Radiant; Black and White.

By Jo Phillips

The silver screen sirens are still considered to be some of the most beautiful women in the world of film. The icons of cinema’s golden age (late 1920s all the way to the mid-1960s) was when glamour was, not only called for but spread large across the movie vista.

There was no holding back in those days of black and white celluloid (1920s 30s and 40s); glossy flowing locks tweezed and curled to perfection and skin glistening with makeup. Chiaroscuro at its best. Women were celebrated, loved and idolised for their glamour.

People flocked to see these larger than life beauties and celebrated the most angelic-looking or even ‘baddies’, all of whom were representative of the facets of womanhood in this noir world of cinema.

Ava Gardner

The light and dark shades of chiaroscuro, always most striking in black and white, were at their best in these films. The makeup showed off a sharp cheekbone, a carved face, a graceful jawline to its absolute best, it’s most glamorous and it’s most sublime. These women, rare starlets, were held in the highest regard as the most beautiful women on earth, by the Studios as much as the fans.

Shimming, colour, shade, as well as technical lighting, brought the most out of each face. Those sirens, clever enough to knew what sort of light would show the best of them, worked directly with lighting-cameramen. This noir lighting set off cheekbones so sharply, it looked as though you could cut cheese on them. The use of powders that gave a shimmer to the face also contributed to the aura of sainthood, of unreal angelic proportions. Makeup was used to build the beauty but also the character, it was a well-known tool in the making of a true star and the building of an Oscar-winning character performance.

Joan Crawford

“Women think of all colours except the absence of colour. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.” Gabrielle Chanel.

The black and white era of cinema greatly influenced Coco Chanel. “Noir” and “Blanc,” the absolute staples of the house of Gabrielle Chanel are still an enduring signature today. This A/W19, black and white are explored and reinterpreted by Lucia Pica, CHANEL Global Creative Makeup and Colour Designer, for her latest beauty collection.

Starting with the eye palettes, LES 4 OMBRES is built around film noir called Modern Glamour. Consisting of white and shades of grey, from light to darkest, it creates those facets to highlight and shade for dramatic ‘peepers’. Noir Supreme contains a satiny khaki copper brown, a subtle purply intense grey, a deep matte garnet burgundy and a dark brown, again bringing to mind light and dark, love and despair, good and evil.

Elizabeth Taylor

“I wanted to reinvigorate and rejuvenate LES 4 OMBRES. The creamy velvet texture and the intense pigmentation should give a feeling of new depth and penetration as well as a sense of cinematic or photographic shades.” Lucia Pica

The eyeliner comes in a soft grey-white or intense black, waterproof of course to hide those crocodile tears. Even the lip gloss comes in a deep black cherry or sparkly see-through.

Lauren Bacall

Don’t forget the nails! Pure Black and Pure White here for this season in optic opaque white and intense black because the hands must also express emotion on screen.

And for that final dramatic touch: lips. Lips are what speak the words, constructing the narrative, bringing to life the good, the bad and the ugliest of all plot lines. Rouge allure liquid powder comes in two shades: Timeless, a light caramel beige, and Bois de Nuit, a light warm rosewood. Rouge allure velvet extreme is matt and also comes in two shades: Rose Nocturne, a medium mauve rosebud, and Rouge Obscur, a deep burgundy. Both ranges create lips as dramatic as the lips of Lauren Bacall, the plushest and sensual of mouths.

Lauren Bacall

“There is an idea of extreme fantasy as well as reality in this collection, of something very stylized or delineated while embracing the day-to-day. There is a certain palpability to the texture; it is so real it becomes part of your skin. At the same time, the sparkle hovers above it, becoming almost like an aura, a kind of glamour seen in films.” Lucia Pica

Think of the tones, think of the shades, think dark and light and how they can be painted onto a face for an extremely dazzling effect. This collection creates in every woman the opportunity to be her own heroine of whatever screen she chooses.


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