Estee Lauder Hires YouTube Make-up Star Violette
American cosmetics and fragrance manufacturer Estee Lauder, recently announced YouTube make-up sensation Violette Serrat, known professionally as only Violette, as their new global beauty director. The 33-year-old Parisienne, now based in Brooklyn, New York, has taken over the role from renowned make-up artist Tom Pecheux.
Utilizing social media, she will work closely on Estee Lauder’s product development, digital content creation and consumer education. Her signature YouTube make-up tutorial channel, which has nearly three million views and some 100,000 subscribers, makes her a good fit for the company, which is trying to inject some glamour back into the brand after discontinuing Estee Edit, its millennial targeted sister brand fronted by Kendall Jenner.
Art and Fashion Beginnings
Violette’s mother was a famous French hairstylist and her father, her mother’s agent. So, Violette spent her formative years being privy to the behind-the-scenes magic of many fashion shoots, although at this time she was originally interested in art. After completion of secondary school, she set out to be a painter and enrolled in Paris’s prestigious, Ecole du Louvre. She studied both painting and fashion design, however, it wasn’t long before she discovered that her interests lay primarily in the fashion world and she took to make-up artistry instead.
Violette’s interest in art, however, has helped shape her as a make-up artist as well. At art school she says she was heavily influenced by the Italian Renaissance period, where she could see blue, red, and gold coming through the translucently painted skin. Moving to make-up, she wondered how she could make that kind of skin for people. “I could stay for hours looking at the paintings and trying to understand how I could make that skin for real people,” she says. “Now I try to replicate that look in make-up.”
Violette began to use make-up as her way of expressing herself creatively and brought that idea to her YouTube channel. Her videos, which are lauded as being simple, glamourous, and fun with titles such as, ‘my Bardot look’ and ‘the French kissed look,’ show application of different mediums without much fuss. Violette uses her fingers and doesn’t cover her face in foundation. “Even when I put make-up on a woman, it has to be because she’s a source of inspiration,” Violette told Harper’s Bazaar. “She never disappears behind it, she is celebrated.”
As director for Estee Lauder, Violette says she wants to mix her love of art and the effortless flair of the French into the brand. Assuring the public that it won’t be generic, she hopes to redefine how women approach and understand make-up. She wants the beauty industry to move towards more of an acceptance of what people look like, using make-up to cover flaws, rather than trying to change the whole look of their face.
Focusing on texture, intense colors and high-quality products, Violette says she is not interested in trends and focused instead on spreading Estee Lauder’s vision. We need to forget about trends and have products that allow women to express themselves and have no boundaries, Violette says. Estee Lauder was not about selling products, but rather about creating looks. She was an American icon, and a business woman back when women in business were not accepted Violette says. She was a visionary. Although she died in 2004, Lauder’s influence still governs the company. She co-founded the company with her husband Joseph Lauter, and was the only woman to appear on Time magazine’s 1998 list of 20 of the world’s most influential business leaders of the 20th century.
Perhaps following in Estee Lauder’s footsteps, Violette says she hopes one day to create her own brand. She is already making her own products to use on set, but has not patented anything yet. Meanwhile, Violette’s work can be found on red carpet celebrities around the globe, and in the pages of French Vogue and CR Fashion Book; former French Vogue editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld being an early inspiration to her. Having worked as an international make-up artist for Dior, Violette has also cosmetically styled a Valentino ad campaign, and worked for beauty brands Sephora and La Mer.