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The French makeup artist acts as creative director on an insect-inspired beauty story with
photographer-partner Steven Pan.
Written By Christine Whitney
Photography By Steven Pan
Makeup By Violette
Hair By Dennis Gots
Nails By Elisa Wishan
Styled By Turner
Original Look: Eyeshadow a study in color with Violette | THE VIOLET FILES | @violetgrey
Original Look: Eyeshadow a study in color with Violette | THE VIOLET FILES | @violetgrey

Butterflies and beetles from Violette's collection, which served as inspiration for the shoot.

BEAUTY CREDITS (FOR ABOVE)
“They have these amazing metallic shades that reflect the light,” says makeup artist Violette, describing the butterflies and beetles in her insectarium. “It’s like the colors are alive, vibrating.” Paris-born Violette, who moved to New York City this year, was recently reunited with her collection—culled from Evolution in Soho and Parisian marché aux puces—when the taxidermied bugs arrived in the mail at her New York office. Et voilà—the inspiration for her Violet Files story. “Those colors have such a strong effect on me,” she says. “And when we wear them, they really bring something magical to the face.”
To best channel bugs into beauty, Violette focused her attentions on the eyes, which—unlike any other feature—can have several distinct looks, depending on whether they are open, closed, or somewhere in between. “It’s not like a red lipstick you will see all the time,” she says. “I find it pretty mysterious when a woman has very strong makeup on, but you can only see it when she blinks. You want to know more about her.” Photographer Steven Pan, Violette’s romantic partner and collaborator, adds that his objective was to “highlight the colors but not in an overwhelming way. I tried to keep some of the mood and mystery.” Below, notes on Violette’s story and creations.

BURGUNDY
MYSTIQUE


Original Look: Eyeshadow a study in color with Violette | THE VIOLET FILES | @violetgrey
BEAUTY CREDITS
On the importance of burgundy...
“I never used burgundy eyeshadow until I was on a shoot with Demi Moore. It was early in my career, and she asked me to do her makeup with burgundy. I was thought, “Really?” But when I put it on her it was incredible how it intensified her eye color.” —Violette
Violette’s Tip
“For fall and even winter, try smoky burgundy eyeshadow instead of brown. But make sure to choose a dark metallic version so you’re not wearing a red eye—it’s much more sophisticated.”

GREEN
ENVY



Original Look: Eyeshadow a study in color with Violette | THE VIOLET FILES | @violetgrey
BEAUTY CREDITS
On how it isn’t easy being green...
“In nature, green is a very powerful color, but wearing it as makeup is complicated. For this look, I did a dark color to create a base, like a tree, and then glued some very green glitter on the lid. When she blinks, it’s like a spotlight on the eye.” —Violette
Violette’s Tip
Let the eyes speak for themselves. “I prefer one beauty statement on the face that is its own look—it’s a way to not disappear behind your makeup. To make the eye pop, for example, keep the rest of the makeup quiet with nude lipstick and subtle blush.”

BLUE
EYES


Original Look: Eyeshadow a study in color with Violette | THE VIOLET FILES | @violetgrey
BEAUTY CREDITS
On the blues...
“The butterflies in Violette’s collection have wings that are this beautiful, ever-changing shade of blue. Depending on the angle and the light they can go from a light blue, almost silver, to a rich, intense blue. So she wanted to try and re-create this shimmer with an eyeshadow. My challenge was to capture these tones and this quality.” —Steven Pan

“I like a simple color. There are so many things I’ve done with purple and gold, but there is something very chic about blue by itself.” —Violette    
Violette’s Tip
If you’re trying your hand at blue shadow, choose different shades. “Use one dark and the other very bright to create dimension on the eye. Colors react by contrast, so you can have a more vibrant effect if you work with different tones of the same hue.”

BEHIND THE
scenes

A snapshot of the artists at work on their shoot for The Violet Files.
Original Look: Eyeshadow a study in color with Violette | THE VIOLET FILES | @violetgrey
Violette paints model Ali Stephens’ eyelids in front of the open studio door downtown. “The story is about a woman who’s going out and wants to be seductive without being too obvious—it’s more magnetic,” she explains.
Original Look: Eyeshadow a study in color with Violette | THE VIOLET FILES | @violetgrey
Violette recently relocated to New York from Paris for love, and she and partner Steven Pan clearly have great synergy on set. “With us since we are so close, the best part is there is no bullshit. We both respect each other immensely and can be totally honest. If something’s not working we can be direct—there is no political correctness to worry about,” Pan says.
Original Look: Eyeshadow a study in color with Violette | THE VIOLET FILES | @violetgrey
The way Violette lays her tools on the table is an art form unto itself. Known for her custom-blending skills, she works with a vast and very well-organized palette. One of the best moments of the shoot was when she dropped one of her glitter pots, strewing the studio floor with sparkles. “I like when there's some sort of mistake about the makeup,” she asserts. 

MEET 
VIOLETTE

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