This year, makeup entered a new era, and Byredo is at the forefront. Gone are bushy brows, thick liner, and chunky highlighter, in comes clean girl aesthetics and indie sleaze. But that doesn’t mean bold, glamorous, and exciting makeup is over; it’s just had a makeover.
Whilst Byredo is a brand best known for its addictive scents, it’s also quickly taken the lead when it comes to understanding how we wear makeup in 2023. As a brand that prioritises comfortable cosmetics that you can wear easily, rather than those that wear you, Byredo and its Creative Image and Makeup Partner Lucia Pica understand what we want out of our makeup.
Lucia Pica, who’s been curating cosmetics at Byredo since 2021, is keen to talk about how she feels about makeup in 2023. Let’s dip a toe into the mind of the woman making makeup wearable again, from her personal preferences and sources of inspiration, to Byredo’s new holiday collection “Self Illusions” and (exclusively via Culted) what’s on the horizon for Byredo in 2024. Spoiler: it’s a lot.
Italian-born and Chanel-made – having cut her teeth as the French luxury House’s Global Creative Makeup and Colour Designer from 2014 to 2020 – Pica’s career at Byredo is as fresh as her cosmetic approach, with her impact still brimming at the brand. She first showed her face at Byredo in 2021, when Pica was asked by Ben Gorham, the brand’s founder, to support on a beauty project.
Pica did this so well that, in March 2022, she was brought on-board as a permanent fixture, taking the title of Creative Image and Makeup Partner, and turning out progressively more iconic collections for Byredo’s cosmetics range.
One of the first things you’ll notice about Pica, as a curator of cosmetics at Byredo and as a makeup wearer in general, is her clean and comfortable approach to makeup. Apart from a stark terracotta-red lipstick that’s actually from Byredo’s 2023 holiday collection, Pica’s makeup is subtle, accentuating her features rather than covering or deceiving them.
This notion of makeup as working to bring out your features instead of hiding them isn’t only ingrained in Pica’s work at Byredo, but also her personal preferences for wearing makeup. She described how wearability and comfort are her priorities when it comes to curating a collection for the brand, because, for her, “the experience [of wearing makeup] is just as important as how a product makes you look.”
For example, whilst Pica’s signature lip shade is red, she prefers to blend this with a terracotta undertone or hints of deep brown (which is why the shade so often slips into Byredo’s collections) because it’s so much easier to use. She explained, “I love wearing reds with brown undertones, whether it’s darker or brighter, because they’re bold but wearable.”
She adds: “personally, I don’t wear glitter. I couldn’t! I could use something creamy, shimmery [to add a touch of sparkle] but it has to feel quite soft on the skin. If I wanted to use a shimmery colour, like the silver or gold from the ‘Self Illusions’ palette, I’d have to blend it so well that it penetrates the skin, and then put a gloss on top so it feels less bright, but still catches the light.”
Since releasing her first collection for Byredo in September 2022, Pica has gained a reputation for prioritising the sensations and feeling of beauty products over the physical image she creates. However, when asked if she prioritises feelings over how makeup actually makes you look, she replied, “honestly, it’s both. For me, wearing a product is as important as how it makes you look, because they kind of go hand in hand.
“When I’m finding the textures for Byredo, I want to be able to close my eyes and sense something that makes me feel good, so that when I apply it on my face I have that result of transparency. I don’t want to feel like I’m wearing something on top of my skin, but more that it’s penetrating my skin and becoming a part of me, so that people aren’t looking at my makeup: they’re looking at me.”
And this idea of feeling as an inspiration for Pica’s collections at Byredo is ingrained in how she develops new cosmetics from the start. “I always create a moodboard, and start with an idea like a word or an abstract concept. For example, ‘First Emotions’ was about the irrational emotions that you have when you first fall in love, so I like to translate something that is quite abstract into something that’s real,” she explains.
“Some of the time it’s a little bit more concrete, but so far for Byredo I’ve only worked on abstract ideas. I’ve played with the idea of the liquid element of water for liquid lipsticks, and then the fire element for ‘First Emotions’. And then in the future, for upcoming launches, I’m exploring other textures. For instance, there’s another lipstick that’s coming out which is about touch, so that’s another sense. I’m always exploring senses and feelings, elements of nature in Byredo’s collections.”
This much is evident in “Self Illusions,” seen in the elemental nature of the collection’s campaign, which evokes images of “women in a dreamscape, floating on water or in smoke,” per Pica. “It’s about letting yourself go, but still wearing the makeup with confidence.”
Looking to next year, Pica has even more plans to elevate Byredo’s cosmetics ranges and take makeup into a higher sphere. She offered some insight into Byredo’s plans for 2024, hinting that “We have more textures; I’ve been working on reformulating the lipsticks and there’s another texture for lips coming out which is very exciting. It’ll come out at the beginning of the year, and I feel like we have a really strong campaign which is close to my heart, so I’m looking forward to that.
“Then we have another eighteen colour palette [being released], and then towards the end of the year we have another Christmas collection. I can’t say too much, but the year after that is going to be about expanding into other areas… but I can’t say anything else!”
Given that Pica’s priority in makeup is always how it makes you feel, we asked her how 2024 is feeling for Byredo, and she described the sensation of “being emerged into the quality and the texture and the experience of makeup.” Whilst 2023 has cemented Byredo’s status as a brand at the helm of beauty, Pica has even bigger plans for the coming years: “I’ve paid so much attention to each product when it comes to the research of the depth of the colours, how its constructed, the undertones.
“For me it’s always about offering people the opportunity to have an experience with [Byredo], and to be creative with the product. If I had to sum up Byredo in 2024, I’d say it’s going to be… bold, sensorial, and intimate. … It’s gonna be a very important year for makeup!”
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