EXCLUSIVE: Thom Walker Appointed Givenchy Makeup Creative Director

·5 min read

PARIS — Thom Walker has been named creative director of Givenchy makeup.

In his new position, he will oversee the development of the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned luxury brand’s new makeup lines and the creative direction of their communication campaigns. Walker is to serve as Givenchy’s makeup spokesperson, as well.

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He succeeds Nicolas Degennes, who created Givenchy’s makeup and colors for more than two decades and left the house in June 2021.

“It’s a new journey for the brand,” said Romain Spitzer, chief executive officer of Givenchy Parfums, who reiterated his thanks for Degenne’s “great work.”

The executive added Walker’s appointment comes at a pivotal time for Givenchy, due to a confluence of factors, such as the arrival of American designer Matthew Williams in June 2020 as Givenchy’s seventh couturier. There was also the “coupe de foudre” (or “love at first sight”) for Walker, thanks to “his talents, creativity and unique approach to makeup,” Spitzer said.

Walker’s editorial work has appeared in the likes of i-D, AnOther, W Magazine and Dazed and Confused, plus numerous editions of Vogue. He has collaborated with photographers such as Nick Knight, Paolo Roversi and Sølve Sundsbø, and worked with actresses and singers including Emma Watson, Claire Foy, Mia Goth, FKA Twigs and Rosalía.

The Englishman, who first trained in makeup artistry in Paris, is known for playing with contrasts, lighting effects and bold colors, and has a strong, longstanding passion for product.

“My earliest memory of Givenchy beauty is the Phenomen-eyes mascara,” Walker said. “It was this product I’d never seen before,” referring to its round brush. “So I was instantly drawn to it, and still use it today. It’s such an amazing product,” he added.

Walker also referenced the brand’s Prisme Libre powder, a bestseller, as “clever” and “innovative.” “The illuminating effect it has on skin is quite amazing,” he said. “So again, so simplistic in the idea, yet delivers such strong, good results.

“That’s what’s quite amazing about the brand: the simplicity of [its] product, yet how innovative and forward-thinking it actually is,” Walker said.

Of the more recent launches, he’s been impressed by the Le Rouge Sheer Velvet lipstick, which has a “modern approach to matte” with a “cloud-like” effect.

“I’m super excited to be a part of this innovation,” enthused Walker.

Spitzer considers Walker a perfect match for Givenchy makeup, as his creations span both natural and sophisticated looks, for example.

“He described his signature look as simple, but always with an element of surprise,” Spitzer said. “It’s not about provocation or exaggeration. It’s bold simplicity.

“We were very attracted by his natural affinity with the brand,” summed up the executive, who explained Walker also ticked the boxes of loving product, loving to apply product and having extensive makeup experience. “He’s the perfect match for us in a moment where we wanted to give a new direction, especially for the younger generation that’s very digital” and community-minded.

“We really want to have makeup for the new cool kids of today and of tomorrow,” said Spitzer, calling such color cosmetics “innovative products in beautiful objects. This is very important.”

Of course, Givenchy fashion had long been on Walker’s radar, especially from the recent eras of Alexander McQueen, Riccardo Tisci and Williams today.

“I can see Matthew’s love of product, design and innovation, so I am very excited to work alongside him,” said Walker, who explained he met with the designer early on in talks with Givenchy. “I’d taken some of my favorite beauty products, accessories and tools. We both share such interest in design. We talked about sustainability, how design can make you feel. We talked quite a long time about how we could potentially work together to create some really exciting products.”

That’s in line with Spitzer’s strategy, too. “We want to strengthen the bond with fashion,” he said. “The objective is to have stronger consistency, higher convergence and more inspiration from the shows.”

To get to know Givenchy makeup history better, the first thing Walker asked to see was archival imagery from the brand’s beauty division.

“It’s so emotive,” he said. “Givenchy has been so powerful in creating some really long-lasting and timeless images. I will be looking more into the archive, especially with products.”

Another part of Walker’s mandate is to dial up Givenchy makeup’s digital quotient.

“What I hope to bring to that digital side is still a real personal touch,” explained Walker, adding he wants to speak to everyone, “whether it’s through imagery or different spokespeople for the brand. It’s something that I want to work on, as well, with the brand.”

Walker also aspires to learn from the whole Givenchy team, saying: “I really hope that we can just learn from each other and bring what the beauty world is asking for.”

He gleans inspiration for his makeup creations from many sources, including architecture and fashion.

“Buildings, hotels and houses are really appealing to me,” he said. “I like the sense of security — or lack of security — that a building can bring you.

“The archive of fashion is just so immense,” Walker continued. “You could constantly look at images and see something, find something new every day.”

He will be based in London — while often traveling to Paris — and is keen to pour all of his learnings from the past decade into the Givenchy makeup brand.

“I’m excited to learn new things every day and bring knowledge of the young fashion scene to a very established luxury brand,” Walker said.


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