“A little bit Françoise Hardy, a little bit Jean Shrimpton, a little bit Sharon Tate”—that’s how makeup artist Fiona Stiles describes the glam look seen on Emily in Paris star Lily Collins at Wednesday night’s season two premiere. (The series, created by Darren Star, returns to Netflix on December 22, just in time for some much-needed distraction from the Greek alphabet.) These days, it’s particularly easy for the actor to slip into a 1960s homage, thanks to a set of wispy bangs cut last month by hairstylist Gregory Russell. Add a sequined Valentino bubble dress, a bow-adorned headband, and doll-like lashes, and the mod renaissance is complete.
If the show seems to relish its place as a “fluffy, charming cliché souffle,” where do the tropes of classic French beauty fit into the picture? “I mean, it’s never not a reference for me,” says Stiles, speaking by phone shortly after she and Russell prepped Collins at the Los Angeles Edition hotel. “It’s so simple and elegant, and it’s not trying too hard,” she says, referring to the archetypal codes that informed last night’s pared-down look. Plus, she adds, “When you have a dress that’s a big statement, you want to factor in how the makeup compliments it and works with it”—which, in this case, meant addition by subtraction.
As all Parisian grand-mères might say, good skin care is the starting point—a tenet reflected in the new Emily in Paris x Lancôme collection, a meet-cute of essentials that includes an Eiffel Tower–festooned edition of the plumping Génifique serum. “I like to mix it in with a little bit of the foundation, so I can really control the amount of glow that I want,” says Stiles, who applied a light layer of the Teint Idole Ultra Wear along with strategic pinpoints of concealer. “I wanted her to look very fresh, so I actually put the blush placement up quite high, on the top of her cheekbones up towards her eyes”—an effect that gave Collins, a longtime Lancôme ambassador, a flush reminiscent of the premiere’s wall of pink roses. A dusting of faintly shimmery powder lent a “really beautiful dimensional sheen to the cheeks,” adds Stiles.
For the eyes, it was all about matte definition. Using the brand’s kohl liner, Stiles first sketched along the eyelid crease—“They call it a banane kind of shape”—using a cotton swab to soften. The chestnut brown Define shade from the collection’s heart-shaped palette further sculpted the sockets; a hit of the champagne-colored Illuminate followed on top. “I wanted the lightness to bring that part of the eye forward and then the darkness to pull it back, so you’re really playing with chiaroscuro,” she says. It all set the stage for a Twiggy-esque double swipe of Monsieur Big mascara (over clear primer for good measure). “The lashes are what make it feel a little extra.”