PARIS — Heidi Morawetz, the famed makeup artist who conceived some of Chanel’s best-known beauty products and worked with photographers such as Guy Bourdin, died on Aug. 9. She was 79 years old.
“Heidi Morawetz, known for her innate sense of color and elegance, passed away,” Chanel tweeted. “She created The Rouge Noir and Le Blanc de Chanel. Her vision of beauty will remain indelibly linked with Chanel history.”
Morawetz helmed Chanel’s makeup division with Dominique Moncourtois for almost three decades before retiring from the company in January 2008.
In 1980, Morawetz was hired by Moncourtois, then international director of makeup creation, to be the director of Chanel’s makeup creation studio. A graduate of the School of Art and Design and the School of Fashion Design in Vienna, Morawetz spent more than a decade working with leading photographers, such as Bourdin, Helmut Newton and Patrick Demarchelier.
In the Seventies, with Bourdin, she worked on campaigns including — notably — the surreal images for Charles Jourdan. That led to her being asked to create Yves Saint Laurent’s first makeup line, out in 1978.
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Morawetz was born in Vienna in 1939.
Peter Philips, the makeup artist who succeeded Morawetz and Moncourtois at Chanel, paid tribute to her in a tweet. “Besides being an amazing makeup artist and makeup creator, she was the most beautiful person inside and out. For over 30 years, Heidi worked next to Dominique Moncourtois at Chanel, before that, she was at the start of the YSL makeup line in its early days. She worked with the greatest, Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton, Sarah Moon, Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent…to name a few.
“When I did my first steps in makeup creation, she took me under her wings and I couldn’t have wished for a better mentor,” continued Philips, who is now with Dior.
In 2011, Philips interviewed Morawetz for a feature in Interview magazine, which described how she, with Moncourtois and Karl Lagerfeld, “pioneered the idea that cosmetics could be just as fashionable as clothes.”
“In the process, they masterminded some of Chanel’s most memorable products, among them Rouge Noir, released in the U.S. as Vamp, which was invented on the fly backstage before the 1994 autumn ready-to-wear collection, a story that has become the stuff of lore,” he wrote.
Uma Thurman famously wore the nail polish in her leading role in “Pulp Fiction” that year, kicking off the bestseller that endures today.
A private funeral will be held for Morawetz on Aug. 20.