PARIS — Chanel’s color guard is set to change.
Lucia Pica was named Monday as the house’s global creative makeup and color designer. She is due to start the role on Jan. 1.
The news came almost one year after Peter Philips left the Chanel post, in February 2013. Since then, an in-house team has conceived the brand’s makeup, which already is a top seller in the world’s prestige segment.
For the past six years, Italian-born Pica has been freelancing, putting her stamp on editorial work, magazine covers and advertising campaigns for the likes of British Vogue and A.P.C. She has also led makeup artist teams backstage at fashion shows including Ohne Titel — where earlier this year she crafted balmy, holographic skin on models.
Tom Pecheux has overseen the makeup for Chanel’s catwalk presentations since Philip’s departure.
Said one industry source of Pica’s nomination: “I think it’s great, because often new blood is overlooked [in favor of] the names that we all know and love. I’m not surprised that they named someone [to the position]; it’s part of the branding effort, particularly when it comes to makeup, to have a person who really leads the force.”
Another source noted: “I think the importance of naming a makeup artist to the job is that it creates a perfect balance with the immovable solidity of status inherent in the brand and gives it a blast.”
“I understand the rationale of appointing a global creative director and designer to maintain the integrity of the Chanel brand,” added Charles DeCaro, co-owner and creative director of branding agency Laspata DeCaro. “That said, to be perfectly honest, I believe the average consumer would not have a clue as to who Lucia Pica — or Philips for that matter — is. Ultimately, the product and dialogue with the consumer trumps everything, regardless of who’s navigating the waters.”
Chanel already has a proven track record. According to the most recent WWD Beauty Inc Top 100 listing, the brand’s prestige makeup tied for top rank worldwide in 2013. Chanel was nail-category leader and second in the lip segment. Its makeup revenues advanced 8 percent, boosted by eye and face products — notably the launches of Le Volume and Les Beiges.
Privately held Chanel does not publish numbers, but industry sources estimated its entire 2013 beauty business — including makeup, skin care and fragrance — was 4.4 billion euros, or $5.84 billion at average exchange for the period. That placed the company at number nine in the Top 100 listing, following directly behind Beiersdorf and Johnson & Johnson and in front of Kao Corp. and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
A source suggested Pica should focus on creating Chanel makeup that appeals to the younger set, similar to how Karl Lagerfeld has in the label’s recent fashion collections included designer sneakers and backpacks worn by Millennial stars such as Cara Delevingne and Kendall Jenner.