Meet Chanel’s celebrity makeup artists, peek inside their shoppable beauty kits, and view their favorite red carpet looks.
Written By Jess Basser Sanders
Chanel Makeup Artists's Red Carpet Essentials | The Violet Files | @violetgrey


At The Violet Files, we think makeup artists occupy one of the highest echelons of celebrity. From the runways to the red carpet, they’re the ones driving modern ideas of beauty—and, as we know, beauty is power. Nine years ago, Chanel recognized the expansive influence of the industry’s top talents, and became the first in the business to select the crème de la crème to serve as official celebrity makeup artists. This is a fitting partnership, given the house’s storied red carpet history (any Best Dressed list is bound to include a Chanel number—or five).
To celebrate the launch of Chanel at VIOLET GREY, The Violet Files spoke to the house’s celebrity artists about their most memorable red carpet beauty looks (plus their behind-the-scenes stories), as well as the tools and products they never hit the awards circuit without.

Best Chanel

Five Chanel celebrity makeup artists select their favorite looks from the red carpet.
Zoe Kravitz at the LA Premiere of Divergent | Makeup by Kara Yoshimoto Bua | Chanel Makeup Artists's Red Carpet Favorites | The Violet Files | @violetgrey
  • Zoe Kravitz at the Los Angeles premiere of Divergent, 2015 
  • Photo by Jeffrey Mayer / Getty Images
Favorite red carpet look: Zoe Kravitz at the Los Angeles premiere of Divergent, 2015
For the premiere of her blockbuster film, Kravitz wore a lacy off-the-shoulder dress, so Yoshimoto Bua created an ethereal yet modern beauty look. “I envisioned an eye that gave a bit of an edge and brought out Zoe’s beauty without overpowering it,” she says. “Zoe had the idea of an off-white on the lid, and it turned into a reverse cat eye.” Yoshimoto Bua mixed the lightest shade in Chanel’s Les 4 Ombres Eyeshadow palette in Tissé Gabrielle with a little rosewater to paint a highlighted cat eye that stayed strong through the inner eye, then used the charcoal shade to line below the eye and connect with the highlight. Says the artist, “Working with Zoe is always an energized, creative collaboration.”
January Jones at the 2011 Golden Globes | Makeup by Rachel Goodwin | Chanel Makeup Artists's Red Carpet Favorites | The Violet Files | @violetgrey
  • January Jones at the Golden Globe Awards, 2011
  •  Photo by Robyn Beck / Getty Images
Favorite red carpet look: January Jones at the Golden Globe Awards, 2011
This ’90s supermodel–inspired look was on every post-Globes Best of Beauty list in 2011, thanks to January Jones’ longtime makeup artist, Rachel Goodwin. “I wanted her makeup to be unapologetically glamorous,” says Goodwin, “So I amplified her brows and exaggerated her beauty mark.” Goodwin tempered these strong statements, including a glossy red lip—courtesy of Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss in Pirate—with restraint in the rest of the look. She used Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour in N. 40 to enhance Jones’ natural features and keep the face soft. Getting glamorous doesn’t mean Jones isn’t channeling her inner Betty Draper, however. “Without fail, she will always make me laugh on red carpet days by doing some kind of mundane task in her gown before walking out the door,” says Goodwin. “If I recall correctly, that year she took out the garbage on her way to the car!”
Keira Knightley at the NYC Premiere of Anna Karenina | Makeup by Kate Lee | Chanel Makeup Artists's Red Carpet Favorites | The Violet Files | @violetgrey
  • Keira Knightley at the NYC premiere of Anna Karenina, 2012
  • Photo by Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images
Artist: KATE LEE
Favorite red carpet look: Keira Knightley at the NYC premiere of Anna Karenina, 2012 
Kate Lee says she works fairly instinctually. As soon as she saw Keira Knightley’s navy dress for the New York premiere of Anna Karenina in 2012, she knew they could go a little stronger with her beauty look. “I wanted to do something a different than what you would expect,” recalls Lee, “so I opted for an elongating navy liner instead of the upward slanting cat eye. Going against every good girl’s rule to emphasize only one feature, she chased the vibrant doe eye with a glossy red—Chanel’s Rouge Allure Intense Lip Colour in Palpitante—applied casually, without lip liner. Inclement weather meant the red carpet was moved inside, but Lee was delighted with the resulting photographs of Knightley. “It’s rare to get such detailed and beautiful pictures of your work on the carpet,” she says.
Sandra Bullock at the 2010 Oscars | Makeup by Angela Levin | Chanel Makeup Artists's Red Carpet Favorites | The Violet Files | @violetgrey
  • Sandra Bullock at the Oscar Awards, 2010
  • Photo by Frank Trapper / Corbis
Favorite red carpet look: Sandra Bullock at the Oscar Awards, 2010
Angela Levin still recalls the thrill of working with Sandra Bullock the year she was nominated for an Oscar. “She ended up taking the little guy home!” she exclaims. After a long press tour with Bullock, Levin nixed any previous beauty plans they had for Oscar night. “Somehow, I just knew she was going to get an award, and I said, ‘You know what? I think you need to wear a red lip tonight.’” She’ll never forget the particular lipstick—Rouge Coco Hydrating Crème Lip Colour in Paris. “I pulled it out, we first put it on her with no makeup [as a test], and it was so amazing that we just decided to go for it.”
Diane Kruger at the 2013 Met Gala | Makeup by Fulvia Farolfi | Chanel Makeup Artists's Red Carpet Favorites | The Violet Files | @violetgrey
  • Diane Kruger at the Met Gala, 2013
  • Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images
Favorite red carpet look: Diane Kruger at the Met Gala, 2013
Actress Diane Kruger has a reputation for doing most of her own makeup for public appearances, a fact not lost on Fulvia Farolfi, who had the rare opportunity of prepping Kruger for the Met in 2013. “As a model, she worked with the best makeup artists in the world. If she sees someone or something that is not good enough, she will take that brush and use it herself! Thank god that’s never happened with me.” Kruger was wearing a black dress with blue embroidery, her hair pulled back casually and tinged with pink at the ends—a nod to the punk theme of the night. “I decided to do an elongated navy blue eye with some iridescence, without making it scary or unapproachable.” The goal of the night was to make Kruger feel comfortable—but also to have her make an entrance. “You need to at an event like this,” says Farolfi. “You can’t just be wallpaper!”


In polite society, when giving an acceptance speech, REMEMBER to thank your mother and HARVEY Weinstein.
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Get DIane Kruger

Chanel Makeup Artist Kara Yoshimoto Bua shares a step-by-step tutorial on the look she created for actress Diane Kruger’s The Violet Files cover shoot.