After stints in fashion design and fine arts, Violette Serrat finally found her calling in makeup. “Colours have a story to tell,” she says when I reach her over Zoom. The professional makeup artist is a social-media sensation, heads her own makeup line, Violette FR, and, following sought-after gigs at Dior, Sephora, Estée Lauder and La Mer, is now the creative director of makeup at Guerlain. It’s a tailor-made role for Serrat, who sees the luxury house as a part of French heritage. “It’s as if Guerlain had participated in writing the history of France,” says the Paris native, who now lives in New York. “Ours was one of the first buildings on the Champs-Élysées, and our brand created the first lipstick in a tube. It’s incredible! We even had a Guerlain street in France. I wish we could get it back!”

Her love for the brand goes way back. As a child, she would  admire the case containing the Météorites light-reflecting complexion pearls that all the women around her used, knowing that the day she had one, she would finally be grown-up. “It made such an impression on me,” she says. “To think that now I’m working on a new version of this cult product that will be released in a few years… With today’s technology, I’m going to succeed in creating the kind of illuminating aura that the founders of Météorites wanted in the first place.” To achieve this, Serrat is evaluating how each pearl bead is composed and how the pigments work. “I won’t get a second chance to relaunch Météorites, so I don’t want to mess up!”

Serrat sees her role as being much like that of a designer in a fashion house. “I create collections and analyze our brands’ products—like foundations and powders—to ensure that everything we create is of the highest quality,” she says.

“For me, Guerlain is really an haute couture beauty house. The products are still handmade—who still works like that?”

According to Serrat, shadows and pigments are an extension of our emotions, our mental state, our moods and our subconscious. “I don’t care about trends!” she exclaims. “I see makeup in a completely different way, aesthetically speaking. My philosophy is [that we should] use beauty to celebrate ourselves and learn to love ourselves as we are.” This way of looking at things is in line with her vision of French beauty. “I remember going to supermarkets when I was little and seeing women with gorgeous red lips, and I would think, ‘Oh, yeah, they’re not doing that for others—they’re just shopping, but they want to feel good!’ That translates to the end result, which then always looks more effortless.”

Serrat draws her inspiration mainly from nature, art and textiles. “I regularly go to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, where I look like a grandmother who takes pictures of everything and takes copious notes,” she says. “[I’m also inspired by] sunsets, fish, birds, butterflies… In fact, we’re going to be doing a lot of nature-based design with Guerlain. On the artistic side, I’m fascinated by [the colour] Klein Blue—I’m developing something with that for Violette FR.

What beauty looks does she have in mind for summer? “Barefaced, if possible, because it’s hard to wear foundation with sweat and the excess sebum caused by humidity,” she says. “I love to apply Terracotta bronzing powder, which gives skin a healthy glow without the harsh effects of UV rays. I follow it with KissKiss Bee Glow Tint Balm, which is amazing because it’s a moisturizing, nourishing, lightly pigmented super-wearable balm, and then some illuminator and a little mascara. I love this look!”


KissKiss Bee Glow Tint Balm in 309 Honey Glow, Guerlain


“I always have a KissKiss on hand. My favourite shade is Honey Glow.”

Price: $50 (Shop)

Rouge G High-Pigmentation Velvet Matte in 880 Ruby Red, Guerlain 


“I was a little skeptical when I arrived at Guerlain and was introduced to this new formula, but when I tried it, I was truly speechless. It has a velvety matte texture, and it’s a breeze to apply.”

Price: $42 for the lipstick and $28-$46 for the case (Shop/Shop)

Yeux Paint Liquid Eyeshadow + Liner in Cuivre de l’Aube, Violette FR


“I wear makeup to suit my mood, so I love my Paint Eyeshadow, which I can apply as I please.”

Price: $38 (Shop)