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Five minutes with: Tom Pecheux

By Milly Nolan

Tom Pecheux, Estee Lauder's new creative make-up director, talks about the role of cosmetics today, on MiNDFOOD.

How does it feel to be working with Estée Lauder?

Working with Estée Lauder feels like a privilege. It’s fantastic to work with a company completely dedicated to women, which really helps women look and feel their best through great skincare and cosmetics. And that’s what I’m doing as a make-up artist. I’m also working to help women look and feel their absolute best. It’s a great feeling.

What are your impressions of Estée Lauder as a cosmetic brand?

I have always known the brand to deliver the very best products to help women look and feel their best. That’s exactly what a cosmetics brand should do, so I think Estée Lauder is on the right track.

What is your role with Estée Lauder?

My role is to work with various departments including creative, product development and marketing to help create new cosmetics. Technology is always moving forward, and women are always looking for the best and the latest in their products. Now we refer to beauty as a fashion accessory, and fashion is moving very fast.

If a cosmetics company doesn’t move fast, it can get lost in the shuffle. It is essential that a company specialising in beauty is up to speed with the current trends in fashion, and that is precisely why my collaboration with Estée Lauder is such an ideal fit. I’m working with Estée Lauder to help create the very latest in beauty products that are fun, playful, sexy and beautiful.  

What special talent will you bring to the Estée Lauder brand?

I see myself as a kind of ‘curator’ of global beauty trends for the Estée Lauder brand. I am hoping to contribute first-hand knowledge from around the world and bring new ideas to Estée Lauder colour products and collections.

I work with fashion designers, models and editors – on runway shows, ad shoots and editorial – in the US, Europe and Asia, and I am constantly learning and absorbing new ways to maximise colour and make women look their best.

What is it like working with Aerin Lauder?

It’s great, especially because Aerin is such a strong woman. She grew up in the Lauder family, creators of Estée Lauder – so essentially, she is the brand. On top of her leadership role within the company, she is a woman, she is a mother and a wife.

Sometimes celebrities and models can really lose a sense of reality, but Aerin is so down-to-earth and is a role model for women today. She may be a celebrity and a successful business woman, but she also represents reality – she’s a mum with a busy life outside of work as well.  

What is it like working with Hilary Rhoda?

Working with Hilary is incredible. When you first see her strong eyebrows it’s easy to think they will overpower what you can do with the other beautiful features on her face.

However, it’s quite the opposite – you can really play up the eyes with her. She has such amazing features and is so photogenic. You can really have fun with her since she can wear so many different looks so well – whether we make her look bronzed, pale, dramatic or soft. It’s all very playful and so much fun.  

What is your make-up philosophy?

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, a bright lipstick or eyeliner, an interesting eye shadow – that’s the creative part. But it’s important to make a woman look her best and feel comfortable before getting creative.

You may think a woman will look amazing in red lipstick, but if she doesn’t feel at ease with it, she’ll never wear it and she will just look uncomfortable. It’s really important for a woman to feel confident and great wearing make-up.

What are your favourite make-up looks on a woman?

One that suits her perfectly. When I work with someone to create a look for them, and they say, “Thank you for making me look beautiful, I feel amazing,” I really appreciate that. Or when a photographer says, “Wow, she looks fantastic,” it’s really a huge compliment to me because it means I have managed to capture the character and personality of the woman I’m working on, her own inner beauty is reflected outwards.

It’s not about transforming a woman, it’s about staying true to her natural beauty and enhancing it. For me, that’s the best look for a woman and represents the quality of good make-up technique.  

What is your approach when creating runway make-up looks?

When we create looks for fashion shows, we work with all types of women – blonde, brunette, pale skin and dark skin. We create one look for the show and every woman has to fit that look.

And at the end, when the make-up is done correctly, all of the women look beautiful. Sometimes, we talk so seriously about make-up, but it is really meant to be playful – and that’s our goal, to create products that make women around the world dream. 

What is the role of make-up today?

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, suddenly they would walk away feeling so confident and empowered.  They were no longer just a mother, but a woman. I think that’s something women around the world should always remember – there are no borders, no boundaries to being able to look and feel your best.


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