Why This Stunning French Eyeshadow Palette Deserves a Place in Your Makeup Bag
In a world currently obsessed with all things French beauty, we're willing to bet you've heard of luxury skin and makeup brand Chantecaille. Founded by French-born Sylvie Chantecaille, an industry innovator with more than 25 years of experience, the line is all about pure ingredients and efficacious botanicals. (Plus, every single thing smells amazing.) Aside from Chantecaille's cult Pure Rosewater ($98) the brand is perhaps best known for its charity-driven makeup collections. Over the years, limited-edition colour ranges have been released to raise funds and awareness for everything from sustainable fishing to sea turtles and wild horses. This season, the focus is on protecting lions in Kenya and Tanzania via Lion Guardians. We sat down with Sylvie to chat about the "life changing" trip that inspired the collection, and why this is one eyeshadow palette that truly deserves a place in your makeup bag.
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Byrdie Australia: Philanthropy is a huge focus for your brand, how do you decide on the causes you support?
Sylvie Chantecaille: I’m an avid gardener, and twenty years ago I began to see a sharp decline in the number of monarch butterflies in my garden. After a little investigating I began to learn more about the issues affecting butterflies and so many other endangered species and ecosystems. This is our 10th year and 18th palette supporting conservation causes regarding endangered species, plants, oceans and issues surrounding global sustainability. We’re trying to be a voice of change, and hope to give a voice to those who don’t have one—the animals. Each season we donate a percentage of proceeds from sales of these palettes directly to charitable organisations that support these causes. We are constantly learning about new struggles facing our planet and the animals we love.
B: How did you first learn about Lion Guardians and their journey from hunters to protectors?
SC: We first learned about Lion Guardians on a trip to Kenya. They explained that there had been a 50 percent decline in the lion population in Kenya over the past 50 years. These two women [Stephanie Dolrenry and Leela Hazzah] dug into the "why" of this reality. They learned that trained Lion Killers (the Morans), would hunt and kill lions as retaliation for attacking the Maasai’s cattle. These people were understandably trying to protect their livelihood, their children and livestock. These brilliant women really understood a way to help the locals see the lions as their friends, and that they could live together in harmony. It is such an intelligent program that gives technological answers and resources to locals who can make such a difference.
B: What was it about Lion Guardians that really struck a chord with you?
SC: They are such an amazing organisation as they address animal conservation in a very real and logical manner. These two women set up camp and lived amongst the Maasai and taught them that these lions were theirs, and if they wanted to save them they would help them do so. They taught the Lion Killers who were extremely skilled at tracking lions by reading their paw prints, to tranquilise and GPS tag them. This allows them to know the whereabouts of the lions so they can radio to herders to preemptively move cattle out of the way. Effectively, technology is empowering them to be proactive rather than reactive.
Since 2007, they’ve taught them how to speak Swahili (not just their own Maasai dialect) as well as English and paid them salaries allowing them to feed and educate their own families. By empowering, educating and paying them, they’ve motivated the local people to work with and live alongside wildlife. They’ve tripled the amount of lions in Kenya since they started their program (a little under ten years ago) and have worked with 70 communities across four countries. Last year alone they rescued 100% of lost children herders and $3 million worth of cattle. These are real numbers that positively affect these communities in direct contact with lions.
B: What was the experience of spending time in Africa like for you?
SC: It was life changing. It made me realise how human beings are so connected to the earth, and the deep relationships between various species of animals. It gave me a great sense of respect, love, and deep understanding for each animal.
B: What would you say was the most interesting thing you learned during your trip?
SC: How each animal is so much like us. Mother cheetahs are amazing mothers just like humans are. The connection between animals is so worth watching to understand that they are powerful families. There is such a strong connection and love between parents and children. When you see a lion with his female lioness, or their babies frolicking, licking and playing with each other—you realise the real love that is present among families.
B: How did you translate your inspiration into the shades in the collection?
SC: The colours of the palette are inspired by the gorgeous coats of lions at dusk, as well as the creamy beiges and earthy greys of the arid landscape of the Amboseli region where the Lion Guardians reside. Shimmering coppers and warm burgundies in the palette set the eyes aglow.