#Moodboard: Inside the Mind of Violette Serrat, Guerlain’s Creative Director of Makeup
"Makeup should never be used to 'better' who you already are. It should be about celebrating yourself."
ICYMI: Earlier this month, Guerlain dropped a stunning new colour collection of velvet-metal longwear lispticks (Rouge G) and rose oil–laced eyeshadow quads (Ombres G). The colourful assortment was steered by French makeup-artist-turned-beauty-entrepreneur Violette Serrat, who joined the luxury beauty brand last year following sought-after gigs at Dior and Estée Lauder. She also heads her own beauty line, Violette FR, a tightly edited mix of skincare and makeup essentials inspired by French beauty culture. Below, the beauty insider shares her inspiration for the new Guerlain products, her favourite techniques and more.
Tells us about the creative concept behind the new fall makeup collection.
I’m constantly blown away by nature. I can never get used to it. I’m always visiting botanical gardens, taking pictures and getting inspired by things like flowers. And for a long time, I have wanted to do something around moths. We usually picture this brown fluttering insect that’s boring and dusty, but trust me, its wings can resemble an haute couture dress. Moth wings can have black and white prints, dots of reds — it’s absolutely mind blowing.
For this collection, I first started looking into moths and eventually butterflies and really dug into the different species. And what really wowed with me with butterflies is that they are unapologetic with their fabulousness; their wings come in all of these incredible colours as if they are wearing a dress. At the same time, they’re very vulnerable insects. So there’s almost this paradox between strength, power, extreme fragility and vulnerability, which really reminds me of women in a way. As women, I think it’s a strength to be in touch with our vulnerability. So I wanted to explore all of that through colour.
The hues and finishes are quite something. How did you decide on them?
When I studied butterfly wings very closely, I noticed that they have this coating of metallic-like pigments. It’s like a little dust of metal pigment that’s there to help absorb and reflect light — which is why butterfly wings are so vibrant to the eye. I wanted to recreate that same effect for the Rouge G lipsticks, so I worked really hard with the Guerlain lab to try and replicate that same sheen, which was quite difficult and meticulous. It almost felt like haute couture work with all the research and back and forth. And for the lipstick case, I wanted to highlight the butterfly wings as an art piece by zooming in on it.
What about for the eyeshadows?
I took my inspo a bit further and decided to have each one celebrate a different aspect of nature: butterflies, the richness of peacock feathers, the jungle, roses. Within each palette you have gorgeous and unexpected topper shades and are encouraged to play. For example, with Mystic Peacock, I like mixing the blue shade with a bit of water and applying it halfway up my eyelid to my middle crease. I’ll then use the green as a topper by patting it over the blue and all the way to my upper lid. This creates like an ombre effect and a sheer veil of sparkle. It’s quite magical.
Do you have a go-to technique for applying lipstick?
There are two things I do all the time. First, I really like to moisturize the lips by over-applying lip balm. I’ll then remove the excess before applying the lipstick. Then, I’ll overdraw the lips a bit by applying colour just beyond their natural curve. Cheating your own volume a bit, which naturally diminishes with age, really provides this plumpness.
Guerlain also dropped its new Parure Gold Skin Matte Foundation at the same time as this colour collection. What’s a foundation hack you love doing?
One thing I like to do is not apply foundation on the nose. So I’ll apply it lightly everywhere else, but keep the nose bare. This, to me, creates the illusion that you’re not wearing foundation. But, with this technique, you can’t do heavy things like bake your makeup or contour because then you will really see the difference and the effect is lost.
What’s a signature makeup look of yours?
Bright lipstick, very matte, very intense. That’s definitely my personal go-to.
Do you have a favourite skincare product you like to use under makeup?
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My Violette FR Boum-Boum Milk. I’ll use it as a prepping mist before makeup but also at the end of a look because the birch sap in the formula gives your complexion this, like, tiny topcoat of shine and it leaves your skin feeling really great. It also helps to lock in other products.
What role does makeup play in your own life?
I don’t care about trends. To me, beauty is very personal and makeup should be used as a mood lifter. I think you should wake up in the morning and ask yourself, ‘How do I feel today? How can makeup support that feeling or push that feeling?’ If you’re feeling a little fragile and you have a big meeting that day, maybe wearing a red lipstick will make you feel powerful and provide protection. Or, if you’re feeling very inspired and you want to really tap into that, maybe you’ll go for metallic eyeshadow.
Makeup should never be used to ‘better’ who you already are. It should be about celebrating yourself. I always say to people: When you’re cleaning your teeth in the morning, putting on your skincare and brushing your hair, please believe that you are a god or goddess and really feel it. Your beauty routine then becomes this amazing tool for your mental health, instead of something you use to ‘fix’ yourself.