Monica Bellucci reminds us that in times of uncertainty, there is an undeniable reassurance in classic beauty. In times of uncertainty, we can all do with a little escapism; a moment in our day when we forget about the worries of the world. Beauty offers just this. Applying a sweep of lipstick can serve as a major pick-me-up, even if you are working from home. If anyone has perfected this sentiment, it is Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. Alongside some of Dolce & Gabbana’s most recognizable faces, including Monica Bellucci, the brand’s recently relaunched makeup collection also offers flashes of hope in color. “Italians have a strong sense of survival. I would say non può piovere per sempre [it can’t rain all the time],” begins Bellucci from her home in Paris, where she – like all of France – is currently under lockdown due to the spread of Covid-19. The 55-year-old Italian model and actor offers, “I’m in a house with four kids and I’m spending most of my time between video school lessons and homework, so I don’t have much time for myself.” Bellucci is considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, with her dark hair currently coiffed in a stylish long bob courtesy of her stylist of 20 years, John Nollet. He remarks that he has always been “as impressed by her beauty, as her aura and her kindness.”
Bellucci first met Dolce and Gabbana early on in her 30-year career; a vocation that was launched when she appeared as a vampire in the 1992 movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula, followed by roles in Malèna (2000), The Matrix Reloaded (2002), and Spectre (2015). “I met them in Milan when I started out as a model and did a fashion show for them,” she muses of the Italian designers. “Then, our relationship turned into a friendship, which it is still today.” Even though she is no longer based in Italy, much of Bellucci’s extended family is. “I am very close to my country, which is currently one of the most heavily affected – the situation is alarming,” she says. “We all have to be confident in science and medicine and we will find the way to emerge from it.”
It is a feeling Dolce & Gabbana shares. One of the first to react in the fashion community, it joined the global fight against Covid-19 by funding a study by Italy’s Humanitas University into immune system responses to the coronavirus. Every week, the situation evolves. “We will see what will happen after, as many things are going to change economically, politically, and socially,” says Bellucci.
The actor is no stranger to change. Both in the world of modeling and acting, she has curbed stereotypes for women working with a certain maturity. Of note, her continuous relationship with Dolce & Gabbana, which, rather than favoring youth, has documented her flourishing over the years in campaigns and runway shows, to being cast as the oldest love interest ever in a James Bond film. “I like the idea of beauty as a concept of personal evolution in life,” she says. “Women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are still in good shape and they have become a reference for other women.” In the past five years, there has been a call for more diversity in the beauty industry. “Anti-aging” has become almost taboo and consumers are looking for more transparency. “I think that losing little by little the biological beauty of youth gives us the possibility to look at life from another perspective. Maybe we can call that the privilege of experience and maturity.”
Having debuted its makeup collection in 2009, Dolce & Gabbana’s relaunch has been met with enthusiasm. The glossy gold packaging has been updated to embrace its Italian heritage. Previously, only limited-edition novelties were covered in the house’s signature designs. Now, the permanent collection features the animal, black lace, floral, baroque, and Damask prints synonymous with the brand. Formulations have also been revamped to focus on new technology. It is a tribute to women, with every aspect of the collection created to empower them.
Alongside Bellucci, Dolce & Gabbana has championed diversity with a cast of timeless faces, including Swiss model Catherine Loewe, Korean Joony Kim, and fellow Italians Bianca Balti and Chiara Scelsi. The Dolce & Gabbana look remains classic, focusing on everyday needs that can be adapted to be a little more casual, playful, alluring, or sophisticated. Bellucci’s go-tos include Dolce & Gabbana Beauty Passioneyes mascara, which is “perfect for the everyday look I need,” as well as a light covering of Dolce & Gabbana Beauty The Only One lipstick, “which is so silky, quick, and easy to apply.” As for more tips from one of the world’s most striking women? “I clean my face and apply moisturizer before going to bed. I do the same every morning, applying a body lotion every day as well,” she shares.
As life begins to return to what can only be a new normal, it’s interesting to consider if diversity in the beauty industry will be fast-tracked. The demand for familiarity in uncertain times calls for brands to offer women across the globe a face they can relate to and also aspire to. “When we think about the image of timeless Italian beauty, we always have in mind Monica. She represents it perfectly. Working with her is like spending an evening with a friend. We immediately understand each other. She takes each idea we suggest and turns it into something real and true,” say the design duo.
As for makeup, at a time when we don’t know what will happen tomorrow, perhaps we can take comfort in the classics, looking to brands we trust and formulas we know. Women will always love makeup, if only for creating a little diversion with a rouge pout.
Originally published in the May 2020 issue of Vogue Arabia