“Now more than ever, I’m understood,” says makeup artist Raoúl Alejandre, who believes the bright, new post-pandemic world will be one that’s more embracing of—if not hungry for—his bold aesthetic, which channels a mind-bending, Dali-like surrealism into wearable graphic eye and lip statements that inspire real-world awe. “I love playing with shapes. I love playing with colors. It’s always been my thing. I’ve never been afraid to step outside of the box and do whatever I want. Now I feel like people are getting it. It’s creating this fantasy that people want.”

Alejandre has crafted pulse-racing looks for the likes of Rosalía, Lil Nas X, and Euphoria stars Alexa Demie and Barbie Ferreira. And now, the industry’s new resident disruptor is assuming his biggest role to date as the global makeup artist for Valentino Beauty, where he’ll help bring creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli’s inclusive and self-expressive vision of beauty to life. If anyone can deftly imbue couture concepts into makeup, it’s Alejandre, a former stylist. “Fashion and makeup are so deeply connected…working with different textures, putting different colors together,” says Alejandre. “It’s such a beautiful harmony.”