I Asked Chanel's Chief Makeup Artist to Turn Me Into a French Model


Getty/Stefanie Keenan

Lucia Pica and I have barely exchanged pleasantries before I decide that I would blindly take any advice she had to offer me. It's not just because she's a renowned makeup artist or Chanel's global creative makeup and color designer, for that matter; I've been devouring her Instagram feed and flawless beauty campaigns for years, after all. CV aside, in person, the Italy-born Pica is both infectiously warm and impossibly chic—and I basically want to have whatever she's having.

The good news is that for the next hour, I'll be totally immersed in her world. Pica is in Los Angeles to promote Chanel's upcoming Travel Diary makeup collection—which just so happens to be inspired by a recent road trip Pica took from L.A. to Big Sur, photographer and friend Max Farago in tow. The room where we chat is essentially set up as a giant mood board: Sumptuously colored snapshots of orange-tinged sunsets, tree bark, and an uncharacteristically beautiful Los Angeles River line the walls and tables, and products from the collection are strewn about the images that inspired them. 

"I wanted to take myself outside in the world and see—to be inspired by what’s happening in the moment," Pica says of the idea to take this trip up the California coast. "The idea of creating my own content for my collection was interesting because it was a way of getting deeper into things but also sharing that personal experience. That’s exactly what luxury should be right now."

But while the journey was pre-meditated, the resulting collection was totally organic. "It was very authentic and very spontaneous," she tells me. "We embarked on this road trip not really knowing much about where we were going to go or what we were going to find. But that’s what's also interesting about doing it—pushing yourself into new places and environments. For yourself, not just for what you're going to see."

And every item in the Travel Diary collection is an undeniable echo of what Pica saw: A stormy-colored nail lacquer harkens the gray sky above crashing waves; an eye shadow palette of deep aquas and pink-tinged neutrals offers a deconstructed view of the L.A. River. And as we continue to talk about each product, Pica delivers gem after gem of must-know beauty advice—from the key to flawless-looking skin to establishing a makeup uniform. Best of all, she offers to demonstrate the new collection on me.

Keep reading for Pica's best makeup pointers—and to see the look she created on me.