August 20, 2019 3:17 PM

TWELV got a special interview from Tom Pecheux. Read as we host interviews and explore the lives of artists who shape the final product - directors, fashion designers, stylists, hair stylists, makeup artists, and photographers.



"The Maverick of Makeup"

TOM PECHEUX, ESTEE LAUDER’s new creative director, is taking the EL brand and makeup in general, to a level never before seen. He has just brought EL for the first time to Paris Fashion Week, painted the face of Princess Diana, and has inadvertently started color trends from his work on the runway. Having grown up on a farm in rural France with aspirations to become a pastry chef, Pecheux’s path to becoming the maverick of make up is atypical for the industry. TWELV had the opportunity to catch up with Pecheux to talk to him about his progression and style, as well as where the makeup industry is headed.

So what specifically happened in Paris to change you from an aspiring pastry chef to a makeup artist?

I still enjoy cooking, but something changes when you turn it into a job. I met a young woman that was learning how to do makeup, and something rang a bell. I then just decided I needed to learn all about this field.

What do you find is the biggest difference in the color palettes between countries? Are some countries more prone to using more vivid shades?

In general, Italians like orange, Germans like pink, and in Asia, they like pastels. I don’t really follow that though. I think is has to fit the individual. On the runway, you get all nationalities: everyone is different. I try to find what will fit each individual best.

Do you draw inspiration from anything particular? Music? Art? Nature? Or do you just create looks that you’d like to see?

I like and draw in a similar style to 17th and 18th century art. Traveling a lot and meeting different people, you learn so much also. Getting to meet and work with such great people everyday is inspirational.

I know your decision to use the glossy black lipstick in the YSL Fall 2008 show helped bring a slew of dark lip products to the market. When that happens, is it a vindication of your concept for a show?

For each show, I try to bring my own flavor to it. I did not expect it to become anything, and I never think about what would become of it. For me, it is about the moment, and I play day-by-day. I never forget that. As a makeup artist, I have to be flexible, like a chameleon. It is not my show: I am working for them.

Meeting Princess Diana had to have been amazing for you. What was your biggest take-away from that shoot?

The kindness and sweetness of Princess Diana and how pleasant the experience was. When meeting with the royals at the palace, they had all these rules for what we could or could not do, and we had to call Princess Diana “Ma’am” or “Madame”, and to me that sounds like mother in French. Princess Diana said to forget about all those rules. “Don’t worry, feel free.” She made everyone feel comfortable and at ease.

Most of us saw Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow look in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Do you think makeup for men would ever work, or is it even a good idea?

It should. Why not? After the Revolution [of the 1960’s], men started wearing makeup. If men want to wear makeup, they should. Why can’t they? If nothing else, some concealer to cover a pimple for example. Makeup is meant to make yourself feel good, and then you can add color to add character or personality. If women have that option, then men should as well. That was what Johnny Depp was doing in that movie, creating a character.

What new barriers are you looking to overcome and branch out into?

I feel that the company needs to push it even more. The makeup at EL is very respectful to women. We want to make makeup more playful, to make products that are more fun and playful. That is what I think is missing a little. 

What would you like your legacy to be for the next generation?

The joy of making a woman feel beautiful. Having a woman in a department store become transformed by our products. I can work with every woman to make her feel beautiful. It is a nice feeling when you can give. I am not thinking about what I can leave behind, but what I can give, and that depends on what people want to keep. 

Many people have a personal quote or mantra to live by. Do you?

Live day-by-day.



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