Inside the newest Guerlain Petite Robe Noire makeup launch

Inside the newest Guerlain Petite Robe Noire makeup launch

Dressing your face

Text: Renée Batchelor

Should you think of your makeup as a wardrobe that you build up one piece at a time? Find out why Guerlain's La Petite Robe Noir makeup collection will complete your look

Guerlain first came up with the idea of the Petite Robe Noire (or Little Black Dress) as a fragrance when the brand thought of an item that would be indispensable in a woman's wardrobe. In a similar vein, the brand wanted women to find this youthful and vibrant fragrance an essential part of dressing up. Shortly after, the brand created lipstick shades to complete the collection, with each named as accessories that would help dress up and complete the LBD. Now the brand expands the range with another must-have item — a mascara — a well as three new lipstick shades and a lip and cheek tint. We find out more about the collection from Guerlain's international makeup artist Jose Louis, as he explains why he's not in favour of too much makeup and why he loves lipsticks.

What is new in the makeup collection?
We did Petite Robe Noire as a range of makeup because in France, the little black dress is an icon in the fashion world. It was Mademoiselle Chanel who created the little black dress, making it a French and specifically Parisian accessory, but it was Guerlain who put French fragrance on the map of luxury. This is the reason Guerlain took this idea... to create a fragrance as a little black dress. It is a symbol of women and all their hard work. Then our marketing team thought of what would be the best accessory to transform the LBD, and we came up with colour. The first accessory to transform the style of the LBD was lipstick, so it was cute because each colour in the Petite Robe Noire collection has the name of an accessory, for example, Red Heels or Ruby Ring. These names make the relationship between the little black dress and an accessory clearer. These are the three new colours for this season including Sunglasses — an orange — and Red Ring, a very sensual, passionate red. We also have a very cute product for the younger generation called the Lip & Cheek Tint. It dresses the cheeks and lips in a very fresh way. For the first time we also have the first Little Black Dress to dress the lashes — the Petite Robe Noir mascara. 

Is the mascara the star product?
I love the mascara. This is more than mascara, it is the first LBD to dress the lashes. The formula is exceptional and for the first time, it not just about volume or definition, it is a full-effect, all-in-one mascara that gives volume, curl and definition, thanks to the exceptional brush. It took about a year to give the idea to the designer, to see the prototype and then try them out and feedback on the brush. It's in pink as we play a lot with Petite Noir. The straight part of the wand improves the length of lashes, and the ball-like shape at the end improves the definition. 

How does the Lip & Cheek tint work?
It's a balm in a moisturising formula and it's in a universal colour. You can intensify the colour with every layer, so layer-to-layer it gets darker. When we imagined the packaging, we thought of a miniature of La Petite Robe Noir and of course, the traits of it.

Lip & Cheek Tint
If Petit Noir is the LBD and these are all the accessories, how do you capture that in makeup? How did you decide these shades for the lipsticks, for example?
With the trend of bloggers and online tutorials, many women don't take the initiative to feel what her mood is. Colour is like a precious stone and for me — and as an international makeup artist — it is very important that a woman is confident with herself. I am not a dictator. I do not work for a fashion brand. I work for the most important beauty house in the world of beauty. When I design a makeup look, I need to understand the life of this woman. It is not the same thing to design makeup for a woman for everyday, or for work, or for a special occasion, or if she's at the Oscars. It's a different mood. Makeup, I insist every time, is the dress of the face. Like all dresses, it needs to be adapted for the situation. We have a full collection of colours, but we separate it into natural colours or trendy colours. And now we have new colours in the collection. We think lipstick is the best friend of a woman. When you smile, you need to dress your smile.

You mentioned that Guerlain makeup is for women, and not makeup artists or fashion designers. Can you elaborate more?
Guerlain was the first beauty house to use the most exclusive ingredients and molecular formulas. Other brands were fascinated with this but Guerlain was the first company in beauty products to discover all this. Guerlain was also the first brand to use real gold in a formula for the lipstick. For us, the most important thing is the high quality. We are not transforming the adolescent face of a model. We don't make art, we make real products for real people. Our colours are easy to wear. The woman who uses Guerlain around the world wants to be herself, she doesn't want to be a model.

La Petite Robe Noir Mascara and Lipstick
How would you recommend a quick, 5-minute face, using Guerlain products?
Every woman needs to dedicate three minutes for her skin. You only have one face and the good thing is that the cells of the skin regenerates every 28 days. But you need to boost this power. Skincare is very important. Again, makeup is the dress of the face but skin is an organ, and it is one of the most important organs as without the skin, we cannot survive. The first step is to take three minutes to pay attention to your skin. Buy the best products for a ritual — anti-ageing or moisturising.

As for makeup, in my point of view, there are five products that all women around the world have to have. First is a foundation like Lingerie de Peau; which is literally like lingerie for the skin. It has an exceptional formula to protect the skin and also has a natural second-skin finish and long-lasting effect. Also, the formula has SPF 20. The second product I advise you to use is powder, especially for Singapore, where it's very hot and humid. I advise women to refresh with powder every two hours. If not, the skin dries up and makeup doesn't stay. The third product you need is, of course, lipstick because lipstick enhances the lips, dresses the lips and dresses the smile. The fourth product is mascara. And the last product is blush, or a terracotta powder.

After this you can use eyeshadow, concealer and highlighter. But I honestly don't like too much of concealer; a lot of brands make their concealer very heavy and it makes women look very artificial. We have an exceptional concealer but I prefer to blend foundation and enhance the eyes with mascara to open them up. Honestly, we don't like too much to create that artificial effect, and this is the thing I don't like... when women put too much concealer. It's like you have a problem and you cover it up, instead of accepting that you're tired. It's normal, you're a real woman. Makeup is an accessory for women, and while many bloggers advocate heavy makeup, in fashion shows models look natural with beautiful skin. But of course, they have makeup. Like I said, makeup is personal for every woman. I respect bloggers, of course, because they have a new mission in our reality today — to communicate. Our bloggers allow us, a luxury brand from Paris, to be known by millions of people around the world. That is amazing.

You are based in Paris. What is the secret to French or Parisian beauty?
I want to reveal their secret. French women use their fingers a lot, especially for foundation. I love when women have only one red lipstick and with this red lipstick transforms from day to night. For example, they pat it on with their fingers in the morning, and at night put it on with definition. But it's not just the makeup and the high heels. It's Paris... it's an energy.

The Petite Robe Noire makeup collection is available now at Guerlain counters