When any beauty enthusiast with an iPhone and access to YouTube tutorials can amass a dedicated online following, it’s easy to forget that half of the term “makeup artist” refers to a certain creative sensibility when it comes to wielding color cosmetics. And speaking of artistry, no fashion brand has infused creative whimsy into its designs quite like Gucci. And if you can see where we’re going here: Gucci Beauty is back and better than ever before with London-bred Thomas de Kluyver on board as the brand’s Global Makeup Artist.
“I got a call six months ago being like, ‘Alessandro Michele wants to meet you tomorrow,'” de Kluyver exclusively tells Allure. “I was in New York, and he was in L.A., so I hopped on a plane to L.A.,”
The rest, as they say, is history. In his new role as global makeup artist, the self-taught de Kluyver works directly with Michele on looks for campaigns and runway shows — a creative match made in heaven. “I’m always wanting to use makeup to express yourself,” he says. “I think that’s where the connection [with Michele] works really well; because we’re trying to create individual characters, and that’s exactly the same thing Alessandro does with clothes.”
If all that weren’t enough, de Kluyver also has his hands full with the arrival of Gucci Beauty, Michele’s latest chef d’œuvre. The range encompasses a range of 58 luxe lipsticks in a variety of finishes. (According to the brand, “new chapters for the other elements of the face will debut soon.”) Thirty-six of the lipsticks are a satin formula that de Kluyver describes as “creamy and velvety with strong color payoff,” 18 are a sheer voile texture, and four balms (three tinted, one clear) round out the collection.
True to form, the packaging and shade range utterly scream Michele. “There’s this real connection with old-Hollywood glamour, and you can see that in the style of the packaging and the displays on the counters,” de Kluyver explains. “The star shade is a shade called Goldie Red, which is Alessandro’s favorite red. It’s not too blue, not too orange.”
In the spirit of the brand’s unabashed approach to makeup, all of the lipsticks can be used on the cheeks as well, with a select few suitable for eyes, too. “For the [Pre-Fall 2019] campaign, we just painted Crystal Black on models’ eyes, straight from the bullet,” de Kluyver says. The result: an inky, lived-in black liner look that only hints at the debauchery from the night before. A similar directive went for the Fall 2019 runway show, where models walked in a variety of singular looks — and not a drop of foundation on their skin. “We just wash the face and add a tiny bit of moisturizer,” he says of the look. “We leave all the spots and everything like that. I find that beautiful.”
We can’t wait to see what dreamy looks de Kluyver will concoct for the brand (including its upcoming Cruise 2020 show, at the end of this month in Rome), but what we know we can expect is a continuation of the youthquake, come-as-you-are ethos — something that de Kluyver’s work embodies.
“I want [makeup] to be used in a positive way, and I think we’re going in a really positive direction with beauty,” he says. “I think we’re in a moment now where you’re able to be as free and original as you like. It’s not about hiding behind a mask of makeup — it’s about feeling empowered.”
The Gucci Beauty collection is currently available at gucci.com, and launches May 6 at New York City’s Saks Fifth Avenue flagship, followed by saks.com on May 29.