There are dream jobs and then there are dream jobs like Lucia Pica’s.
Italian-born Lucia Pica has indeed one of the best jobs on Earth. As CHANEL’s Global Creative Designer for Makeup and Colour, Pica’s job is, well, to dream in pigments. She travels around the world several times a year in search of colour inspiration and returns to Paris, where she calls home, to identify the 50 or so lucky colours that eventually get made into a CHANEL beauty collection. Did you put yellow varnish on your nails earlier this year? Yep, Pica came up with that.
It’s 6:30PM in Sydney and 9:30AM in Paris when Gritty Pretty phones Pica. “Hello, bonjour,” she says in that creamy French accent. Instantly, Pica’s warmth and friendliness is felt – she says “it’s a beautiful, sunny morning here in Paris” and she is “so excited” to be speaking with me. “I really wish I was with you in Australia though,” says Pica. Instead, we suffice with a chat that feels between friends – both of whom are passionate about beauty.
Here, Pica reveals what her job is really like and the exploration of matte texture that inspired CHANEL’s new Le Mat de CHANEL collection.
If you aren’t already a fan of Lucia Pica, prepare to become one…
For your 2017 collection, you took inspiration from a road trip you took in California and for your spring 2018 collection, you went back to your home town, Naples. What served as your inspiration for the new Le Mat de CHANEL collection?
“When I’m working on new collections, I like to take myself out in the world and start documenting my surrounds. Sometimes I will travel with a photographer in search of colours like I did with Naples. Then I come back to the studio in Paris, where I work on a moodbook and create the concept. I look at the colours I’m naturally attracted to – and I will ask myself, “Which will make a good lipstick or eye shadow?” I then like to spend time in the studio mixing up pigments and colours. Afterward, we send them to the lab, and the lab transforms them into recipes. I’m really involved in the process.
For this collection, my approach was a little different – perhaps a bit more abstract. I was interested in the way that artists used certain types of textures – mostly matte textures – to create intensity. I wanted to do the highest research I possibly could into the texture of matte. I wanted to go deeper into the tactility of it — sort of like what I did for my first collection, exploring red to its deepest points. I wanted to explore how to express matte texture but in different ways for the lips and eyes.
Normally, when you think of matte, you picture something a little old-fashioned, heavy, ’80s, and maybe it doesn’t blend well. In this collection, matte is really modern — it’s almost velvety, like the touch of cashmere.”
If you could pick one favourite product from the new Rouge Allure collection, what would it be?
“I’m really excited about the Liquid Powder but for the lips. I know that sounds weird, like they should oppose. It’s a new texture we’ve dreamed up that gives you a thin veil of colour, but still a lot of lip pigment. It feels more like velvet than powder on the lips. It’s nice for people who want bold lips but aren’t comfortable with the heaviness of a lipstick. It’s blurred, almost diffused, which is a good word for this collection actually. It’s like a gentle welcome to the world of bold lips. I think this product is really different and I love it.”
Pica wears: CHANEL Les Eaux de CHANEL in Paris-Venise EDT Spray.
“It’s light yet ambery and glamorous – it’s my favourite fragrance.”
You’re never without red lipstick yourself – it’s become somewhat of a signature of yours. Why do you love the colour red so much?
“Red is a personal favourite of mine, and I’m obsessed with it. I love how red represents power, femininity, vulnerability, sensuality and innocence. It is everything a woman might be and more. I need a few for myself – I use Rouge Allure Liquid Powder Liquid Matte Lip Colour Blurred Effect in Avant Gardiste (a fresh berry red, which you put on when you want to feel fresh – I also like to pop this onto cheeks as a blush), Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur Matte in Impulsion (it’s a dark red with a brown base, which is strong, powerful and I personally like to wear it every day) and Rouge Allure Velvet Extrême Intense Matte Lip Colour in Ideal (a true, glamorous red. I love to wear it with jean, a white t-shirt and a bare face and taupe eyeshadow. This colour instantly takes you from casual to chic).”
You travel a lot for your job. What are your in-flight essentials?
“I always travel with a men’s cashmere jumper; my CHANEL pumps, which I put on when I arrive at my destination; CHANEL Huile de Jasmin, which is a nourishing yet light face oil and my music – I like to listen to everything from Nick Cave to Drake and Italian classics.”
What specific lip shades do you recommend for different skin tones?
FAIR SKIN: CHANEL Rouge Allure Liquid Powder Liquid Matte Lip Colour Blurred Effect in Invincible, CHANEL Rouge Allure Velvet Extrême Intense Matte Lip Colour in Impressive and CHANEL Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur Matte in Subversion.
DARK SKIN: CHANEL Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur Matte in Impact, CHANEL Rouge Allure Liquid Powder Liquid Matte Lip Colour Blurred Effect in Avant Gardiste, CHANEL Rouge Allure Velvet Extréme Intense Matte Lip Colour in Épitome, Extrême and Impressive.
Tell us, do you wear bold lipstick?
What are your favourite brands and shades?