Catherine Deneuve’s Daughter, Chiara Mastroianni, Follows in Her Mother’s Fragrant Footsteps for Fendi
Chiara Mastroianni, the daughter of iconic film stars Catherine Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni, had an idyllic childhood—one filled with “mini yellow boxes” from the house of Fendi, and picturesque Italian film sets. (We imagine if Chiara were to receive a package today, it would contain one of the coveted micro bags from the Spring 2015 runway.) “You know when you lose a tooth and they say the fairy is going to bring something? It would be a little purse, or they would send me a tiny little key chain, something like that—it was a really nice way to give a little thought,” she said of the special deliveries. “But I haven’t been wearing Fendi bags since I was 7 years old; that’s not the idea at all!” Following in her parents’ footsteps, Chiara has gone on to become a successful actor in her own right, and like her mother, who fronted Chanel No. 5, she is the face of Fendi’s latest fragrance: L’Acquarossa eau de toilette (a sparkling blend of Sicilian mandarin and Calabrian bergamot inspired by a morning stroll through Rome). Style.com sat down with the French beauty to discuss everything, from her first (almost) movie appearance to Deneuve’s practical beauty advice. And as for those yellow boxes, they naturally increased in size as Chiara grew up. “The relationship between my mother and [Fendi] is like family,” she said. It appears the bond is still going strong.
It seems that fronting fragrance campaigns is somewhat of a family legacy. What did your mother teach you about perfume?
Well, my mother has always been this very sensual person. Everyone has this cold image of her, but she is so different from that. She cooks, she is crazy about plants, and when we shoot films, she arrives in the morning full of cuts after what she’s done in the garden! She has always been very open to smells. And the fact that she was often away when I was a kid—I would keep a little bit of her perfume on a tissue, because when you miss your parents at least you have the smell. But my mother—and my father the same—never spoke about their careers, and she never said to me, “Oh, I’m doing Chanel No. 5,” but perfume is always something that was part of our lives in the sense that she loved it.… My father was such a big smoker, but I remember the smell of him very well: the [scent] of soap and tobacco—all of that, it’s like a perfume.
Do your children also keep a tissue spritzed with perfume when you’re traveling?
My daughter does. And sometimes she doesn’t care, but I do it because it makes me feel less guilty if I have to go away. I say, “I left a little sample if you need it.”
What was it like to grow up with such an iconic mother?
The only time—when I was a child, at least—that I was proud of her because of her career was when she was invited to participate in The Muppet Show. She went to New York and she came back with a picture of herself with Miss Piggy, and to me that was exciting! I was young; I had not seen any of her films; I had no idea of the career she had—the only thing I knew was that my mother was always away. So I would have a bit of her perfume in the house and then she came back with this famous Muppet Show picture.
You spent a lot of time on set as a child and were even cast alongside your father in a Fellini film. Tell me about that.
So I was 6—I think 6. I went to Cinecittà, where my father was working on a film by Fellini called City of Women. And in City of Women the art direction was amazing, because they built a whole roller coaster! When you’re a child, everything seems bigger than reality, but in this case it was really big. So I was very much impressed with the set. And to me, Fellini was just a friend of my dad’s—I had no idea the movies he’d done and what he represented; it was only later that I discovered his films…But what was really nice were all the people working around my dad. I remember I had Barbie dolls, which my dad would buy me against the will of my mother. That’s the beauty of divorced parents! I brought them to the costume lady, who made me this handcrafted outfit—it was wonderful. And then at some point Fellini, who was not very interested in children, must have thought, Chiara must be bored; maybe we should ask her to do a little cameo.
There was this fake train with two workers behind the windows rolling a fake landscape, and there was a group of kids in that specific scene that were supposed to do bad faces to my dad. And Fellini was very much like, “You cannot speak bad to your father,” and this and that. And he said, “Marcello, you get out, and I will sit down in your place, since the frame is on the kids, because I don’t want Chiara to disrespect you by making bad faces.” You know, it was a whole big fuss when, in the end, my father would not have minded. Anyway, so, I was part of this little group that was making these nasty faces.
City of Women is not a movie you show to kids, but I was only 6 then, so I never knew what happened after [we filmed]. Then one day the movie was showing on television in France when I was about 13. And out of pure vanity—because my father was never someone who was saying, “Look at my films”; he was never like that at all—I remembered I did a little cameo in that film and decided to watch it. Obviously, I didn’t find myself, and I realized they had cut me!
That must have been devastating at 13!
Actually, I thought, You see, you want to be an actress and that is a very good way to start. Even now, after all the films I’ve done, you never know until the film is on the screen if you’re still in it or not. Or what is kept and what’s not. It’s a good lesson in humility.
It’s interesting that your mother didn’t like the idea of Barbie. So what did she teach you about beauty?
My mother was dreaming for me to plant potatoes and things like that. And for her, beauty was something that was very heavy on her. I’m not telling you any secret, because she’s said it herself. She was very [confused] when she was a little girl and people would say, “Oh, you’re beautiful.” My mother is not someone who will talk much about beauty; for her, beauty is more about being curious and being open to others. But it’s easy when you’re a blondie like her! She has never been into the cult of you have to do this or that; it was more like, “You have to brush your teeth, and I’ll take you to put braces on.”
Yeah, not glamorous at all!
I heard that your mom let you wear makeup, but your father wasn’t a fan.
Do you know any fathers who like their daughter for the first time in makeup? I don’t.
Did you mother pass down any good tips or tricks that you incorporate into your own routine?
No, not when I was younger. Now she is really cute, because when she travels, she asks, “Do you need anything that I can find only in New York?” I give her references, because some of the brands we can’t find in France.
The beauty grass is always greener on the other side. Americans seem to go nuts in French pharmacies—or at least I do. What does she bring you back from the States?
Anastasia products for eyebrows.
What’s the best beauty advice she ever gave you?
The one thing she was always very straight and direct about—oh, it’s going to sound so down-to-earth—but she would always say, “Clean your face; never go to sleep with [makeup on].” … But for me, makeup is something that is so much linked to work that in everyday life I don’t wear any. I put makeup on when I work, so it’s part of the job.
I imagine your mom probably felt the same way.
Yes, because she is beautiful without makeup.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
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Chiara Mastroianni, the daughter of iconic film stars Catherine Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni, had an idyllic childhood—one filled with “mini yellow boxes” from the house of Fendi, and picturesque Italian film sets. (We imagine if Chiara were to receive a package today, it would contain one of the coveted micro bags from the Spring 2015 […]Read More >>