Jill Kargman Talks Favorite Chanel Products, Style Evolution

·3 min read

From “Snow White” to “Sicilian Widow,” Jill Kargman has heard it all.

The author, actress and writer has a signature look — raven black hair and alabaster skin, set off with red accents on lips and nails — that’s as distinctive as her body of work. “My mom’s description is ‘Sicilian Widow,’ just because I love black and generally, I wear black. I have a fear of color,” laughed Kargman.

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Kargman’s taste extends to her work as well. She showcased her aesthetic in “Odd Mom Out,” the scripted Bravo series she created and starred in that satirized parents in New York’s upper echelons that was based off of her book, “Momzillas.”

During the pandemic, she took to Instagram to showcase satirical imaginary characters like “Dzanielle,” an Upper East Side mother during lockdown, and “Viktorija,” a fictional childhood friend of Melania Trump.

She also cinched a gig on sister-in-law Drew Barrymore’s talk show, where she wore achromatic ensembles with scarlet lips to interview passersby and learn how to make pizza from scratch.

Though Kargman’s style has been decades in the making, it was in her teenage years that she learned to become comfortable with her pallor. Two bouts with melanoma, the first when she was in eighth grade, meant she had to stay permanently out of the sun. That was when she embraced the ethos. “I decided to give up on looking like everyone else, and just leaned into the cadaver-chic thing,” she said.

Maintaining her complexion requires diligence, including regular facials from Georgia Louise and an array of skin care products. “I also do my own alchemy at home,” she said. “My dad [Arie Kopelman, former president of Chanel] used to work at Chanel, and I’m loyal to certain Chanel things, like Blanc de Chanel, which I use as a pore-blurrer. I also use an Anna Sui white powder.”

For her hair, Kargman swears by Philip Kingsley’s Flaky Scalp Cleansing Shampoo, and she sees her lips and nails as her canvas for experimentation, oscillating between reds and dark pinks. No polish, though — only CND Shellac (“it doesn’t ruin my nailbeds,” she said.)

She isn’t inclined to try much else. “I try to stay pale, I have dyed my hair black,” she said. “Once you decide that that’s it, you don’t take many risks.”

As distinct as her sartorial sensibilities are, it’s only one piece of Kargman’s aesthetic vision. Her home on the Upper East Side is decorated with skulls and skeletons, and she’s always had an affinity toward the macabre.

“My dad always talked about death, my family is super morbid.…I wrote a book about it called ‘Sprinkle Glitter on My Grave,'” Kargman said. “Halloween is my Christmas, and that manifests in my clothes, my house and whatever I put on my face. It all coalesces.”

Kargman’s embrace of the morbid hasn’t just lent itself to her style, but to new nicknames, too. “Someone just called me their Goth fairy godmother, and I was very honored. That’s kind of fabulous.”

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