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Lady in red: Lucia Pica on her Chanel makeup collection

Chanel's creative makeup director tells us about working with Kristen Stewart, creating the perfect red and how to do your makeup in a flash

By Virginie Dolata | Published: 25 Aug 2016

Lucia Pica's Chanel
Photo: Matt Jones/Walter Schupfer

Finding someone to follow up its five-year collaboration with renowned makeup artist Peter Philips was always going to be a monumental task for the makeup brains at Chanel. They needed nothing less than a reinvention of their colours and collection, while always keeping in mind the brand's DNA. In London-based Italian Lucia Pica, they got exactly what they needed.

We meet her in LA in the '50s styled diner of the Pink Motel (actually a movie set), and take a seat on the diner's red banquettes, the perfect place to discuss the queen of colour's path to creating her debut collection, Chanel Le Rouge.

Top row: Chanel Joues Contraste Blush in Rouge Profond, RM150; Chanel Illusion d'Ombre eyeshadow in Rouge Brûlé, RM128; Chanel Le Crayon Lèvres lipliner in Seduction, RM81; Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof eyeliner in Eros, RM92.
Bottom row: Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in Rouge Vie, RM115; Chanel Les 4 Ombres eyeshadow in Candeur et Expérience, RM215.

STARTING OUT I did a course at Greasepaint Makeup Academy in London before I began assisting. I knew this was the best way to develop and to gain experience in the industry. I was offered the opportunity to work with makeup artists such as Charlotte Tilbury. That is how it all started.

CHANEL HAS ENABLED ME to discover so many things, both creatively and practically. It's an incredible opportunity. It involves such a broad range of activities. The course of a collection follows in a very particular process. I think about an idea, I research and I work with the studio. The reference for a colour can come from anywhere; the same goes for textures. I'm working on moodboards, discussing ideas. And I'm presenting everything internally and externally, to the press. I also work on all the makeup and beauty campaigns, and shooting editorial with Chanel faces, such as Kristen Stewart.

THE CHANEL WOMAN IS sophisticated, forward thinking, intelligent, powerful and knows what she wants. She's not a woman to be told what to do or think. It's all about her personality. Not only the way she looks. Coco Chanel is this woman, my first inspiration probably. She was kind of a punk! And I think about Catherine Deneuve, Loulou de la Falaise… all of them are "la bellezza canonica" for me.

THE INSPIRATION FOR THE AW16 COLLECTION was born from my obsession with the colour red and what it symbolises. I wanted to express this in a very personal way by creating a book of photographs and a video, a sort of scrapbook of things I love and that represent this concept. It is an inward journey. A study of an obsession!

KRISTEN STEWART AND I first worked together on a Chanel makeup campaign in LA last August. It was a lot of fun. She is lovely, and she takes makeup so well.

MY BEAUTY PHILOSOPHY is about embracing who you are, and enhancing what is there. I want to use makeup to reflect a character, not create a disguise. There is strength in imperfection; there are nuances in someone or something being not too perfect. I believe in happy accidents and spontaneity in life. It is okay if an eye shadow moves or eyeliner moves.

THE TRICK TO DOING GREAT MAKE-UP IN A FLASH is concentrating on the essentials, accentuating your best features and having products that you can use in creative ways, like dabbing off excess colour on your lips with your finger and using it as a cream blush to create a healthy flush on the skin. Do not focus too much on a perfect finish!

THE WORST MAKEUP FAUX PAS is covering more than needs to be.

MY FAVOURITE MAKE-UP FOR DAY is simple. Mascara and a sweep of lipstick. I finish by dabbing a little bit of the lip colour on my cheeks for a fresh finish. A strong lip colour can feel fresh during the day if the rest has been kept naturally glowing, minimal but groomed.

Read the full interview in the September 2016 issue of ELLE Malaysia; download the digital edition here.


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