From the moment you step off the plane in Tokyo, you can feel that bustling wave of energy as it swirls around you, enveloping you in its intoxicating breath. Technology meets tradition, business men scramble subways, tourists pin balling through peak hour with their cameras while geishas pose for pictures as the throng continues on its way.
But amongst the thriving humanity lies a calm and quiet harmony, where mindfulness and consideration underlie every detail, encounter and element. It is this paradox that makes Tokyo so special and the reason why its one of our favourite cities to visit, an abundance of inspiration for artists, poets and creative minds.
It only seems fitting then that this season CHANEL’s Global Creative Make Up Director Lucia Pica drew her inspiration from her travels through Tokyo and South Korea for the SPRING SUMMER 2019 COLLECTION VISION DASIE: L’ART DU DÈTAIL. Lucia was accompanied on her trip through the South East Orient by one of our favourite photographers, Harley Weir who documented their trip through a series of photo journalistic images, capturing the intricate details, and inspiring moments along the way. The result is a collection rich in colour and texture, punctuated with subtle yet striking luminosity, and one of our favourite limited edition collections from CHANEL to date.
In celebration of this launch I was lucky enough to travel to Tokyo with CHANEL Beauty, to experience the collection first hand, and photograph a special editorial with official CHANEL makeup artist for Australia, Victoria Baron. Set in the lush gardens of a secret inner city Tokyo sanctuary and tea house, Victoria and I conceptualised a visual story inspired by the collection. With creative freedom to experiment with our favourite products, and the immersive experience of producing an editorial on the ground in Tokyo, the stage was set to capture this collection in all its beauty. From the vibrant and velvety CHANEL Rouge Allure lip collection to our favourite product the CHANEL Baume Essentiel, which will be every girls best friend in 2019, this collection is filled with the kind of products that you will want to use every day.
But for now I’d love to share a conversation with Victoria and I about our experience together in Tokyo, and an insight into the products that she’s loving right now. From stories of the flower markets to how to not paint by numbers .. there’s a little something for everybody to take home with a pinch of Tokyo too ..
Interview with Victoria Baron
It was so interesting travelling to Tokyo with you to hear Chanel’s Global Creative Makeup Director and Colour Designers’ take on the Spring / Summer 2019 collection. Was there one thing that really stood out for you in a creative sense about this collection?
I think the process in which Lucia created the makeup collection is most inspiring creatively. I loved hearing the stories behind the visual imagery captured of her travels through South East Asia. It feels like the time they had to immerse themselves fully into their surroundings allowed for a deep and thorough creative process. I love the authenticity behind how each product was created. It’s about colour, texture, composition, reflection and light. Looking at things differently. Finding beauty in the ordinary.
Lucia spoke with us about her travels through Asia with photographer Harley Weir in the research phase of the collection. Is there something from your trip to Tokyo that you’ll take home as part your own creative inspirations?
One thing that stood out to me whilst in Tokyo was that in such a bustling busy city there is always a sense of calm. There was a consideration and attention to detail in all areas of life there. In cuisine, culture, art and in the beautiful gardens we visited on our shoot. Nothing felt rushed. Being mindful and considered felt like the running commentary in my mind during that trip. The small intimate details in experiences that could easily be missed are sometimes the most special and memorable. That Is what l will bring home with me.
Both you and I have wanted to work together for so long and it was such a wonderful opportunity to finally have the chance to work together, and in such a magnificent backdrop too! I noticed on our shoot that you have the most incredible ability to combine different types of makeup products together to create a look, can you tell us about the way this comes together for you?
I most certainly have hoped that we could collaborate on a shoot together one day (and many more!) It was a really very special experience for me to have been able to create these images with you in Tokyo and watch you create such beautiful images. I’ve always viewed makeup products as textures and colours, like they are out of an art box and need to be played with and mixed. So combining products seems natural and allows an opportunity to create new unexpected things. I’ve also never been one to paint by numbers. Chanel Beauty has always encouraged expression through creating. So it all feels very natural to explore all combinations of the colours and products even though it might seem like its breaking a “makeup rule”.
Before and during our shoot we discussed how much we loved the fact that the collection is inspired by Lucia’s travels through Asia. We chatted about how we could put our own spin on this and also how we could incorporate flowers into our pictures as they featured heavily in Harley’s photos. I love the way that you brought this to life, is your creative process one that you like to plan or do you prefer the spontaneity of being in the moment?
For this particular project with you Mandy l really wanted to be able to create ideas freely and on the ground. There’s nothing quite like landing in a city and feeling the buzz of all things new. It excites the mind. Wherever l am I always look to nature and my surroundings as a source of inspiration so it felt quite natural to join you on an excursion to the flower market to find some exciting shapes and colours that we could use for our shoot in the tea room. One of the flowers had the same glassy texture as the Baume Essentiel. I had never seen this type of flower before. And when we found it, it felt right.
I think if we had planned where the shoot would take us too heavily before we arrived it might have felt restrained and not as organic and easy as it did. So in this case being spontaneous was a really key part of the process for me.
There are some really incredible products in this collection, do you have a favourite?
The Baume Essentiel Sculpting and Transparent Glow stick is unlike anything l have used before and is my favourite. It’s a multipurpose balm that you can use on the eyes, cheeks and lips. In a way it is a highlighter, but not in the traditional sense. It creates this glowing glass like effect on the skin but without a heavy make up look or harsh reflective pigment. It’s very natural and light, and is for all ages and colours which l love.
Can you share with us your favourite place that you’ve travelled to with Chanel?
I am very fortunate to be able to have traveled to some wonderful places with my role with Chanel. My first trip to Paris was one l will always hold very close to my heart. I stayed at the Castille on Rue Cambon right next to the Chanel Boutique . I was treated to a very special showing of the famous mirrored staircase and into Mademoiselle Chanel’s apartment where l was told the stories of the treasures and trinkets around the room. The next day l travelled out to the CHANEL archives outside of Paris where we were shown beautiful and historic items from the fashion collection and original makeup and fragrance from the early 20’s. At one point everyone in the room started crying. It was strangely beautifully emotional.
What is the one item that every girl should have in their makeup bag this season?
A CHANEL Rouge Allure Liquid lip powder. Everything about this product l love.
The beautiful and vibrant colours and the light and soft powder like texture (and the easy to apply sponge applicator). It really is a must have product even for those who feel they can’t wear a lip. I like to use it on its own as a vibrant stain or over the top of lipstick to add dimension.
Photography + Styling + Creative Direction: Amanda Shadforth . Hair & Makeup Artist: Victoria Baron for CHANEL . Model: Saki Nakashima via Bravo Models
Saki wears CHANEL Spring Summer 2019 Ready To Wear & Barrie Spring Summer 2019.
A very special thank you to Hotel Chinzanso in Tokyo for kindly hosting my team and I for this special photoshoot.