Givenchy Beauty’s latest eye products take cues from skincare and haute couture

Givenchy Beauty’s creative director Thom Walker catches up with Mary Cleary on the brand’s latest offerings

Givenchy Beauty mascara and eyeshadow palettes
Givenchy Beauty L’Interdit Couture Volume Mascara and Le 9 de Givenchy Eyeshadow Palettes
(Image credit: Courtesy of Givenchy Beauty)

Givenchy Beauty’s creative director Thom Walker has parlayed his experience as a celebrated make-up artist into a new vision for the brand’s make-up line, since taking on the role in 2022. It is a vision that reflects the iconic aesthetic of the storied fashion house, all while meeting the needs of the modern beauty consumer. ‘It’s such an iconic brand to be a part of, with such a strong DNA from Hubert de Givenchy,’ Walker tells me over a call from the Givenchy offices in Paris. And, while it can be intimidating to work in the shadow of one of the 20th century’s great designers, Walker also concedes that it ‘kind of makes my job a lot easier’.

‘It's not like we’re a new brand where we haven't told a story yet,’ he says. ‘[With Givenchy] the story has already been told, so it’s about how you modernise that story and how you move that story forward. Mixing timeless elegance with the boldness Mr de Givenchy created is always at the front of my mind when we’re creating new products. And I always say it’s a little contradictory to have something elegant, but still really bold as well.’

Thom Walker in the lab

Thom Walker developing products in the lab after joining Givenchy Beauty as creative director in 2022

(Image credit: Courtesy of Givenchy Beauty)

Givenchy Beauty blends the old and the new

That blend of the old and new, the sophisticated and the flamboyant, is reflected in hero products such as the Prisme Libre Loose Powder, an iconic bestseller which blurs imperfections while also adding light and radiance to the skin. It’s also evident in Walker’s latest Le 9 eyeshadow palette, which contains shades of versatile browns that range from subdued nude shades to punchy metallic textures.

‘I think that contradiction is what makes something creative; for example, making something that is matte but brings light to the skin as well,’ he says. Or, as is the case the L’Interdit Couture Volume Mascara, released just this week (February 2024), it is a product that provides a dramatic, exaggerated false lash look, yet has a formula that improves the health of your real ones. With 90 per cent natural ingredients that include ceramides and D-panthenol, it also encourages lash growth over time to create, as Walker puts it, a ‘skincare mascara’.

Givenchy Beauty eye products

The latest Givenchy Beauty eye products include the L’Interdit Couture Volume Mascara and a Le 9 de Givenchy Eyeshadow Palette

(Image credit: Courtesy of Givenchy Beauty)

Walker is working to create products that balance between subtle and impactful, expressing Hubert de Givenchy’s belief that ‘the shortest path to elegance is simplicity. You can’t rely on the trends of fashion to influence the products,’ he says. ‘It’s more about the storytelling, the heritage of the brand, and [leaning on] those codes... Bringing them into the products, understanding how they function.’

He does, however, keep one eye open when it comes to certain ‘trends’ in the beauty industry, allowing him to play with the tension of the past, present, and future. ‘[In 2024] I think we’ll see more of that naturally enhanced version of yourself with [a focus on] soft brown shades, a little bit 1990s,’ he says, which is very much in keeping with the aesthetic of his new Le 9 palette. ‘I’m finding the “mob wife” trend quite hilarious at the moment,’ he says with a laugh. ‘But when you break it down, that look is essentially a brown, smoky Kate Moss eye.’

Ultimately, for Walker, performance is key to every product he creates. ‘Before I got into fashion I worked in a store, on the counter for different make-up brands,’ he adds. ‘I think having the perspective of what the customer wants is always at the front of my mind... I don’t want to put make-up products on and feel like I can’t see anything, yet I [also] want subtle enhancement that makes me, and others, feel better.’

L’Interdit Couture Volume Mascara, £34, and Le 9 de Givenchy Eyeshadow Palette in shade No.12, £64, are available now.

Writer and Wallpaper* Contributing Editor

Mary Cleary is a writer based in London and New York. Previously beauty & grooming editor at Wallpaper*, she is now a contributing editor, alongside writing for various publications on all aspects of culture.