Following the launch of Gucci Makeup in May 2019, with its 58-shade (and growing) lipstick collection, the beauty brand has officially launched its first mascara: Gucci Mascara L’Obscur.
The buildable black mascara has an ultra-rich creamy texture, and comes complete with a flexible elastomer brush, designed with tiny teeth to catch every lash. It also fans, lengthens, and separates each lash. Once it’s applied, it has a long-wearing finish of up to 12 hours, and shouldn't feel dry, smudge, or even flake.
“I designed Mascara L’Obscur for an authentic person who uses makeup to tell their story of freedom, in their way,” Gucci Beauty Creative Director Alessandro Michele said in a statement. And the brand teamed up with punk band Surfbort lead singer Dani Miller and model Mae Lapres for their L’Obscur campaign to emphasize just that.
“When we asked the talents to do the campaign, we looked for somewhat eccentric personalities who really wear their makeup in this way,” he continued. “We called it L’Obscur because this word balances charm and mystery.”
To get the lowdown on the ins and outs of the beauty brand’s latest addition, I met up with Gucci Global Makeup Artist Thomas de Kluyver in a luxe suite at the Sunset Tower Hotel on a sunny afternoon in Los Angeles, Calif.
Kluyver was clad in Gucci from head to toe — a Gucci logo polo shirt tucked under a checked trucker vest, paired with khaki-colored pants and brown Gucci boots — with his great grandmother’s delicate pearl necklace adding a little flair to his ensemble. “I like mixing masculine things with more feminine things,” he said with a wide smile.
His style was a reflection of the beauty brand and Michele’s mantras: to challenge conventions and “create a brave new world where authentic beauty is freedom”, while embracing imperfection and eccentricity.
“So much of Gucci beauty is about identity and gender and blurring those lines, and using makeup as a form of self expression,” de Kluyver said as he talked about working with Miller, whom he considers one of his beauty muses, in the campaign for Mascara L’Obscur. “We were doing makeup on Dani who is in a punk rock band, so I took the mascara and clumped it, because that's who she is.”
“What I think is so great about the Gucci mascara is that you can do anything with it,” he continued. “Whatever mood you're in, this mascara is going to work for that. It's multifaceted. So, I think that’s it's special quality.”
To apply the mascara, de Kluyver uses the brush vertically and horizontally, depending on the finish he wants to achieve. For a classic look, he applies the mascara with the wand positioned horizontally for a sweeping effect that separates the lashes at the root and subtly fans them out. For a bold punk look, he applies the mascara with the wand positioned vertically, which gives a volumized, high definition finish that creates a wing-like fan effect on lashes.
As the beauty maven picked up the mascara and demonstrated his technique, he cozied up on a plush beige couch near a table topped with red and pink roses and we continued our chat. Not just about mascara, but also why he thinks the biggest spring beauty trend is no trend at all.
What do you love most about L’Obscur?
TK: I think what's so incredible about it is that it's flexible, so you can use it to do natural mascara, like a natural lash — you can use one coat. Or it's really easy to build up so you can get more volume or length. It doesn't clump at all.
L’Obscur can wear for 12 hours and doesn’t smudge or flake. What makes the formula unique?
TK: It's got a really creamy formula, and the creaminess of it is what allows for the flexibility. Once it dries, you can add more layers. The finish can vary from clumpy or just clean. It's super cool, super clean, and can give you really big bold lashes.
What are the best ways to apply the mascara?
TK: You can use the brush in the normal way by wiggling it into the roots and coming up and then you'll get like really natural full lash. Then, if you want to do something more interesting, like what we did in the campaign, you’ll get a big chunk of mascara on the end. We were painting those bits on the end of the lashes to kind of give more of a punky look, which we did for the recent Gucci show.
It seemed like everyone was talking about the running mascara look on the Gucci NYFW runway. How did you achieve the look?
TK: The joys of mascara these days is that they don't run like the old ones (laughs). We were trying to make the mascara run, but it wasn't. So, we had to paint on those tears. We used the brush, mixed the mascara with water in a little pot, then we took the end of the brush, and painted it under the model's eyes to create these painted on tears.
What was the inspiration behind the running mascara?
TK: It's always lovely with a makeup look for a show when you can connect with people on an emotional level. There's something so honest about that. I think they were positive tears. Tears of joy and excitement. There's something so youthful and teenage about the whole Gucci collection. So, I like the idea that maybe it's a girl at a concert seeing her teen idol, and crying because she's so excited to see them. At Gucci, we just try out loads of different stuff. Alessandro loves seeing different things, and has loads of ideas when he's coming up with looks for this for the show. He gives us lots of different pieces of inspiration and then we reinterpret that and present ideas to him.
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Let’s talk about the brush.
TK: The brush is really easy to use. It’s got this lovely dome shape, so I've been the middle bristles to kind of gently come through, wiggle into the root, and gently comb through. What's nice is you can use the tip to get into your little corner lashes. And then if you want, you can let it dry and do another lash coat. I've been really liking doing one coat naturally and then using the tip just to kind of give some extra layers on the outer corner just to open up the eyes a bit.
Cool tones and spider lashes are just a couple of spring beauty trends that are on the horizon. What spring trends are you most looking forward to creating?
TK: More than ever, it's becoming less about trends and more about being yourself. [It’s about] blurring the lines of gender especially in terms of makeup and fashion. It’s all about having your own look and your own identity and being self-expressive rather than everyone being in the same box.
When we do the Gucci shows, like I think this last show, there were 12 models with makeup on and then loads of models without makeup. I think the trend is making your own personality with it. So, I always think when you see someone walking down the street with their own thing going on it’s so much more exciting than seeing someone walking down the street just wearing the thing that's like the flavor of the month, even though it might not actually be their vibe. It’s about having your own vibe rather than conforming to a vibe that is being told to you. It's about finding something within you.
Do you have a favorite look that you create with the mascara?
TK: I'm quite into wearing it as paint and then I love a natural eyelash. So my favorite little trick is to not even coat the whole lash, but actually just wiggle it in to the roots. So, you just get like a little bit of definition on the eyes, but you don't have these big whopping lashes. I like something sometimes a little bit softer and more subtle.
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