Beauty queen – Glass speaks to Lucia Pica, Global Creative Makeup and Colour Designer Chanel Beauty


 Glass talks to Lucia Pica Global Creative Makeup and Colour Designer for Chanel and finds out about what inspires and motivates her

Warm and unassuming, the Naples-born, London-trained Lucia Pica has one of the biggest and, perhaps, the best job in beauty – as Global Creative Makeup and Colour Designer for Chanel. Known for her brilliant understanding and use of colour, Pica was appointed to the role at the end 2014 and with her first collection for the brand, Le Rouge Collection N°1, released in 2016, was a vibrant exultant celebration of Coco Chanel’s iconic reds, and a powerful start.

Pica’s Mediterranean background has a great influence on her use and choice of colour too and her more subtle colour palette beguile as well. She also takes her inspiration from unique individualistic women with their own sense of style such as the actors Monica Vitti, Anna Magnani and the 1970s Italian singer Patty Pravo, “women with character” she tells Glass.

Lucia Pica Chanel Beauty DirectorLucia Picia, Global Creative Makeup and Colour Designer Chanel Beauty

How did you start out as a make-up artist?
London was the beginning of everything for me when it comes to make up as I hadn’t done anything with make up before in Italy, but I had a passion for creating things, fashion and make up in general. I visited London a few times. I really loved it and I kept going back. And then I decided to stay there for a bit. A friend who lived here said, “Lucia, you really should do a make-up course. I think you’d be good at it. You really do your make up so well.”

And so I went to the Greasepaint School of Make Up. Then after that I started to do work experience and working in make-up shops. I then assisted with fashion editorials. Eventually I started working with Charlotte Tilbury. And so I became a first assistant, and after that I started doing my own thing. That was quite an in-depth experience really, an amazing foundation.

How does your Mediterranean background influence your work?
I guess I’m quite determined. I don’t know; it’s very much an aesthetic. Growing up with beauty around you informs the way you look at things.

Who, or what, are your beauty inspirations?
I’m really interested in women with character – strong personalities and not necessarily somebody who conforms but has something that is particular about them. I like actresses like Anna Magnani, Monica Vitti and all these really powerful women with a strong point of view. There’s something different about them and they’re not afraid of pushing forward their personality. I like it when women own and show themselves, and embrace themselves in all their singularity.

Chanel PALETTE ESSENTIELLE Eclat SolaireChanel Palette Essentielle in Eclat Solaire

Which beauty product or piece of make up is essential to you, that you can’t live without?
My Palette Essentielle. It’s the palette with the concealer, the liquid cheek colour and the highlighter. I never go anywhere without that. If there’s a quick need to touch up your skin to get fresh skin – it’s just great for that. Throughout the day, make up comes off, and you want to add some colour, or some highlighter, but in a soft way, and concealer when needed. Especially for me, as I’m always, always wearing lipstick.

What is your favourite Chanel product?
Lipstick? Palette Essentielle? … probably lipstick.

Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Extreme IdealChanel lipstick in Idéale

Would that be a red lipstick?
The favourite one from this collection is called Idéale. It’s so good; so bright and matte. I love the Rouge Allure as well, but this one, the packaging is different as well – it’s shiny and black, but the bullet is red and matte. There’s this contrast between shine and matte, and in black – I felt that it was really really cool.


Apotheosis Le Mat Chanel in Les 4 Ombres 308 Clair-Obscur

Can you tell me something about the process of developing the Apotheosis Le Mat Chanel collection? How did it come about? What inspired you to create it?
I really love matte textures. I wanted to create a collection about it and to use this texture in different novel ways.

When you think of matte, sometimes it makes you think of the 1980s, when everything available was heavy, chalky, powdery, and dry. I wanted to make sure I worked on it, to create something that was more modern, lightweight and flattering. The eyeshadow palette is matte, but it’s very transparent, velvety and luminous at the same time. It’s not shimmery – the texture is, after all, matte – but there’s a luminosity to it. It’s very blendable and easy to use. I think about women and how I can transfer my technique to work for women to use in everyday life. I want them to get a bold, strong look with the simplicity of application that a texture can give you.

Chanel Beauty is all about the quality and looking at every little detail. I’ve been working on this collection for a long time and I’m looking at every detail, colour and texture to ensure that I want to wear the products and that I want all women to wear as well.

What challenges have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?
I’ve been really lucky – I’ve met really lovely people throughout my career. But I think it’s important, for a moment, to not let yourself down. There are so many people involved [on a project] and things can get a little bit hard, but nothing is really personal and everyone is just trying to get things done.

What are the high points, so far, in your career? What is your favourite part of your job?
Being creative director of Chanel is awesome, but it’s never an assured thing. I never see it as like, “Oh ok, I’ve arrived”. I’m really happy with what I’m doing right now but it’s always been from the beginning about the next step. And then the next step will come, and you embrace that. You’re never too sure of it because there’s always something to learn. That’s my philosophy with things. I know that I’m professional and I know what I’m doing, but there’s always time to learn.

 Is that your favourite part of your job?
I’m always trying to put myself in new situations which bring something new and fresh. My travels really help me with that. When I’m creating my collections in the studio and I’ve returned with this photograph, there’s so much excitement about it. And sharing that with everyone is very special. I’m so honoured to have the opportunity to put my vision forward like that. It shows how much Chanel is a supporter of creativity.

Could you share with Glass your beauty philosophy?
Be yourself.

by Caroline Simpson