The phrase "less is more" certainly applies to Serge Lutens' make-up line. Black lacquer, geometric lines with super discreet branding. And the packaging isn't just aesthetically brilliant, each product has a splendid weight that one can only associate with luxury. And the make-up itself? A highly-edited collection of essentials – "most women wear too much make-up" says Lutens. Launched in collaboration with Shiseido in 2005, the range includes foundation, blusher, eyeshadow, mascara, 10 shades of bullet-shaped lipstick and nail varnish. Lutens' personal favourite is the kohl eye liner – "an answer to what I have been looking for years. It took 10 years to perfect. It is like a pencil without a led that gives you very defined eyes for a long lasting look. There is no problem if you make a mistake thanks to the applicator. Personally I like to wear it in the traditional way – on top of my eyelids."
French-born Lutens began his career as a hair-stylist aged 14, an experience which he describes as crucial to his appreciation of beauty in three dimensions. He later moved into make-up and was commissioned by Christian Dior to launch their make-up line in 1967. As well as a prolific career in art-directing award-winning beauty campaigns, Lutens went on to launch his eponymous beauty line, consisting of luxury perfumes and make-up. The design of the make-up line has its roots in Lutens' inaugural, now-legendary fragrance, Nombre Noir, created for Shiseido in 1982. A black octagonal glass Chinese bottle nestled in exquisitely folded black origami.
"For exclusive people who cherish exquisite products rather than have lot of ugly things on their bedside. Rare is for rare people"
The prices for the refillable products – £113.50 for foundation and £54.00 for lipstick – are justified by the years of research that beauty and perfection demand. "Being demanding has a price", explains Lutens. "Distribution is extremely selective, targeting exclusive people who cherish exquisite products rather than have lot of ugly things on their bedside. Rare is for rare people."
Selected as AnOther's latest Object of Desire, the Serge Lutens make-up was given to Amsterdam-based photographer Yvonne Lacet, known for her fascination with architecture, modern cityscapes and her handmade paper sculptures. Lacet took the collection of distinct products and created her own Lutens cityscape, with black paper shapes – a delicate contrast to the weighty products. The monochrome palette is central to Lutens work. "Black has protected and shaped me. Armour; determination or mask, black has always been a part of me", he says. "Black is also the colour of pride. It is different from taste. It's a need, a frame, something unfinished. It has a hold of me".
Text by Laura Bradley