A Moment with… Azza Yousif

A fashion editor’s Parisian lifestyle

Acing your very own style takes a certain amount of risk, but for Vogue Hommes International’s fashion editor Azza Yousif, it’s a skill she cultivates every day. Lancôme meets the minimalism–loving Parisian, who loves nothing better than borrowing from the boys, in her cozy Paris apartment.

Profession: Fashion Editor at Vogue Hommes
Neighborhood: 4th Arrondissement

As a Parisienne at heart, have you adopted any typically Parisian habits?
I love my little neighborhood and the habits I have there. Paris is a very international city, but squeezed into a small space, it’s like a village when you compare it to similar cities. I always go to the same florist, to my favorite bakery, my favorite grocer and cheese shop.

Which places make you happy in Paris?
The Musée D’Orsay. I love to spend an afternoon there strolling amongst the eclectic works in the galleries and simply admiring the building’s large architectural walkways.
Musée d’Orsay, 1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris. Tel: + 33 1 40 49 48 14.

When you go away what do you miss most about Paris?
Its beauty. Driving alongside the river at night is just magical, I’ll never get tired of it.

Do you have a favorite people-watching spot?
I love pulling up a chair with a friend in the Jardin des Tuileries gardens on a fine day.

If you were to photograph a Parisienne, how would you portray her and her attitude?
She’d be very natural, at ease with her body… classic with a twist. Parisians never switch up their clothes much, they’re never into anything too flashy or too fashionable. As for her style philosophy? She won’t wear what doesn’t suit her. And Parisians always know how to reinterpret a fashion basic with complete subtlety.

Do you have a mental good luck charm?
I try to be excited about what the future has in store, all the while trying to stay in the moment, appreciate the present and live without regret.

Name three mood-boosting songs:
Big Fun by Inner City, Dancing Days by Led Zeppelin and The Time is Now by Moloko.

Name a life-affirming movie:
Pina by Wim Wenders. It’s an intense documentary celebrating great German choreographer Pina Bausch.

What gets you out of bed on difficult mornings?
Thinking “don’t panic.” There’s a solution to every problem, so everything’s going to be fine.

How do you let go?
There’s nothing better than swimming, it’s my go-to for staying in shape year round.

How do you beat the blues?
Dancing. Whether I’m at home and put on some loud music, or go out to a club with some friends, it’s essential.

Do you have a favorite energy-boosting breakfast?
I find it hard to start the day without a good cup of coffee. Then I love fresh fruit mixed with some wholegrain cereal and yogurt and honey.

What’s your favorite French dish?
Even though I don’t eat it very often, I love steak with homemade mashed potatoes. You don’t need to cook up a really complicated dish to enjoy a gourmet meal.

How do you envisage the typical Parisian?
For me she’s full of contradictions and that’s what gives her charm.

How do you feel Parisian?
I feel as if I know every last little corner of this city, I have so many childhood, teenage and adult memories of streets, cafés and apartments. And, the best is yet to come.

In what way is your beauty routine typically Parisian?
In that it’s important for me to have clean, healthy skin, without much fuss. My recipe is to always take ten minutes to take care of my skin with some makeup remover, a hydrating water spray, eye cream, day cream and a little mascara.

What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror?
Make the most of life because time goes by, thank the heavens because you’re blessed. Don’t get stressed!

How would describe female beauty?

A body reflects a beautiful spirit, with elegant movement, intentions and words. That’s more important than just esthetic beauty. Plus, it lasts a lifetime whereas physical beauty doesn’t.

What Parisian beauty habits do you consider simply perfect?
Parisiennes have a very unique and fast way of tying their hair into a bun in three quick moves. It’s not perfect but it always looks charming.

What’s your go-to, can’t-live-without product?
Lip balm, I have to have five or six on the go at home, just in case.

Have you made any recent beauty discoveries?
An Ayurvedic bath oil that strengthens and nourishes my hair.

Do you have any homemade beauty recipes?
I put a few slices of cucumber in the freezer and put them on my eyes on difficult mornings.

Do you have any beauty secrets?
Take time to enjoy life and concentrate on the positive and exhilarating side of life.

As fashion editor for Vogue Hommes, do you steal any style tricks from the men?
I find that looking good is in fact effortless. The more you try to look beautiful, handsome or well-dressed, paradoxically, the less attractive it looks.

Azza’s Paris address book

Where do you go for:

Tea or coffee?
Any café with a terrace or to the Castiglione near Place Vendôme, with its super comfortable booth seating, or tea at Carette on Place des Vosges, it’s a real little gem of a place with lots of sweet treats. In the evening I like to stop by Harry’s Bar to rub shoulders with the spirits of Hemingway and Sartre.
Le Castiglione Café, 235 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris. Tel: + 33 1 42 60 68 22.
Carette, 25 Place des Vosges, 75003, Paris. Tel: + 33 1 47 27 98 85.
Harry’s Bar, 5 Rue Daunou, 75002 Paris. Tel: + 33 1 42 61 71 14.

For lunch with friends?
To Le Verre Volé for its neighborhood bistro feel. Otherwise I love the crazily charming nouveau-bistro Au Passage, I always feel great there.
Le Verre Volé, 67 Rue de Lancry, 75010 Paris. Tel: + 33 1 48 03 17 34.
Au Passage, 1 bis Passage Saint-Sébastien, 75011 Paris. Tel: + 33 1 43 55 07 52.

For inspiring magazines?
colette. It’s always a good place to scan through and buy magazines, books or to listen to CDs.
colette, 213 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris. Tel: + 33 01 55 35 33 90.

For homewares? Saint-Ouen flea market. It’s a classic spot, but always good.
Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, 30 Avenue Gabriel Péri, 93400 Saint Ouen. Tel: +33 1 40 11 77 36.

Photos: Saskia Lawaks