PAUL NEWMAN WITH HIS CHILDREN ON VACATION IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE
PENELOPE CRUZ IN VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA
AUDREY HEPBURN AND FRED ASTAIR
It’s this particular image that Mendes recalls during a pre-production meeting for the cover story. “I’m an actress,” she says while peering at a table in the VIOLET GREY studio, covered in similar photographs. “Photo shoots are best, and always more fun, when I transform into another persona.” And thus, the character of Dolores Carmen, dreamed up from the mind of Mendes, was brought to life for VIOLET GREY.
The location then would be integral to the story of Dolores Carmen, a woman devoted to her immaculate home, meticulously wrapped presents, and lush faux eye lashes. After much deliberation Mendes decided upon the Brody House, an iconic piece of Los Angeles architecture, built in 1949 by A. Quincy Jones, who was consistently drawn to the natural fusion of outdoor and indoor spaces within a singular structure—a concept that wholly suits a Christmas fête in warm weather. There would, of course, be a Christmas tree in the atrium.
To preserve the world of Dolores Carmen, photographer Guy Aroch was selected for his ability to capture the essence of a woman through a soft-focus, voyeuristic approach. Mendes, who became Dolores Carmen through the exceptional transformational effects of nail artist Karen Gutierrez, stylist Jamie Schneider, hair and makeup by artists Steeve Daviault and Beau Nelson respectively, was articulate about creating vignettes of Dolores as she obsessively prepared for a holiday so synonymous with a winter wonderland, yet could be made just as magical in Los Angeles.
When we first encounter Mendes as Dolores Carmen, it’s an early but already warm morning in Los Angeles. Aroch snaps shot after shot of her as she alights from an immense bed with curlers in her hair, nary a faux eyelash out of place, and a wash of pink lipstick on her lips. With the Paris Sisters’ 1961 hit, “I Love How You Love Me”, playing in the background, Mendes makes her way through the Brody House in one considered outfit after another, living life as Dolores Carmen. “She’s the kind of girl who wakes up with her hair done because she had it coiffed in the salon the day before,” whispers VIOLET GREY founder, Cassandra Huysentruyt Grey, to anyone within earshot on-set. “Eva Mendes might not wear red but Dolores Carmen wears red.”
— EVA MENDES on DOLORES CARMEN
@ Violet Grey