faces, for some time my lens only snaps portraits of flowers, before being finally pulled towards the human gaze.
And then creative dreams and reality collides when I take my first steps in the fashion industry, both in front and behind the camera. The next few years are a blur and shed me of my illusions. I'm left creatively empty, and move on to new horizons.
As I travel in faraway lands I open myself up to new realities, and little by little I start taking pictures again. I immerse myself in nature, trying to find there the antidote to the soulless bubble I left. I seem to find my way, but when the time comes to return home, I am faced with the judgments of an art world I can't relate to. So I put my camera down, but this time I stay. Instead of looking for new landscapes, I decide to begin the age-old journey of silence and stillness. At first, meditation feels both soothing and challenging. I spend entire meditations creating imaginary garments-collages-paintings-pictures, when I am not baking imaginary macarons or coming up with a revolutionary pasta recipe! But despite the hurdles, the brief moments of mental quietness make such a difference in my outlook on life and how I feel that I keep going. For a few years I go in and out of retreat, trying to weave together meditation and ordinary life.
One day, I come across an article about clean cosmetics. What could have been a silly, unimportant detail becomes a turning a point: I start tirelessly looking for more information, researching brands, investigating ingredients... As time goes by I only become more passionate. I seem to always have a few ingredients floating in the back of my mind (comfrey! gotu kola! marshmallow!) and spend hours comparing products in an attempt to understand their formulation. Somehow, thanks to these few lines written somewhere on the wide wide web, I have discovered something that weaves together and reconciliates most of my interests: beauty, creativity, healing, self-care, connection to nature, sustainability, female empowerment... Suddenly it seems that everything is falling into place, and ideas come up effortlessly. One evening I grab a pen and start drawing a beautiful little bottle filled with an elixir that has made me dream for years. Little do I know that this is the beginning of a whole new journey...