Pablo Manzoni Talks Elizabeth Arden, Bright Eyes & Jackie O

Rachel Adler

Pablo Manzoni, the makeup artist who is known for his elaborate jeweled Vogue covers from the ’60s that became known as “festive eyes” spent years of his career as the creative director for Elizabeth Arden.

Manzoni spoke with me about his career, working with Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Arden and what key points we should know when applying bright makeup. Read on below!

Summer is all about natural face makeup and dressing up one key area. Do you have any tips for using bright or neon shadows to make the eyes stand out?

The eyes will stand out if you have a strong bright or frosted color on your lid but its not always a good thing to dowhether its summer or winter. Because at times you end up having a great deal of color on your lid and by showing so much of a shadow you may lose the natural color of the eye. I think that a nice shadow shouldnt be as strong or overpowering, I prefer if its muted whether its summer or winter otherwise we lose the womannever mind that personally I like subtle colors but when I see someone with stronger colors personally I see the strong colors but I dont think it may be flattering. Whether its summer or winter everyone wants to be attractive and not very sticky, when you give someone a kiss on the cheek and you remain glued, you want to think of those things and not be too greasy, foundation should be water soluble, powder should be thin, lips can be very bright but maybe not very glossy, eye makeup is important but shouldnt be too colorful.

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You worked with Jackie Kennedy throughout the years can you tell me a couple of things that you learned from her, and vice versa?
I worked with her during the last two years of her life and I was very impressedwhat she wanted to convey to me which was an interesting detailthe first time I met her I went to her apartment I had to be there in her bathroom facing west with the sun cooking my back and shoulders and asked permission to remove my coat and I noticed she was wearing a white robe because she was wearing a white dress that night, in fact I have a picture somewhere of her in that white Carolina Herrera dress. I think that in a way she was trying to influence meif she was wearing a white robe I wasnt going to use bright colors on her because she wouldnt look good. What was interesting was this perfectionist of a woman was making a little suggestion or indication to me that she would like something neutral and thats how she broke the iceother times she was wearing red or dark green robes and that time she wore whiteI always kept the same point of view about her because regardless of what you wear on your shoulders or what you wear on your body your face is very much your calling card, youre trying to send a message, being subtle or not being vampish or not and being who knows, common or having styleyour face is you regardless if you show up in polka dots it makes no difference. MAC chooses to make a suggestion that is wild because this is what MAC is, but luckily they have a numerous range so there is also something for my grandmotherits so attractive to have a well-finished makeup which is like an accessory in my opinion makeup is just an accessory, you can wear somethingmakeup is a matter of a style, if a young woman is stylish she may even go further in life.

You also spent a lot of your career as Creative Director for Elizabeth Arden. What was that position like and what was your most memorable experience from that?
I started in Rome in 1960 at the salon where I was doing strong makeup for the fashion shows for couture shows, like what was comparable to 7th avenue and over there was called Palazzo Pitti. They were showing collections whether it was Valentino or others and I was doing this very strong makeup for their showings and Ms. Arden had a designer in the New York 5th Avenue salon because at the time they were doing both RTW and Couture and I was imported to the NYC salon in ’64. I started doing jeweled makeup for publicity sake for exposure and for shockfor the magazinesbut in the salons I was doing subtle makeup and normal.”

What do you find are your favorite beauty products that you repeatedly go back to over the years?
I have a few, they arent always MAC, but a few are staples. To begin with mascara because I love the look of long lashes and the MAC mascara is strong and builds. There is an eyeshadow base I always use it because the eyeshadow wont crease. it’s called Alexandra de Markoff Disguise for Eyes. Also eye cream for wrinkles, shiseido cream for eyes is very special and almost everybody feels that the cream really makes a difference. MAC has a good moisturizer I remember it because it isnt oily and you wont be too shiny and MAC has a great quantity of lipsticks tooone that is my favorite has just expired called Delish and also blusher is a must, I like to have powder blushers of course but cream rouge should be the first thing that touches your cheeks when you want to project an image of healthy and pinched cheeks there’s an amazing clay color called Laid Back.

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