The French makeup artist is a maestro-in-the-making.
Written By Evelyn Crowley
ARTIST PROFILE: Violette - The innovative French makeup artist |  #VioletGrey, The Industry's Beauty Edit


“Makeup must be your best ally and never your competitor,” says Violette Serrat, a makeup artist and native Parisian. “I want people to say, ‘You look amazing,’ and not ‘Your makeup looks amazing.’” Violette, who does not use her surname professionally, is known for her bold color palette, inventive use of texture and an overall daring style that takes after such great editorial talents as Pat McGrath and Val Garland. A former art student, Violette also has a painterly eye, but she is careful not to let it steal the show. (She prefers to let her stunning clients, like Léa Seydoux and Natalia Vodianova, steal it instead.)

The daughter of a famous French hairstylist and hair and makeup agent, Violette spent her formative years on set with photographers like Paolo Roversi and Mario Testino, observing the creative alchemy that transpires on a fashion shoot. After high school, she set out to be a painter, enrolling in the prestigious École de Louvre in Paris. However, she quickly realized that not only was her glamorous early education in the fashion world hard to top, but she also preferred her canvas to have a pulse. It was then that Violette decided to make a name (albeit, a single name only) for herself in the makeup world instead.

Today, Violette’s work can be found on the red carpet around the globe and in the pages of such prestigious fashion publications as French Vogue and CR Fashion Book (editor Carine Roitfeld is a mentor). Dior recruited her as an international makeup artist, and she has a Valentino ad campaign to her credit. When not jetting around the globe for work, she can be found at home in New York with her photographer partner Steven Pan and arsenal of red lipstick. 


Here, Violette shares a recent look she executed for the red carpet (Lea Seydoux) and runway (Leonard), respectively, and discusses the necessities that are integral to her life as a makeup artist.
ARTIST PROFILE: Violette X Lea Seydoux |  #VioletGrey, The Industry's Beauty Edit

Violette did a cerulean blue eye to match actress Lea Seydoux's dress at the 39th Cesar Film Awards, Rindoff Petroff / Hekimian / GETTY IMAGES

Cire Trudon candles, chocolates from Patrick Roger, a bottle of Cigalus (organic white wine), Gianvito Rossi shoes, and any Emily Brontë novel.
Italian Renaissance and Pop Art, David Bowie, Japan, Wassily Kandinsky, Helmut Newton, Surrealism (especially Man Ray), the color of a sunset, David Lynch.
Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream. Oh My Cream is a beauty concept store in Paris that’s full of cool drugstore discoveries.
ARTIST PROFILE: Violette x The Leonard |  #VioletGrey, The Industry's Beauty Edit

Violette executed a smoky undereye and nude lip combination for the Leonard Fall/Winter 2014-2015 Show in Paris, Dominique Charriau / Getty Images

Joelle Ciocco the best of the best. She is the only one who I let touch my skin.
I use my fingers to massage my face for three minutes with La Roche-Posay’s Physiological Cleansing Milk and then rinse it off with a lot of water. I apply selenium or magnesium on my face directly with my hand so my skin can really drink it in. For night cream, I use Oxelio Topique gel. Once a week, I apply a calamine mask. And once a month I use a very soft scrub. I don’t believe in using a lot of products or doing too many facials. I think it can be more aggressive than good for the skin.
Cécile Cotten’s anti-aging massage is incredible. She studied martial arts in Japan for 25 years. Her hands are magic. I also think my lifestyle makes a difference. I don’t smoke or drink coffee. I run two to three hours a week, and I love TRX training and yoga. In terms of diet, I don’t eat gluten or lactose, and I stick to only natural sugar. I also stay away from anything acidic (i.e., tomatoes, vinegar). This helps your liver function better and leads to better skin, eye color, hair. You’ll also sleep better and have more energy. That said, sometimes it’s good to let go and eat a pizza.
The night I spent at the Six Senses resort in Samui, Thailand. Everything there is open to the nature. My husband and I stayed in a treetop villa overlooking the ocean. We could feel the air on our skin, hear the sounds of water and catch glimpses of all the indigenous animals. That hotel is paradise.
The perfect harmony between body and mind. What you feel will show, and this is when you are the most beautiful.
Even though I’ve never met her, I really respect and admire Pat McGrath. Carine Roitfeld has incredible talent, vision and instinct. She puts a lot of trust into young artists and makes you want to get better at what you do.
M.A.C. Ruby Woo lipstick, Tom Ford’s Brow Pencil, Dior Iconic Overcurl Mascara, Bobbi Brown Blush in Nectar, and any vitamin D cream for the lips. [See Violette's travel essentials here.]


She's So VIolet: Chanel Iman
In this striking character study, Violette turns the model into three iconic beauties from decades past.