Violette, Makeup Artist

“I never assisted anyone—I just learned by myself how to do makeup. I think what helped me was that, first of all, my parents worked in the industry—my mom was a very famous hairdresser, Charlie, and my father was her agent, so I was always with Paolo Roversi, Peter Lindbergh, Sarah Moon, all these great photographers growing up. But I went to school for painting. Something was missing in painting; it’s not alive and I needed to work on something alive, warm, with feelings—because inspiration lives under my fingers. So, my parents told me to try makeup. I tried it out on a woman I knew, just to feel what it could be like for me, and I really loved it, playing with textures on a face...that's really become my specialty. When Dior asked me to be their makeup designer, I was excited that they were interested in a very young, fresh approach, and also for me to bring something that I really have in me to Dior.

In painting school, I fell in love with the Italian Renaissance period, where you can see blue, red, and gold in the people’s skin in a lot of religious paintings; the skin is almost translucent. I could stay for hours looking at the paintings and trying to understand how I can make that skin for real people, because it is transparent, but you have highlights here, some fresh little pink there. It looks like you’ve never been in the sun or pollution ever in your life and your skin is amazing. Now, I try to replicate that look in makeup. I tell people how to remove the shadow around the lips with concealer, or use something like Skinflash Primer to put highlights on the top of your cheeks, to lift them, and on the cupid’s bow above your lips, to make your lips look bigger. All these little tricks, like using a creamy blush, which catches the light so it will look like you have no shadows, like you slept for 20 hours. Actually, Dior Addict Lipstick is great to use as blush because it’s transparent; it doesn’t hide the skin, but it brings color and good texture. And if you’re using cream foundation, warm it up with your fingers and then massage around your face. It gives more depth and texture. Then, you can touch up with concealer around the nose, the lips, and under your eyes.

For me, a red lip is like a jewel, so I don’t wear earrings, or a huge bag, or a necklace when I do it; red lips are like a fashion accessory. I love dark red, the same color of rose petals—a black red. Right now, I’m wearing MAC Russian Red. What is very smart about Dior is that I can talk about other brands I love. When you check my bags, I have Dior and MAC and sometimes Shu Uemura. So when I talk about a product I love that is Dior, it’s real. If you use only one brand, you cannot feel exactly what is happening around you and it makes you less credible; using other products makes you understand more what is happening and what is going to happen for the future.

When I use a lot of makeup, I don’t recognize myself. That’s why, I when I put makeup on other people, I like them to still feel the same, but to have fun with their look. Like how you change your clothes, you change your makeup. Don’t be afraid to put eye shadow on your lips or put some lip gloss on your eyes! You can try it in your bathroom, where no one can see you, and if it’s bad, you just remove it and that’s it. But try, because when you are doing something that no one is doing, it’s so refreshing, you feel unique, and this is all makeup is about, really.”

—as told to ITG

Violette photographed by Emily Weiss in Cannes, France on May 25th, 2012.


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  • marcela

    I love this post, and I agree with what she says, one of the best things about makeup is that you can always change it up and play around with it and whatever you don't like you can take off and start all over again.

  • Nicole

    To be able to learn to use make up on your own and be able to come so far in your ability is amazing.
    I hope one day I can become like this as well.
    Thank you so much for sharing this

  • Claire

    I love her attitude towards makeup! So refreshing that she is self-taught and encourages women to play around with their look while still feeling like themselves. I also adore that she didn't only endorse Dior products. Brilliant post!

  • Marciasilverstein

    I really enjoyed this post. And I agree with her. Red lipsticj is an accessery and you don't need more. Less is more. Also her notions of make up was very informative. Use concealer, blush, and a primer for radience. I love this blog and it has taught me a lot about make up, skin care and experimentation. The blog turned me on to Rodin (love this and the smell), clea de peau concearer (the best), red lipstick (Lipstick Queen). I want to try the Dior primer she recommended and the gloss for the blush I have done in the psast but I have to try the Dior. Sometimes it can be too vaseliney. The posts from make up sartists are the best. Also I applaud your post of women of a cerain age. Very refreshing. I am 75 and keep learning. I try to keep the make up simple. Concealer, eye liner, blush and lipstick plus good products for the skin. Too much make up for someone my age is aging.

  • Janine

    Here philosophy is similar to Jenna Mennard's. It's just makeup, take it off. She learned this from the great, great Dick Page.

    Sofia Coppola soon? :>

  • Les Cahiers d’Heloise

    Love inspiring and refreshing...

  • Lola

    Her approach to beauty and to brands is so healthy- respectful of the effects they can have but not evangelistic. One of my favourite ITG posts.

  • Peepit75

    isn't YADIM the Global make designer for Dior Beauty????
    He is a true artist..

    • IntoTheGloss

      Yadim and Violette are both "International Make-Up Designer" for Dior. Yadim is NY-based and Violette is Paris-based. I'd say they are both "true artists!" xE

  • VotreAmie

    I adore her. She's so right about the dreamy, soft, flawless quality of the skin during the Renaissance!! Ahh, the goal!

  • Sarahdee

    I love that she takes her inspiration from the Renaissance! It sounds exactly what I try to do with my own skin. Now I really wish I could have her do my makeup :)

    xoxo Sarah

  • gaowmichelle

    the red lip is a jewel. so well put.

  • Becca @ The Beauty Sample

    Love her fun, honest approach to beauty. It seems silly, but it took me a long time to fully grasp that makeup is indeed removable. I was so scared to try new things and have fun! But if you don't experiment, you won't know what looks best on you!

  • Guest

    She is wonderful and completely right. Concealer, highlighter, cream eye shadow, eyeliner and lipgloss sometimes get smudged all onto both eyelids when I go out... Less complicated than it sounds, I promise, and just as fun as it seems. That's the point after all X

  • Mabelandmatilda

    I love her view on makeup, less is more & although makeup is fun to play around with, its not necessary to over do it a lot

  • Annette

    These makeup tips are so refreshing! I love, love, the love how she takes inspiration from Italian Renaissance art and applies it so beautifully to us today. Well done!

  • Carly_L

    Such a lovely interview on such a lovely lady!

  • budget looks

    Sweet. So much going on and it is all SO GOOD.

  • Celleste

    Love her :) I wonder what she's into for the coming year... ;)