Gregoris Pyrpylis is a genius in the world of beauty and make-up. With a watchful eye on the Indian beauty market that grows with every passing day, the Greek make-up artist, and now the creative director for Hermès Beauty, sure knows to how enter the country by making all the right noises. After launching globally in 2020, the legacy brand enters the subcontinent with four beauty collections, with Pyrplis at its helm.
In conversation with Bazaar India, he speaks about the making of the collection, his definition of beauty, his vision for the brand, and much more.
Harper’s Bazaar: The La Beauté Hermès Metiers is a very carefully-crafted collection, focused on enhancing one’s skin and complexion. Tell us about the key qualities of each product.
Gregoris Pyrpylis: All of these collections carry the vision of the House of Hermès in its entirety. So we consider them as expressions that help express one’s personality—not trying to transform it, but just elevating one’s personality. That is the reason we don’t talk about trends. Trends have the power to unify beauty, and sometimes, you see women who follow the same trends perhaps end up looking similar. Hermès is about finding what makes you unique. What makes each of these beauty collections special is that it blends skincare and colour at the same time, be it Rose Hermès or Plein Air.
Even for the nail polishes, we have created a ritual—you have a hand cream, an oil to hydrate and nourish the nails, then the base coat and the top coat. Rose Hermès, for example, has skincare ingredients like Vitamin E, squalane, white mulberry leaf extract, and emollients integrated in the formula, which makes the application softer and leads to longevity. The collection is formulated with 97 per cent natural-origin ingredients. The products are also enriched with a derivative form of hyaluronic acid that keeps the skin hydrated. At Hermès, when we thought about expressing ourselves with the skin or complexion category (through Plein Air), it seemed very organic to come up with a formula that would enhance the natural beauty rather than masking the skin. So even though it offers light-to-medium coverage, it will always look like it’s your skin. It was a natural expression for Hermès Beauty to integrate the strong presence of skin care in our beauty formulas and our beauty objects.
HB: Beauty aficionados are in love with the new chapter of Hermès Beauty: Plein Air. How long did it take for you to create this product?
GP: It took us about two years, and we worked with a Japanese laboratory that uses cutting-edge technology to create a very innovative formula. That’s the reason we call it the complexion balm, because it is not a CC cream or a BB cream. It’s not even a tinted moisturiser. It’s a one-of-a-kind formula—it feels like you’re applying a moisturiser. We wanted the formula to feel creamy and like a generous fluid at the same time. When you apply it, it doesn’t just look comfortable, but also feels comfortable. It adapts to the skin without trying to transform who you are. This is our main approach when it comes to complexion products. It’s a clean formula and works on every skin type as well.
HB: Do you remember the first beauty product that you tried?
GP: I remember the beauty product that my mother used to use. My father had a pharmacy, and we had access to all these beautiful skincare products. My mother used to work at the pharmacy, and I remember she really loved this tinted moisturiser with SPF. I am not sure if she inspired me to create Hermès’ Plein Air, the first hybrid make-up product. Back then, when I did my friends’ make-up, I remember I was very heavy-handed with the blush. Blush is a very underrated product. It is amazing that just with one product, you can look so luminous, so radiant, so alive. Many times, when I feel and look a bit tired—of course I am a fan of skincare and I take good care of my skin—I use Rose Hermès. It’s more of a red-pink and it just makes it look like I’m alive...and after this I don’t need to apply concealer or brush my brows, it just reveals a beautiful radiance.
HB: The beauty industry has moved away from trends and is embracing self-expression. What are your thoughts about the same?
GP: Personally, I don’t believe in trends. I gravitate towards timeless beauty—both as Gregoris, the artist, and, as Gregoris, the creative director for Hermès Beauty. When you take a photograph of yourself today and see it 20 years later, you should say, ‘Oh my God, I look beautiful’. One shouldn’t think that it was a beautiful trend back then, but now it doesn’t look good. We have all been there though, when I see pictures of myself in specific haircuts back in the day, I remember feeling great at the time…but not so much today! When I look at social media, everyone seems like clones of one another. Make-up has this power, it can help you express who you are or who you’d like to be...it’s how you see yourself. That is self-expression to me. Back in the 2000s, every fashion show featured just one signature look, but today, you see a much bigger variety of looks. So it is not a trend, it is the natural evolution of beauty. I believe women and men will gradually understand that make-up is not about putting oneself in a box, it’s about freely inviting yourself to be your own creative director. That’s why I chose make-up because it allows you to create...to really express yourself in your own ways. And if it doesn’t work, you can just remove it and redo it—it’s very ephemeral.
HB: How has your own definition of beauty evolved over time?
GP: I think the basic philosophy remains the same, but I have experimented with different ways of application. When I was a make-up artist in Greece, women there preferred to accentuate their eyes and lips, and I was influenced by that. And when I moved to Paris, I was influenced (by the culture there) as well. I didn’t change anything intentionally or become more Parisian...it was an organic evolution. So when I worked with celebrities or on magazine editorials, I could find the right balance. Even if the make-up is strong, it almost looks natural on the person because it helps express who they are.
HB: You have been working with Hermès for over a year now. How would you describe your experience so far?
GP: I am here to guide Hermès Beauty with my knowledge and experience for the collections that will follow. But, at the same time, Hermès, for me, has been a great learning institution as well. When I visited Lyon [France] for the first time, where the silk scarves are produced, I began seeing colours differently. Now, when I am with my friends and I say, ‘Look, this brown is beautiful because it has a bit of blue in it’, they are like, ‘What are you talking about?’. I knew about colours, but at Hermès, my knowledge has grown exponentially. So the House of Hermès is like a school, but, at the same time, everything feels very organic.
HB: Lastly, what is your vision for Hermès Beauty?
GP: I think the reason I was chosen for this role is because the Maison and I have the same vision of beauty...so it is a very natural fit. And I believe all the future collections at Hermès will be a blend of skincare. Hermès Beauty is all about well-being and how beautiful and comfortable each product makes you feel. But I also like to play with fantasy...to have a surprise element. For instance, the Rouge Hermès has this beautiful colour called Orange Boîte, which is inspired by Hermès’ orange box. It is a very daring colour, but only Hermès could have done it. I like such surprise elements. It is something that’ll happen every time, and it will bring happiness and joy to everyone.
Written by Meghna Sharma