Behind-the-Scenes: CHANEL Makeup Artist Julie Cusson on Creating a Vibrant Summer Beauty Look

When it comes to summer beauty, there’s an increasing call to stir away from heavy makeup in favour of weightless products that allow natural beauty to shine through. With this in mind, we set out to devise a beauty look that captured the vibrant spirit of Manchester, all the while complementing CHANEL’s latest Métiers d’Art collection. Here, CHANEL’s Makeup Artist Julie Cusson reveals her favourite summer beauty staples, shooting in Manchester, and why you shouldn’t be intimidated by colour-forward mascara.

How did it feel shooting in Manchester?

“It was my first time in Manchester and this trip was really exciting! Having the chance to create this photo session in historic places like Victoria Baths and Salford Lads Club was a rich experience; the colours on the walls, ceramics and the architecture were really inspiring.”

The collection celebrates CHANEL’s signature codes, as well as Manchester’s deep musical roots. What elements from the collection informed your approach for the beauty look?

“For the CHANEL 2023/24 Métiers d’art collection Virginie Viard, Creative Director of CHANEL, explained, ‘Tweed is central to this collection. I thought a lot about Gabrielle Chanel but I didn’t want to recreate Coco’s look, when she was wearing the Duke of Westminster’s jackets. I took my cue from the Coco who brought colour to her tweeds. I added a vibrant, pop spirit to them.’ This idea behind the collection was my starting point; my approach, my inspiration. For this photo shoot, I used colours like soft pastel green, and orangy-red on the eyes for the beauty look.”

Laura really has an effortless glow to her complexion. What did you use to prep Laura’s skin for this shoot?

“Keeping the essence of natural beauty or creating effortless natural glow requires important steps. First, for Laura, to smooth and nourish the skin, I chose to apply N°1 de CHANEL Revitalizing Eye Cream under the eyes and I prepped her skin with N°1 de CHANEL Revitalizing Serum. Then, I mixed N°1 de CHANEL Rich Revitalizing Cream with 2 drops of Sublimage L’Extrait to provide extra radiance. I then applied Le Blanc La Base Légère as a makeup base because I like the sheer finish and its delicate rosy tone, it also evens the complexion. With my fingers, I dabbed Le Blanc Brightening Concealer Stick under the eyes. To keep the glow and her freckles visible, I used Les Beiges Water-Fresh Tint for this bare skin effect. And last, to complete the complexion I applied Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sun-Kissed Powder in Light Coral to naturally warm up Laura’s cheeks and illuminate her face.”

Ombre Essentielle collection is available in a range of beautiful hues. Can you talk about the colour or colours you chose for this look?

“The new Ombre Essentielle collections offers 14 new shades and is based on the idea of creating a monochromatic eye makeup look. Meaning with only one shade of eyeshadow you can accentuate, structure or intensify the eyes. The collection offers shades in matte, satin and metallic. They also pair with colourful mascara: orangey-red, lilac, and brick brown. So, from the same colour palette you can create continuity from the eyelid to the tip of the lashes or create contrast. For Laura, I chose to create contrast and accentuate her gaze by using a pastel green shade Jade Facetté on the eyelid and orangey-red Noir Allure mascara shade 57 Orange Bruni.”

Colour-forward mascara can be intimidating. And even though the addition of mascara to this beauty look is quite directional, it still feels approachable. How did you achieve this balance?

“Noir Allure mascara creates volume, length, curl, and definition. Having it in colour is very approachable as it will just add a hint of colour to the lashes naturally. By using a unique shade of eyeshadow on your eyes and colour mascara on the lashes, it brings a nice balance by creating complicity between the eyeshadow and the mascara; especially if you use it from the same palette. When you use colour with simplicity, you cannot do a faux pas! But you can also play with contrast by using an eyeshadow with a colour mascara that is not from the same colour family, such as the pastel green eyeshadow and orangey-red mascara that I used for this photo shoot. This will naturally reveal the beauty of the eye colour and create harmony. “

As we move into the summer season, what are three hero products you’ll be carrying in your beauty bag?

“Hydra Beauty Micro Sérum Lèvres. This is not a lip balm but a lip serum that feels like water on the lips because of the microfluidic technology behind this product. This serum plumps, hydrates, and repairs lips because of ingredients like white camellia and hyaluronic acid. This product saves me all the time, I simply love it!

From Les Beiges collection, in limited edition for this summer, a must is Les Bieges Healthy Glow Sun-Kissed Powder. There are five different trios to cover all complexions, each harmony consists of 3 luminous shades. I love blending the stripes together to create a sun-kissed makeup look; also sometimes, I use the colours separately on the face to warm up the cheeks, bringing radiance and definition.

From Ombre Essentielle my favourite shades for this summer are Jade Facetté (the shade that I used for Laura), Lilas Poudré, Rouge Cosmos, Rose Charnel and Quartz Fumé.”

View the gallery below to shop the products.

Photography by Alexis Belhumeur
Model: Laura Rudd (Select Model Management)
Styling by Sahar Nooraei
Hair and Makeup by Julie Cusson for CHANEL Beauty
Casting by Keva Legault
Photo Assistants: Chris Booth and Josh Faithi
Stylist Assistant: Clio Reynolds
All fashion, jewellery, and footwear by CHANEL
Special thanks to Victoria Baths, and Salford Lads and Girls Club