All the right mauves: how Chanel channeled the Namib

Lifestyle

All the right mauves: how Chanel channeled the Namib

The fashion house’s creative makeup and colour designer chats about finding Southern African inspiration

Nokubonga Thusi

A conversation, something she’s read, a team brainstorming session, or even time recharging the imagination — for Lucia Pica, Chanel’s global creative makeup and colour designer, anything can spark the inspiration for her annual colour collection. Her latest work finds its creative catalyst just across our borders — in the Namib Desert. Never afraid to share her process, she happily chats about the photographic research she undertakes each year to produce the hugely anticipated mood boards underpinning her work.

Pica is known for pushing the boundaries of makeup, with a knack for finding new hues in almost anything as well as choosing the right texture for the right colour. She’s found inspiration everywhere — from her hometown of Naples to the fish markets of Shibuya in Japan — but it’s the harsh terrain of the Namib that have manifested her softest colour collection yet.

For Pica, the desert was exactly where she wanted to be, fuelled by an article she read about a woman traversing the desert by foot. “This collection is very much representing my experience that I had in Namibia while in the desert, and in Africa in general. You have this kind of muteness and softness in the light, sometimes in the spaces, and especially in Namibia, you have vastness, emptiness, silence and stillness — so I was taken by that,” she says...

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