Chanel’s New Collection Is Inspired By L.A. — But Not How You Think

Photo: Courtesy of Chanel.
How does one come up with 23-piece fall makeup collection for one of the most esteemed brands in the world in just five days? If you’re Chanel global creative makeup and color designer Lucia Pica, you let California do the work.
In October, the London-based artist rented a car and took a road trip through Los Angeles, up the coast, and landed in Big Sur. The idea going in was simple: a collection of colors taken straight from the Golden State’s most beautiful elements — no filters, no reference images from the past, no trends to translate. The only problem? She’d never actually done the storied drive before.
“I left knowing what I had to get, but after the first day, everything started to look very similar and I started getting a little nervous,” she told me while debuting the collection in Los Angeles this week. “I thought, ‘What is this collection going to look like?’ because I was only seeing a few colors. But then the night started to come and there was an explosion of color.”
Pica’s eyes light up as she walks me through the photos from her trip, which were captured by road trip buddy/photographer Max Farago. (And as Chanel does, you can visit a boutique this fall to see a short film created with footage by videographer Clara Cullen, too.)
The result is a beautiful collection of unexpected, yet totally wearable, colors and textures that feel fresher than trend-driven collections. The bright lights of downtown L.A. gave way to a moody eye palette of shimmering neutrals, the high-shine reflection from a few inches of water creeping through the Los Angeles river inspired two creamy shadows, and the pale pink and blue that developed when the sun set over the Pacific in Big Sur were harnessed into a liquid lipstick and nail polish, respectively.
Each piece stands alone, but is also a nod to a road trip: retractable brushes made for a travel bag, a palette packed with a new (!) foundation/concealer hybrid, plus lip/cheek color, and shimmery highlighter. The entire collection drops on August 2nd, but you can preview the heroes — and peep a few of the photos from Pica’s travel diary that inspired it all — ahead.