Facing up to la dolce vita of Monica Bellucci

As the star of Dolce & Gabbana's latest make-up campaign, life really is sweet for actress Monica Bellucci. The Italian beauty tells Rebecca gonsalves about her long-standing relationship with the designers and what glamour means to her

Since Dolce & Gabbana launched a make-up line in 2009, it has won commercial and critical acclaim. Luxurious formulations housed in elegant packaging are given the Sicilian designers' typical Italianate spin, most brilliantly with a leopard pattern embossed on a limited-edition Anamalier bronzer compact. Having previously worked with younger actresses Scarlett Johansson and Felicity Jones for the brand's make-up and fragrance launches, this season, Dolce & Gabbana has reverted to one of its favourites: the Italian beauty Monica Bellucci.

"I was a young model when I first met Domenico and Stefano," says Bellucci in a candle-lit, flower-filled room in the designers' vast Milan headquarters, the day before the autumn/winter show in February. "I did one of my first fashion shows with them, and then I've done fashion campaigns and beauty campaigns. It's crazy – and it's beautiful, too – that this relationship is growing up. Actually, working with them is not working – it's beautiful, it's friendship and affection. I think it's amazing that after all those years we still have the opportunity to create things together."

That Bellucci has been able to grow up so visibly with the brand is encouraging – after all the beauty industry is even more notorious than the fashion industry for fetishising youth and it seems to have started something of a trend. This season, Marc Jacobs cast Jessica Lange as the face of his make-up line, while Nars announced that Charlotte Rampling would be the star of its next campaign. "I think Domenico and Stefano love and respect women so much because the idea of using the face of an adult woman means that 'beautiful' is not just because of youth," says Bellucci.

"In French, we call it la beauté du diable – the way that, when you're very young, you're protected by that youth. Youth makes everybody beautiful, it's natural. But then when you're around 40, 45, 50 or over, it's more about the battles that you went through, so the beauty is more about the person, the soul – not just about the body or physique." As one of the most beautiful women in the world, it's easy for the likes of Bellucci to believe in such a philosophy. And for the rest of us, there's make-up.

For the first time, the brand's make-up campaign was shot by Domenico Dolce, who two years ago published Campioni, a book of photographs of young international footballers, with art direction from Stefano Gabbana.

"I was very touched," says Bellucci of Dolce's new role in their relationship. "It was the first time that I felt watched by him, through the camera. I was a bit 'Oh my god', you know? Actually he took very beautiful pictures. I think it's great he has these ideas and the courage to prove himself as a photographer."

While she may have been nervous, with her friend behind the camera Bellucci knew she would be in good hands. Something of a veteran of photoshoots and filming, it's safe to estimate that she has picked up some helpful tips over the years. "Good light, that's the secret," the actress says, laughing. "Good light does everything. Good light is great if you have shiny skin – so drink a lot of water, use good moisturiser and also to work on your soul is very important." The last tip may seem a bit esoteric, but as Bellucci reminds me: "Your face tells your story."

As Dolce & Gabbana Make Up creative advisor, Pat McGrath is responsible for creating the beauty look that completes the story for the brand's catwalk spectaculars and their advertising campaigns. "Monica is so fabulous and working with her is such a joy," says McGrath. "She is so effortlessly flawless and a true screen siren. I wanted to keep her make-up quite simple here – we didn't really use a huge selection of products, mainly because Monica's radiance and Italian spirit shines through so naturally.

"There are two beauty looks for the new campaign, explains McGrath: "The first, the 'red lip look', is sensual, dramatic and exudes Italian spirit. I think Monica looked so stunning with the fiery red lip." Of course, red lipstick is one of the eternal classics of the beauty world: "Sometimes I go outside in the morning and I see girls in red lipstick with jeans and a T-shirt and I like that very much, it means you start the day in a good mood," says Bellucci, dressed in Dolce & Gabbana's signature lace. "Lipstick really means something to girls, to women. My grandmother, at 80, would put on red lipstick to go to church, and that was such a beautiful gesture."

Working on more than one campaign look was important to Bellucci as well as to the creative team: "A woman has so many facets and when you create an image you have to play with all the different moments of your femininity, not just one thing because everybody can get bored. A woman has so many secrets, so many facets – we can be so many things. When you're in front of the camera you have to try to create different emotions, because even the person making pictures of you needs inspiration. To be 'you' means nothing – you can be so many yous."

"I come from a family where women are very strong, but also very feminine. Sometimes when we think about femininity, we think also fragile. But I think you can be feminine and very strong. I think make-up goes with that femininity. I think it's a natural gesture for women and one they do more for themselves than for others. I remember when I was 14 and I wanted to be a grown woman, at that time I loved make-up. When I do put some make-up on, I think it's for myself first of all."

Given the plentiful supply of lotions and potions from which Bellucci has to choose, it's perhaps no surprise that she likes to experiment with her beauty look: "Sometimes, I want to be in the spotlight so I put on some red lipstick. Other times, I like more natural shades, or coral. I couldn't pick just one because it depends how I feel, it's great to have all those choices. But to be glamorous? Just a touch of eyeliner and red lips is glamorous."

Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

    £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

    Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

    £40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

    Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

    £70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

    £30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

    Day In a Page

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
    Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum