Thursday, October 16, 2008

VOGUE: Reese Witherspoon - Revealed

Reese Witherspoon is Vogue magazine's November 2008 feature story. Elegant, lively, and with new romance happiness, shown here in the City of Light, Reese lives out a fashion fantasy. Photographed by Mario Testino and story by Robert Sullivan, here's more than a glimpse into this fresh-faced actress.

Cut to Paris—not just any Paris but the very center, the Place de la Concorde, where Reese Witherspoon is the American of note, or at least the best-dressed American in the vast statue- and fountain-filled square. It's the day after Bastille Day, and the city is winding down from its national celebration under a blue summer sky. A small flock of tourists and the lunchtime rush of mopeds and miniature Mercedes-Benzes pass beneath the lingering lazy red, white, and blue flags. Now slowly zoom in on the Hôtel de Crillon's Marie Antoinette suite—where the queen took piano lessons until she lost her head out in the square—ornamented with beautiful tapestries and Corinthian columns. Then pan left to take in the view: the Tuileries garden, the Eiffel Tower, and, beyond the River Seine, the Palais Bourbon—an iconic vista that Reese Witherspoon slips into perfectly, first in a Nina Ricci dress that seems designed for her because it was, and then in a bustier-based Alexander McQueen concoction that makes her look like a queen. Not a let-them-eat-cake kind of queen. Quite the opposite. Reese is obsessed with the women (and men) on the Paris street, observing them as if they were the film stars. "People are so chic here!" she had said the previous day, sitting at a café before taking a stroll. "Everyone has so much personal style, I want to take pictures!"

These days, Reese's own star is in alignment, in part because of her range as an actress. After last year's thriller Rendition, she's returned to romantic comedy in Four Christmases, costarring with Vince Vaughn in a role that reminds us that Reese Witherspoon is the kind of star we like to think of as being just like us: hardworking, from a small town, with a young family, a star who considers herself lucky to be a star, as we'd like to think we would—even though, believe it or not, it's a lot of work being a star. But will she maintain her trademark humble grace even here, in Paris, striking a pose of extreme elegance, as if the idea of fashion had been dreamed up with her in mind?

The answer: yes. When she pauses for a moment to look behind her, she mentally gulps. "I'd never been to the Crillon," she says shortly afterward, "and the view is just so striking. Every once in a while you're hit with moments when you think, Really? This is my life? How lucky am I?"

Vaughn says he discovered early on how easy his costar was to work with, despite what you may have read in the tabloids about their incompatibility. "She was great," he says. "She's just a great actor and can do a variety of things and do them well, whether it was physical comedy or more character-driven comedy or more dramatic stuff—she's just a very talented actress." He adds, "She's extremely in touch with herself. I don't really think there's anything she can't do."

Her work for the Children's Defense Fund and, more recently, for Avon—she is the first-ever Avon Global Ambassador—concerns women's rights, as she sees it. In the case of Avon, she's supporting an entrepreneurial version of micro-loans for women building financial networks around the globe—"whether it's a woman in Texas getting a college education because she got the money to cover a baby-sitter while she goes to school," she says, "or a woman in a village in Africa who has surpassed all expectations by creating a little network of salespeople within her community. The more work I've done with children around the world, the more I realize the way to help them is by empowering women, creating financial opportunities, and that's something Avon is very dedicated to."

In the meantime, a romantic comedy about the children of divorce appeals to her for other reasons, related to her own life: She recently finalized her divorce from Ryan Phillippe, whom she met during the filming of Cruel Intentions in 1999. "There are so many dynamics that people deal with all the time, and you don't really see it in movies very much," Reese says. "You don't see the blended-family Christmas very much. And it really is a complication in a lot of people's lives now. How do you see your mother and your father and not hurt anyone's feelings? You know, I didn't grow up like that. I mean, my parents are still married, and my grandparents stayed married, but it's a situation my own children will have to deal with, so it was of interest to me."

Romantic comedy suits her fine at the moment, generally speaking, from the vantage point of a single working mom—or a single-at-the-moment mom. And when she talks about why, you start to hear the part of Reese Witherspoon that her fans identify with, the Reese who understands that life isn't just about standing in the Hôtel de Crillon. "I have to be honest with you," she says. "Comedy is what I want to see at the movies these days. Life is frickin' hard, man. I want to go to the movies and see people happy and enjoying themselves and having some fun. I've made other kinds of movies, for sure. But it's pretty apparent to me that's what people want. That's what I want. I enjoy those kinds of movies."

Reese with Olivier Theyskens in Paris

On a more recent trip to Paris, she stopped in at Rochas and met Olivier Theyskens, then its artistic director, who was about to be named head of Nina Ricci. Every Oscar winner knows that if you need perfect clothes before you win an Oscar, you need them even more so afterward—and she couldn't go through another vintage ordeal. Every newly named artistic director of a fashion house in Paris knows he needs a huge Hollywood actress. Thus a fashion match was made in Heaven—or in Paris, at least."When I met her at Rochas, it was not the right fit," Olivier says. "But when I started at Ricci, I had a strong feeling about her being a real Ricci girl, and I showed her some drawings and she was really willing. She has been very willing. She has been cool."

Along the Avenue Montaigne again, this time at Theyskens's atelier, where Reese is dressed in a bustier-like Nina Ricci dress that, aside from being sexy, is a work of art. The mirrors of Theyskens's office have become a spiraling prism of Reese Witherspoon in black, complemented by Olivier's long, raven-black hair. She is talking about dinner the night before, when her boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal (who dropped by during makeup), wrote cute remarks in the restaurant's guest book (something about French melons), which his girlfriend found charming, her smile now bubbling like champagne in a black crepe flute. "He wrote, 'Vive la France!' " she says, laughing. Ah, Paris and love!

Reese likes to talk about her kids, but she doesn't have to. People can tell how she feels. "The thing I really respect a lot about Reese is that she's a great mom," says Vince Vaughn. "She was just great with her kids when they came to the set. She'd make time for them, and you could tell by the way they acted that they were very comfortable and loving with her."

As far as the boyfriend goes, she doesn't like to talk about him so much, and it can make you feel a little tabloid about asking. She will tell you that she was with the guy she'd rather not blab about some weeks earlier—in Rome, speaking of beautiful cities—and that one night they went out to see the Trevi Fountain. It was late, it was beautiful, and she threw a coin in and made a wish. What did she wish for? Come on. Do you really think she's going to tell you that? "If I tell you," she says, "it won't come true."

~ excerpts from Vogue magazine, November 2008 (

Makeup Artist Linda Cantello wanted Reese's skin to give off a soft, peachy blush, so she opted for a cream blend with pink undertones mixed with a dab of sheer foundation to accomplish the barely-there healthy glow. She chose a sheer, champage cream shadow for eyes to render a subtle, shimmery finish and black mascara to define the eyes. Cantello used a clear, true red without too much blue or orange to give high-impact color while complementing Witherspoon's skin tone.

For the November 2008 cover, Vogue used products from Avon.
  • Avon Glazewear Diamonds Eye Color in Bronze Shimmer—$8
  • Avon Be Blushed cheek color in Powder Pink—$8
  • Avon Pro-to-Go lipstick in Party Rouge—$7.99

Vogue also recommends these products for a similar look:

  • Kevyn Aucoin Essential Eyeshadow single in Oro - $28, and Sonia Kashuk Eye Shadow Duo in Razzle Dazzle - $7.99
  • Kevyn Aucoin Bliss Creamy Moist Glow - $24, and Sonia Kashuk Crème Blush in Rosey - $8.99
  • Kevyn Aucoin Expert Lip Tint in Principessa - $23, and Sonia Kashuk Dual Ended Sheer Lip Color and Plumping Glossy Tint in Paradise - $11.99

For more of the story on Reese, the Vogue photo shoot, her video diary and more, visit Pick up the November issue of Vogue magazine for even more.



  1. The glorified picturs of Reese are beautiful!! Good work lady!

  2. I really, really love her. Thanks for the great post!


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