Smoke and Mirrors

Lancôme Creative Director Aaron de Mey Outlines His Top Fall Trends

Aaron de Mey does not do makeup for wilting wallflowers. His women are vamps (smoky black eyes, glossy crimson lips), divas (glitter, rhinestone, shine) and future-facing sirens (bleached eyebrows and liquid-lined cat-eyes). He’s not only a makeup visionary—whose daring looks can be found stalking the catwalks of Prada and Givenchy and simmering on the pages of Vogue and V—he’s also the Creative Director of French beauty giant, Lancôme. Which of course makes him enormously influential in terms of what makeup women actually wear—if you found yourself scouring cosmetic counters for a glittery, black lip gloss last winter, you have De Mey to thank. De Mey, now a resident of New York (having moved from his native New Zealand in 1998), created the high-octane looks on model Enikő Mihalik for KT Auleta’s film on NOWNESS today, and also gave us his makeup tips for fall.


What is the key product to invest in this season?

Color! Whether it is for eyes or lips—for instance, an eye cream or shadow in deep green or violet. Blue looks striking when applied over a chocolate or black eye pencil and finished with black mascara. Or apply a deep, rich, saturated hue of red, crimson or burgundy to the lips—use a sheer or gloss formula for a more natural result. And don’t forget the amazing shades offered in nail polishes, as they are an easy and inexpensive way to experiment with color and trend.

If there is one feature to focus on this season it is...?

The eyes. Whether it is enhancing and strengthening the eyebrows, applying mascara or shading the eyes with a rich, deep color, eye makeup can transform the character of the face dramatically.

Who are your current muses?

I like strong, confident beauty and women who are true to themselves:  Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann, Charlotte Casiraghi, Carine Roitfeld, Daria Werbowy,  Emmanuele Alt, Catherine Baba and Inez Van Lamsweerde. I have always loved Greta Garbo and Grace Kelly.

Fall fashion is all about camel, beige and neutrals. What makeup do you recommend to avoid looking washed out?

Classic reds, deep brick and cherry or burgundy tones look great on lips paired with neutral, sculpted eyes in shades of grey, taupe, chocolate or black. Alternately rich jewel colors (amethyst, sapphire, ruby, emerald) look striking when used to sculpt and contour the eye area. For more natural makeup, use a deep burgundy or rose cream and blend into the apples of the cheeks for a flushed, wind-bitten effect. Touches of rich, electric color brighten the face and make it look polished when paired with a neutral wardrobe.

How do you explore the technical possibilities of new makeup?

Editorially I experiment with makeup, trying new techniques, shades and textures, and then afterward, working with Lancôme’s laboratories and scientists, I use this inspiration to create the desired product, working out ways to refine and modernize them. I am inspired by the technologies available in the Japanese beauty markets and am always looking for ways to incorporate these into the ideals of ‘French’ beauty, in my collections for Lancôme. I love high technology blended with historical references and ideals.

Conversations (1)

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