Lucia Pica in the lounge, wearing a cashmere jumper and wool tweed trousers, both Chanel
By Lucy Halfhead. Photographed by Josh Shinner
"Makeup should never be used as a mask, only to enhance what is there,” says Lucia Pica, the Italian-born virtuoso whose modern take on beauty and talent for devising natural, fresh-faced looks has made her one of the world’s most influential makeup artists. As Chanel’s Global Creative Makeup and Colour Designer, she is responsible for developing up to eight new collections each year, as well as playing a part in the conception of the brand’s beauty campaigns and catwalk looks. Pica splits her time between homes in east London and Paris, where she opens the door to her light-filled apartment in the 6th arrondissement sporting her signature look: velvety red lips, a glossy fringe and smoky eyeliner.
Dressed in vintage Levi’s 501 jeans, a Margaret Howell cashmere sweater, Chanel pumps and Sophie Bille Brahe earrings, Pica is warm and welcoming. The flat is decorated with an alluring array of mid-century furniture, from a Pierre Chapo dining table to an Igor Rodrigues chaise longue procured in Piasa, Paris’ famous auction house, and a coffee table by George Nakashima. A vintage velvet sofa adds a glamorous touch, alongside Rupprecht Skrip wall lamps, a vase by Mathilde Martin and artworks by Harley Weir, Ben Barlow and Jason Brinkerhoff. “You’re not just buying the item, you’re buying into the history and the magic as well,” says Pica.
A part of Lucia's bag collection
The bathroom and covetable vanity
Lucia wearing a muslin shirt, Chanel; and jeans, her own
Born in Naples, Pica grew up surrounded by the city’s colourful frescoes, which she credits for her early fascination with makeup. ‘I would lock myself in the bathroom and spend an hour putting makeup on, before washing it off and casually walking out like nothing had happened,’ she says. Arriving in London aged 22, she enrolled in a training course at the Greasepaint Make-Up School and never looked back. “London was so liberating, and it was incredible to meet all these like-minded people,” she says. “It’s a city that embraces every culture, and this diversity and freedom of expression helped me to open my mind and be creative.”
After working at the cult beauty boutique Pout in Covent Garden and behind the counter at Shu Uemura, Pica landed a job as Charlotte Tilbury’s assistant. “I was so lucky to have that opportunity,” she says. “Charlotte was great to work for because she’s not only talented, but she is also a very caring, supportive person and a good mentor.” In 2008, after three years honing her craft, Pica made the decision to go freelance. “It was daunting, but I was determined to find my own style and to find my team—the photographers and stylists I could create the best work with.” Her solo career took off as she collaborated with some of the most influential photographers in the industry, including Alasdair McLellan, Willy Vanderperre and Juergen Teller.
Lucia wearing a silver necklace, Sophie Buhai; jumper and trousers, her own
The dining area
Following the departure to Dior of Chanel Makeup’s former creative director, Peter Philips, Pica freelanced at the house for a year and a half, before being appointed as its first-ever Global Creative Makeup and Colour Designer in 2015. Known for using bright colours and bold lipsticks, she worked closely with Karl Lagerfeld to produce makeup to complement his fashion collections. “I feel so grateful to have had the chance to collaborate with him on the shows and advertising campaigns,” she says. “You might expect such an incredible figure to be detached and cold, but he was not like that. He was a very emotionally generous person —charming, sweet, funny and caring.”
Pica’s debut, Le Rouge Collection No. 1, grew from her passion for the colour red and its place as one of the key hues in the world of Chanel, while the new fall/winter collection, Noir et Blanc de Chanel, is inspired by the monochromatic aesthetic of Paris, and the black and white colour codes of the house. “I love working with this incredible, established brand, but I like to add modernity and show luxury in a more experimental way,” she says. Dedicated research trips to find new colours and textures are also an important part of her process—the recent spring/ summer collection “Vision of Asia: the Art of Detail” was influenced by her travels to Tokyo and Seoul; and in 2018, she bottled a bright canary yellow, spotted on a homecoming tour of Naples, into the year’s most coveted nail varnish. “The concept can be beautiful and dreamy, but then I have to bring it back to reality and make sure that those colours are adaptable to a woman’s face and skin.”
Coffee table books
Her classic go-to ballerinas, Chanel
Lucia in the dining area wearing cotton and cashmere culottes, Chanel
Unsurprisingly, a glimpse inside Pica’s wardrobe reveals an abundance of Chanel clothes and accessories. “I like looking feminine but strong, which is something Chanel does so well,” she says. “Sometimes, I have these moments where I want to look like a princess at an event, so I’ve worn a few of the beautiful lace dresses from the 2016 Métiers d’Art Collection that was shown in Rome.” Her other favourite brands include The Row, Cristaseya (“for elegant shirts and trench coats”) and old CELINE, which she wears with jewellery from Sophie Buhai and the Brazilian-born designer Fernando Jorge. When adding the finishing touch, she says: “I always apply Chanel Rouge Audace, Obscur or Night-fall. My mother never left the house without lipstick and, as it turns out, I ended up the same.”
Le Volume Ultra-Noir de Chanel, Chanel
Le Gel Pailleté, Chanel
Les 4 Ombres in Modern Glamour, Chanel
Rouge Allure Velvet Powder in Rouge Obscur, Chanel
PHOTOGRAPHY: LUCKY IF SHARP. HAIR: FANNY FRASLIN AT ATELIER 68. MAKEUP: LUCIA PICA, USING CHANEL. MAKEUP ASSISTANT: KANAKO YOSHIDA. STYLING: TILLY WHEATING. SEE WHERE TO BUY FOR DETAILS