“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.