GIVENCHY The Stellar Reflection - Interview with Nicolas Degennes for Tirade Book #7

Nicolas Degennes is one of those daring people who simply refuse to be pigeonholed. Between France and the United States he studied theatre, music, art and photography, but it is in another field altogether that he found his way: Makeup. During his initial training at the Chauveau school studying special effects, stage and cinema makeup, he acquired the artistic precision and speed that would become the hallmark of his style.

After almost 15 years at Givenchy, he who says he would like “to keep on surprising and being surprised" goes on tirelessly pushing back the limits of what is possible.

Words + Interview by FAROUK CHEKOUFI

Portrait Nicolas Degennes 2015

Portrait Nicolas Degennes 2015

WHEN DID YOUR FASCINATION WITH MAKEUP BEGIN? It started when I was 5 or 6 years old, I developed this obsession at the same time my fascination for materials, textures and painting grew.

YOU CREATE SUCH ICONIC DESIRABLE PRODUCTS, FROM WHERE DO YOU TAKE INSPIRATIONS FOUR TIMES A YEAR? I take my inspirations from everywhere, it has no limits. It comes from painting, people, the human being, my trips, etc... This interaction with people is for me very important, looking at their behaviour, at what they are and imagine what they could be: this is where everything happens.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE AT GIVENCHY FOR THE LAST DECADE? It is the most amazing personal experience. It was wonderful to start from nothing and to create what Givenchy's makeup division represents today, worldwide. I am extremely proud. In fact, if there is a word that can describe my experience at Givenchy, it is pride.

TODAY GIVENCHY FASHION WITH RICCARDO TISCI, BECOMES ONE OF THE MOST WANTED BRANDS AROUND THE WORLD, HOW DO YOU COLLABORATE WITH GIVENCHY FASHION? We take our inspiration from Givenchy Couture’s textures, materials and outfits for example for the packaging and we benefit on a daily basis from Ricardo Tisci’s creations. That’s why we have a lipstick collection designed with leather and a new line called Les Saisons which represents a travel through time. Regarding the colours, it is much more complicated since I am currently working on the 2018 collection while Fashion is working on a shorter time frame.

WHAT IS YOUR BEST EVER PRODUCT THAT YOU CREATED FOR GIVENCHY? There is always a fascinating product in each of my collections. The product that made me smile the most and which I had the most fun creating was an ink for eyelashes which was a topcoat for the mascara. Of course there was also Le Rouge which had a matte texture, the Prisme Libre has always fascinated me as well. You will discover our new makeup line very soon and rediscover new textures such as silk. What I am really proud of is what you haven’t seen yet.

LUXURIOUS AND INDEED VERY ‘NOIR COUTURE,’ DID YOU PLAN FOR THIS HUGE SUCCESS AROUND THE WORLD? When we are an artistic creative director we are working while always having a vision of success. I work to please women. Of course I dream everyday of a huge success for the next Givenchy products.

DO YOU WORK ON GIVENCHY MAKEUP DISPLAYS? Of course, I am aware of everything.

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE THE GIVENCHY FEMME TODAY? She has a will, she is chic, elegant and at the same time strict. Givenchy’s strength resides in the fact that we are not trying to characterise Givenchy in a rigid and very couture way, it can be mixed with a prêt à porter collection and can be worn with jeans. Givenchy couture is accessible and at the same time distant. This is how Givenchy succeeds in creating an image of couture while carrying some sort of liberty and freedom.

WHAT IS YOUR VISION OF GIVENCHY FASHION TODAY? I love Givenchy fashion. I love the use of the star as one of Ricardo’s symbols, to be a star, to feel like a star or even wearing one. This symbol is full of messages.

Portrait Nicolas Degennes 2015

Portrait Nicolas Degennes 2015

All photos courtesy of Givenchy.