In Perfect Harmony

A makeup collection based on the absence of colour (black) and the inclusion of every colour (white) – is it absurd? Or is it bold? Ng Yi Lian finds out in Paris.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

“Black and white,” says Chanel global and creative makeup and colour designer Lucia Pica, “are the colours I relate most to Gabrielle Chanel – the time she lived in, the power she gave these colours and the way they appeared in her life.” On the premises of the Grand Palais in Champs-Elysees, the regular showground for the house of Chanel, Pica takes me through her thought processes and mood boards for the Fall/Winter 2019 Noir et Blanc de Chanel collection.

“Beyond just black and white, I also wanted to play with textures: the shimmer and sparkle of water in a black-and-white photo and the in-between world where black and white exist,” she explains. “(Black and white) were the absolutes for Chanel, the colour of absolutes. (Gabrielle’s) use of them was a challenge and a risk.”

One can say the same for Pica. Whether it’s the deep black cherry Rouge Coco Gloss in Laque Noire (Pica’s favourite from the 16-product range) and transparent top coat with subtle sparkle in Crystal Clear or the Rouge Allure Velvet Extreme lipsticks with hues that evoke the idea of a garden at night, Pica’s audacity in using black and white in an environment where wide-ranging colours usually exist results in a makeup collection that’s strong yet romantic, evoking emotions as binary as the inspirations behind it.

1 Rouge Coco Gloss in #816 Laque Noire, $48.
2 Rouge Allure Liquid Powder in #974 Timeless, $52.
My Reading Room

3 Ombre Premiere Top Coat in #317 Carte Blanche, $55.

4 Le Vernis in #711 Pure White and #713 Pure Black, $40 each.

5 Le Gel Paillete, $64.

6 Les 4 Ombres in #334 Modern Glamour, $94.

7 Stylo Yeux Waterproof in #949 Blanc Graphique, $94.