Photography Anne Peeters Fashion Direction Aileen Marr Hair Koh Makeup Filomena Natoli For Chanel Manicure Jocelyn Petroni Model Ronnie / Kult Hand Model Amanda / Chadwicks Words Emily Algar Glass Ornament & Vase Supplied By Glass Et Cetera
Of all the enduring makeup trends – red lips, winged liner – few are as fascinating as nude. Unlike the aforementioned moments that demand overt attention, nude is quiet, subdued and understated. But at the same time, it requires a significant amount of skill in order to look deep and dimensional. It’s unassuming but glamorous all at once; hence why shades like taupe, mocha and beige have had a stronghold on the beauty industry (not to mention our features) for the greater part of the last five decades.
Despite this long-time reign, no era has served up more neutral inspiration (and aspiration) than the ’90s. Defined by supers like Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington and Tatjana Patitz, the ’90s were all about striking beauty, but the kind that felt lived-in: pillowy lips inflated with brown liner, caramel gloss, nutty shadow to define the eyes, and chocolate kohl to exaggerate a feline-esque shape (and sometimes, emphasise a beauty mark). It was a time of hyper-glamour, but it never felt overdone. These women basically invented the concept of ‘waking up like this’, and they did it through little more than killer genetics, and some artfully-placed, neutral-toned makeup.
While such iconic people and pop culture moments served as a blueprint, nowadays, we’ve moved the needle on neutral to a place of subtlety and inclusivity – and luxury beauty brands are following suit.
Chanel’s Fall/Winter 2022 makeup collection, Les Accords de Chanel, gives new meaning to tonal makeup by taking cues from its complexion category. The newly-minted seasonal range was actually inspired by Chanel’s expertise in foundation, specifically the Ultra Le Teint Fluide formula. While the lineup (consisting of 12 shades of Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour and 12 shades of Le Vernis Long Wear Nail Colour) is dubbed ‘neutral’, it’s made up of varying intensities and undertones so that every complexion can find a shade to enhance or contrast their unique colouring. It also defies the idea that all-over ‘nude’ makeup can leave one looking flat and lifeless – a faux pas that’s easy to fall into if you’re not a professional.
So what does it take to create all-over neutral makeup that enhances intrinsic beauty? The trick is in layering. “The key to a monochromatic look is having various depths of tone,” explains Chanel makeup artist Filomena Natoli. “You don’t need 50 shades, all you need is a light, medium and dark tone of the hue you’re working with to fulfil a certain purpose, depending on the feature.” Natoli furthers this by noting that lighter shades can be used to highlight or reflect light, whereas deeper hues are useful for defining and creating shape.
When it comes to the lips, the same advice applies. If we refer back to the ’90s, Filomena defines the aesthetic as “overlined with dark, spicy lip liner, and filled with a lighter nude.” But if a softer finish is more your speed, it’s essential to look at your skin’s natural undertone when finding a formula. “A nude lipstick shouldn’t cancel out your natural lip colour; it should enhance it,” she adds. If you’re fair, reach for something with a bit of pigment to avoid washing out the complexion, whereas medium complexions have a little more flexibility to shift up or down. Darker skin fares well with sheer formulas that are slightly lighter than the natural lip, as they’ll reflect light and give the illusion of fullness.”
As for application, Filomena recommends tailoring your technique with the look you’re going for: “For a sharp result, always line the lip before and afterwards, and tidy with concealer or a detail brush as needed. However, if a modern ‘is she or isn’t she’ finish is what you’re chasing, apply straight from the bullet, and then pat beyond the lip contour for a soft-focus, blurred effect.” Need a reference point? Filomena calls out Chanel muse Lily-Rose Depp as a modern nude lip poster girl.
Les Accords de Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour comes in 12 flattering hues to pick and choose from, ranging from soft pinks to rich chocolate. The lineup is also categorised into ‘rosy’ and ‘golden’, so you can find a formula that’s in line with your colouring.
These principles extend to the hands; the right shade of nude can soften skin tone and elongate the fingers, whereas the wrong one can look all kinds of unflattering. Such was the approach when creating the 12 shades found within the Fall/Winter collection – so that everyone could find a polish that worked. “I love the feminine variety of the shades,” explains Chanel manicurist Jocelyn Petroni. “I love the way they enhance the natural beauty of our hands, whilst maintaining a chic and refined finish.” The range can be used to create a classic shape, or as a means to update another iconic ’90s beauty moment: the French manicure. A short nail bed and rich chocolate tip give it a modern edge, whilst still feeling wonderfully nostalgic.
From supermodel chic to Chanel, neutral tones are still a beauty mainstay – and for many men and women, a form of daily armour. There’s something empowering about makeup that adds to the way we look without inherently changing it, especially when it’s worn across lips, nails and skin. Chanel’s Fall/Winter 2022 Collection is the perfect embodiment of this new way to do neutral – a line that pays homage to makeup’s history but with a modern twist. And one that’s guaranteed to shift and evolve for decades to come.