Alexandra Whitcombe is the creator and visionary spirit of Vendome Paris, a family-run enterprise that brings beauty to life through innovation. The daughter of a New York City model and a fine arts aficionado, her 1970’s childhood was a swirl of gallery openings, ballet shows, and high fashion glamour. She essentially grew up within the walls of iconic venues like the Velvet Underground and Studio 54. It was there that she found passion in the world to which she was born and belonged … modeling and ballet were her hobbies; fashion, art history and botanicals her fields of expertise.
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Vendome Paris is the product of Whitcombe’s background, her worldliness, and her scientific awareness. She personally sources materials from the highest-quality local vendors in Switzerland, France, and Italy to create a cosmetics line that is technologically engineered to make women look and feel BELLA.
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1. What’s the best thing about growing up in NYC?
I got to experience the tail end of the 1970s in NYC. I have memories of Studio 54 in its heyday, Double Day and Scribner bookstore on Fifth Avenue, Fiorucci on 59th Street, and roller discos. SoHo was gritty and artistic, and New York was a very, very interesting and exciting place filled with wild and artistic people. New York in the 1970s was my favorite era. It’s too homogeneous and “corporate, scrubbed-up, bland vanilla” now. There is an element of glamour that’s missing to all of the homogeneity.
2. Favorite NYC restaurant?
Le Charlot on 69th and Madison. I have always liked small, charming, and homey places that serve excellent food and where they know your name. Le Charlot hits every sweet spot for me.
3. Favorite neighborhood?
It depends on my mood. There are different moods to every neighborhood, but I have a very deep attachment to the Lincoln Center area.
4. The best part of my job is…
Conceptualizing the products and creating the formulations. There is nothing more exciting to me than visualizing something and then bringing it into reality and having it be amazing. The creative process is what I thrive on. I’m a bit of a mad scientist, so I am very dedicated to the recipe side of things. Cutting-edge science is key.
5. A visit to New York isn’t complete until…
You have a glass of champagne at the King Cole Lounge in the St. Regis, hit the shops on Madison for high fashion in a charming setting, and end the day at the Frick Museum gazing at timeless art.
6. Subways or cabs?
The subway – it’s a love-hate relationship.
7. Best advice you’ve ever received?
“Know when not to speak and never burn your bridges.” These two pieces of advice have served me very, very, very well.
8. Must-have beauty item?
Really anything from my line, Vendome Beaute. These days my favorite item is the Magic Wand: All Day Under Eye Plumping Pen. It’s infused with three formulations of all-day releasing hyaluronic acids (and other great ingredients!) for all-day plumping.
9. What’s your definition of beauty?
My definition is more European. A lot of my girlfriends are from Europe and have a very different concept of beauty, where they are uniquely and confidently themselves. They are unapologetic in who they are … I love that and can really relate.