Beauty and Brains
Meet Chanel's new dermatologist—who's also a psychiatrist.
Amy Wechsler, 42, carries the distinction of working not only as a Fifth Avenue dermatologist but as a psychiatrist as well—one of just two doctors in the U.S. who is board certified in both disciplines. “Skin’s connection to the brain has always been fascinating to me,” Wechsler says. This month, she adds Chanel consulting dermatologist to her crowded résumé.
“When I met with the scientists at Chanel, they weren’t just thinking about chemical compositions—they were also studying psychological experiences with their products and using different psychological parameters in their thinking,” says Wechsler.
The Chanel-Wechsler romance is, in fact, a five-year courtship that is still evolving. “We call it working in ‘Chanel time,’ ” says Christine Dagousset, the brand’s executive vice president of fragrance and beauty. “We’d met with her, we read her book [Wechsler’s 2008 The Mind-Beauty Connection], we loved her philosophy, and eventually we decided it was a good time to get her inside.” Wechsler will serve as a liaison to the Chanel lab coats, weighing in on everything from formulation tweaking to final testing.
Like many a big-name doctor, Wechsler had toyed with the idea of creating her own line, though one thing always held her back: “I didn’t want to quit my day job,” she says. “But to be able to say to Chanel, ‘Try this ingredient! Try that ingredient!’—no one gets to do that!” Starting early this year, Wechsler’s practice will offer new treatments centered around various Chanel skincare launches. First up: a supernourishing process highlighting Hydra Beauty, a new moisturizing line that draws on the protective and hydrating abilities of the camellia flower, Chanel’s botanical mascot.
In the meantime, the New York native is immersing herself in other aspects of the brand, filling out her closet with a few bouclé jackets (she already owned a 2.55 bag, a wallet, and a J12 watch). “I’ve been taking French lessons for five months, too,” she says. “I want to embrace all of it. My new favorite word is jojo, which is slang for ‘cool.’ ”