Lucia Pica makes her next move at Byredo


After taking over the reins from Isamaya Ffrench, the make-up artist’s first collection for the brand is a love letter to the colour red

Lucia Pica was 10 years old when she’d go around to her neighbour’s house in Naples and try on all her make-up. “I would put it on and transform my face into an adult,” she recalls. “I wanted to look like these women that I had been observing. I had this real attraction to make-up and being playful with it.” It wasn’t until she moved to London in the mid to late 90s, however, that she realised she could pursue it as a career, after a friend in PR suggested she enrol in a beauty course. Since then, Pica has carved out a name for herself as one of the industry’s leading talents. Her abstract approach to colour and texture has seen her work with everyone from Armani to Chanel, where she was global creative make-up and colour director for six years. 

Now she embarks on her latest chapter as creative image and make-up partner at Byredo, taking over the reins from Isamaya Ffrench. Pica’s vision for the brand is more pared back with a focus on the core elements. Her first drop, for example, Liquid Lipsticks, focused on liquid textures and the notion of transparency, bringing the make-up offering closer to the fragrance side for which Byredo first became known.

This week, Pica debuts her first full collection: First Emotions; a love letter to the complexities of the colour red. Deep burgundies, browns and rosebuds, those warm hues associated with the first flush of being in love. “There are different tonalities of love,” she says. “The different facets – erotic, sincere, unconditional, even unrequited. There is light and excitement in the gold and something darker in the burgundy.” The collection comprises two lipsticks, an eyeliner, mascara, and an eyeshadow palette housed in the brand’s iconic oyster compact. It’s quintessentially Pica, an exciting taster of what’s to come. 

We sat down with the make-up artist to discuss her journey so far.

Growing up, was there anyone whose approach to make-up you really admired?

Lucia Pica: I would always observe my mum. She would only put a little bit of lipstick on, but the way she did it was interesting, it was more like dabbing it on. It looked a little bit like a stain. She would then pick up a little bit of that same lipstick and put it on her cheeks to create a really fresh look. 

Did you experiment with your own hair and make-up?

Lucia Pica: I remember in the mid/late 90s using an off-orange/ brown colour to announce certain places of my eyes. I wasn’t just putting it on for the sake of it. I remember precisely choosing one brown pencil over the other. I do remember doing a monochromatic orangey-brown peach eye and lip. That lip was a bit off, but I liked it. 

What were your first big breaks?

Lucia Pica: I was obsessed with Charlotte Tilbury at the time, so I would call her agent every two weeks for over a year. Finally, after one year, I had the opportunity to work with her on a show. This is when everything changed for me. I assisted Charlotte for two and a half years and then started doing my own things; some shoots for Love with Katie Grand, a cover of Self Service; and a shoot for i-D with Alastair McLellan. I continued developing until I got the call from Chanel to do a beauty shoot. A year and a half later, after all the interviews, I got the job as creative director, and of course, six years later, I finished with that.

And now you’re the creative director of Byredo Make-Up. How did that come about? 

Lucia Pica: Last October, I got a message from Ben [Gorham, founder of Byredo]. He asked if I would be interested in doing a project for Byredo. I said, ‘Sure. We can talk about it.’ I didn’t even know that it was about developing the brand’s line. At the time, it had been a year since I had finished my contract with Chanel and I was just easing into different projects.

What was your first impression of Ben?

Lucia Pica: I had an incredible rapport with him. I really liked him, and I admired him. It felt like we were talking the same language. I liked the way Ben was talking about perfume and the brand in general. The way he based a perfume brand on memory and emotion was really attractive to me. 

What drew you to his views on make-up?

Lucia Pica: In terms of colours and textures and how they can help you to express yourself, I like the way he talked about make-up. The fact that he was highly creative and willing to try something. I just love that freedom. 

How would you describe your creative process today?

Lucia Pica: For me, it’s important to convey a certain idea, emotion or expression, but you can still see the women behind the look. The way I use colour and texture is in an abstract manner. I think my main thing is to have a beautiful finish and not conceal the woman completely.

What is your vision for Byredo?

Lucia Pica: I want to bring the make-up closer to the perfume. The first texture we worked on is a liquid texture that penetrates your skin. The Liquid Lipsticks become a part of you, a signature. So, it is kind of like perfume. The fluidity of it is close to a perfume. We wanted to start with a clear formula and this idea of transparency. There are ten colours in the range, but I was interested in that clear colour as a starting point. I felt like the liquid, glass texture makes you feel an emotion. Also because you can use it on the eyes and lips. Its versatility was interesting. It’s very uncomplicated and it’s a part of you. I don’t feel like I need to go and do something very complicated. I can just do something that looks good, feels good, is easy to apply, and it says something about yourself.

The landscape of beauty has shifted. What do these changes signify to you? How will they continue to evolve?

Lucia Pica: There is a lot of space for beauty now. There is more experimentation and people are getting familiar with products. People are aware of everything such as textures, colours, applications and tutorials. It feels saturated but I think what is going to happen and what is happening now is people have the desire to come up with something honest, something that they believe in and are proud of. We can’t just fixate on marketing and constantly look at the numbers. In the future, we should be going even deeper into what we are trying to say.

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