Having the chance to chat beauty with French-born, Brooklyn-based makeup artist and Estée Lauder global beauty director Violette is the beauty editor equivalent of winning the Mega Millions. I'd only seen the cosmetic muse as she exists in the digital airwaves: a statuesque siren with chestnut shaggy bangs, an ever-evolving makeup wardrobe (one day it's bronzed and neutral, the next a wash of cobalt blue along her lids), and the kind of tamperproof confidence you'd only find in someone with French genetics coursing through her veins. Unsurprisingly, being in her physical presence confirmed all of that and more, and with the limited time that we had together, I was bound and determined to soak up every ounce of her sage intel—namely, her trend forecast for this upcoming season.
"So, I hope I'm not going to disappoint you, but I'm actually an anti-trend person," she tells me.
"I'm trying to teach women to not follow a movement just because it's what's happening around them and try to find the opposite. Try to find your own style and own aesthetic."
Okay, fair. Also, how utterly and beautifully French.
"I always invite them to base the makeup (and the clothes they're going to wear) on their mood," she continues. "So I'm always like, 'Okay, guys. You're to wake up in the morning, and some days, you're going to feel great and amazing, and you want to celebrate your femininity and put some glitter on, and there are other days where you feel a bit down and you have this big meeting with someone you hate [laughs] and you don't want that person to feel your weakness that day. You want to protect yourself a little bit, and you put some red lipstick on.' I feel like that's more how I see makeup, but I agree with you also that sometimes, in winter, we are more attracted to some things than we are in spring because your mood is different."
Speaking of glitter, if there were a "trend" to excite Violette this winter, shimmer is definitely high on her list. "Every time we go into this season, I'm like, glitter season!" she says, visibly lighting up. "I always say to my team, 'Guys! It's glitter season!' And they love it because it's always so nice on camera."
Unlike the coarse, large-particle glitter we saw on the autumn/winter 2018 runways, the makeup artist is partial to a soft, delicate version. "I love very thin glitter just because you can make a different effect," she tells me. "For example, I created for my new collection [Ed. note: La Dangereuse, out this December] a glitter that is so thin. It was really funny because I went to the lab and I said, 'Guys, I want to create a fairy dust. And they were like, 'What do you mean?" [laughs] I don't want to create a product that's impossible for [women] to use. As a professional, if I put glitter that's thick on my face, then it's going to fall, and then how do I remove it? So I know by experience that using something to brush your eyebrows with is going to help to take it off, or a bit of tape, but if you don't know all this, you're just going to be like, 'Oh my God. I have to redo my skin.' And it's kind of annoying. So I wanted to do a glitter that's going to be so thin that when you're applying it, you're going to have no fallout, because the glitter is going to stay in the air. It's going to float. And every time I do a demonstration to people, it's really funny because I blow on it, and you see the glitter is just going like this," she says while twinkling her fingers in the air.
When I ask Violette for her favorite ways to use finely milled glitter, she suggests gently patting it onto skin or on top of makeup for a veil of shimmer or blending and layering for a foil effect. In fact, as she's sitting across from me, I notice a thin line of purple glitter along her upper lashes atop burgundy eye pencil.
While heavy cheek highlight à la Instagram has run rampant in the States, Violette is a proponent in the editorial sense, but not for everyday wear. "I use crazy holographic highlighters for photo shoots, and it's fun, but what I love is that people can feel your skin when they see you, and I want to be able to tell you, 'Oh, you're so beautiful and so fresh today!' Instead of, 'Oh, your highlighter is amazing.' I would say avoid going too far with the highlighter just so your skin can be itself."
I recently had this same conversation with Sarah Lucero, executive director of global creative artistry for Stila Cosmetics. Lucero loves creating a wet look on the lids with a soft glitter highlight like fan-favourite Heaven's Hue, but in terms of intense glitter, she's more into a soft, buffed shimmer rather than a high-powered highlight that you can visibly see where it starts and ends on the skin.
So what will you find in the makeup artist's bag next season? La Dangereuse, of course, along with some practical pieces. "I'm always obsessed with deep, mysterious blue, metallic blue, burgundy, copper, glitter, eye gloss, all these things, so this is such a luxury to be able to create products out of your imagination just to please your mood," she says. "I'm also starting to have a lip balm because it's the season where it's starting to be an essential. I have one from Weleda—the lip saver that is amazing—and this stick from the French pharmacy that is also very good."
Will we see French women adopting glitter in the colder months? Honey, they're way ahead of us. "I'm 100% French in my aesthetic," says Violette. "My girlfriends are very Parisian. They're actually my muses. I remember when we were 15 years old, and it was winter. Our thing was to do glitter red lips to go out, and we had messy hair and bare skin and jeans and a T-shirt and heels, and that was it, and we haven't changed. We still do it today!"
See more examples of "fairy dust" makeup and shop our favourite "fairy dust" products below:
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