MAESTRO of glow
Whether creating make-up looks for fashion shows or conjuring up a new lip shade, Tom Pecheux has one goal in mind.
'First, it's to make the woman look her most beautiful. And afterwards, if you can bring in an accessory - a bright colour, maybe a bright blush, or eyeliner, an interesting eye shadow - that's the creative part,' says the creative make-up director of Estee Lauder. 'But it's important to make a woman look her best and feel comfortable before getting creative. It's really important for a woman to feel confident and great wearing make-up.'
Originally from Chablis, France, Pecheux didn't set out to become one of the world's leading make-up artists. 'It really started by accident,' he says. 'I was a pastry chef but I didn't really enjoy working in the kitchen. One night I went to a party and met a girl who was at make-up school. I didn't even know make-up could be a profession. But something clicked inside my head that this was the career for me.'
Pecheux enrolled in Paris' Ecole des Techniques du Maquillage Artistique Christian Chauveau make-up school, working in theatre and ballet before deciding on a career in fashion. After gaining prominence with the French editions of Marie Claire and Glamour, Pecheux joined forces with two other rising stars of fashion, photographer Mario Testino and former French Vogue editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld.
'We developed a very strong relationship and at that time, when the two key make-up looks were either super made-up or grunge, we created the healthy, natural-looking woman who was rich, playful and beautiful,' he recalls.
Pecheux went on to work with top fashion houses and on shoots with celebrities and supermodels. 'I think the woman who most impressed me was Princess Diana,' says Pecheux, who did her make-up for a 1997 cover for Vanity Fair. 'She was not the most beautiful woman, but she had the most beautiful aura.'
After stints with beauty brands L'Oreal and Shiseido, Pecheux joined Estee Lauder in 2009 to 'help set the artistic direction for the next generation of Estee Lauder make-up'. His influence can be seen in its richly pigmented Pure Color eye shadows and lipsticks.
'I'm helping to create the very latest in beauty products that are fun, playful, sexy and beautiful,' Pecheux says. 'I see myself as a kind of curator of global beauty trends. I am able to contribute first-hand knowledge from around the world and bring new ideas to Est?e Lauder colour products and collections.'
While he continues to collaborate with celebrities and high-profile designers such as Derek Lam, Pecheux still creates with regular women in mind.
'There was a time when I worked in a department store, and I would see women who would carry the pain of the world on their shoulders. Then, with a little bit of make-up, they would walk away feeling so confident and empowered,' he says. 'I think that's something women around the world should always remember - there are no boundaries to being able to look and feel your best.'