Why Lucia Pica’s Latest Chanel Makeup Collection Is Anything but Classic

Ever since she joined Chanel as global creative makeup and colour designer in 2014, makeup artist Lucia Pica has been on a mission to overturn traditional makeup ideas. That was evident last fall with her first range for the brand, Le Rouge — based entirely around red, a colour normally reserved for lips and nails—in which Pica included deep-scarlet blush, burgundy eyeliner and brick-red eyeshadows. “When I’m looking at a collection, I’m always trying to find the balance: the practicality, the modern aspect and a surprise element,” she says over the phone from Paris. “Whether it’s an unexpected see-through texture or a really bright colour, you think it’s really weird and a little too strong, but then you put it on and it works.”

For spring’s Coco Codes, Pica sought to reimagine five of the house’s iconic shades: black, white, red, gold and beige. “I was interested in the idea of transformation and the interaction of these colours,” she says. The collection includes a thin black topcoat that gives nail polishes a darker hue and a translucent black lipstick that is bold but also sheer. “I wanted to have a colour that looks black, but then when you put it on transforms into something that is really wearable.” She rejects the idea of reserving certain colours for seasons, like coral for spring. “I just don’t really believe in that,” she says. “I think it has more to do with your mood and what you’re trying to say that day.”

Pica also ignores standard principles when it comes to makeup application, preferring to be more fluid and instinctive. She’ll use lip balm beneath eyeshadow to subtly alter the texture—it melds into the skin a bit, which encourages the product to move around. “Some people want their makeup to stay on for a long time,” she says. “I think it’s better when it’s lived with you a little bit. It becomes a little bit more a part of your face.” That’s not to say any enhancement shouldn’t be discernible. “I like wearing makeup: lipstick, eyeliners, mascara—everything,” she says. “But just in a way that feels more relaxed.”