With her singular beauty vision, the makeup artist Lucia Pica is bringing a cool new attitude to Chanel.
Lucia Pica’s big love of color should hardly set alarm bells ringing. And yet it has. Literally. At London’s Tate Modern. It’s a Saturday afternoon, and in her attempt to really inspect the brushstrokes and exacting undertones of a Sonia Delaunay masterpiece, Chanel’s new global creative makeup and color designer has accidentally tripped the security borders, and the alarm is now reverberating across the busy exhibition hall. Mortified, the Italian makeup artist slides away from the scene until she safely turns a corner, whereupon she bursts into a fit of can-you-actually-believe-I-did-that giggles.
Bold pops of color are her thing, and Pica—who will be responsible for conceptualizing and developing Chanel’s cosmetics—represents something of a brave move for the French luxury house. She thinks nothing of applying glossy acid orange to lips, dusting lids in canary yellow ombréd-out to sooty black, or artistically painting a single stroke of Wite-Out white just below brows with the style of an Abstract Expressionist. But that’s not all she can do; Pica can just as skillfully turn her hand to a natural no-makeup makeup look. It’s a versatility honed on set with photographers Mario Testino, Mikael Jansson, Alasdair McLellan, and Willy Vanderperre, and backstage at shows like Roksanda and Peter Pilotto. She’s also behind Chanel’s beauty campaigns, making up the faces of Keira Knightley and the model Sigrid Agren.
At lunch at Brawn, one of her favorite local restaurants, not far from her home in neighboring Dalston, East London, she’s wearing vintage black Levi’s 615s paired with a chic white turtleneck. Her oversize stone-colored trench from Armani menswear is jauntily accessorized with Margaret Howell’s foldaway trilby and—what else?—Chanel’s classic monochrome ballet flats and 2.55 bag. “I’m really into black and white at the moment,” she says, smiling and sipping an Americano. “I’ve been Chanelified.
“Coco Chanel was such a punk in the way that she approached style and feminism,” Pica continues. “She gave power to women, made it about how we wanted to look and not about dressing to please others. She pioneered that, and it couldn’t have been easy.” The heavy-fringed brunette pauses before adding, “Yes—I’m reading a lot of her biographies. . . . ”
Pica, who grew up in Naples, was always interested in makeup but didn’t consider it as a career until much later. She moved at 22 to London, where she waitressed, working the night shift at Soho’s lively Cafe Boheme. After completing a brief makeup course, she did a stint at Shu Uemura’s counter and assisted a roll call of legendary female makeup artists, including Charlotte Tilbury.
“I knew she would be a star,” says Tilbury. “She’s got creative vision and really knows her art, film, and fashion references. It’s been great to see her develop her own makeup style over the years, which has a fresh, cool edge to it.” Plus, she adds, “I love her naughty sense of humor!”
Though Pica’s first full collection for Chanel won’t launch until late 2016, she is already clear on one thing: “I want the lineup to be modern and very straightforward. I want it to be super now, precise, and strong.” In preparation, she has been spending her time creating mood boards, gathering visuals that inspire her. Her references are broad: Art Deco postcards, images of Brutalist architecture, a snap of an edgy young girl spotted in an L.A. nightclub, a series of Polaroids of single-stem flowers pulled from the vast congratulatory bouquets she received when news broke of her appointment, and a handwritten note from an ex-boyfriend. When we duck into the florist Grace & Thorn on Hackney Road, a spriggy purple shamrock—otherwise known as a love plant—catches her eye. “Everything translates to a palette or a lipstick,” she says. “Whatever I look at, I see makeup.”
Fashion Editor: Sara Moonves
Hair: Holli Smith; Makeup: Lucia Pica for Chanel
The post Meet the Makeup Artist Whose Bold New Vision Is Shaking Up Chanel appeared first on Vogue.
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