Never underestimate the power of a statement lipstick. It's a rule that designer Jason Wu knows well, and he's such a believer, a bold red often becomes his signature pairing to the ensembles he sends down the runway. "When you wanna feel dressed up, you can never go wrong with a red lip. That's all you need," Wu tells InStyle exclusively. "I think a woman is the most beautiful when she is natural, and I love no makeup. I like to keep the focus on just the lips, the eyes, or the hair—never together. It's all about the balance." At Wu's Spring 2016 show, he countered the dramatic effect of the velvety red pout with groomed brows, and completely clean skin. Not one drop of foundation was applied to models' faces before they worked the runway, allowing their natural glow to come through completely. "I was looking at the girls, and they're all dewy, young, and beautiful. I thought, why cover that up?" he adds. "I love the idea of makeup, but it doesn't have to be heavy, and that's how I saw it." Considering that Wu puts a special emphasis on his skin in his personal routine, it makes sense. The designer's own lineup is pretty minimal—a Caudalie scrub paired with a face wash and moisturizer—but is effective.
His focus on skincare makes the partnership between his label and Caudalie an even more perfect fit. In celebration of the brand's 20th anniversary, founder Mathilde Thomas approached Wu to create a limited-edition design of the famed Beauty Elixir ($18; sephora.com), resulting in a stunning lace print adorning the bottle. Wu and Thomas had been friends for years, following a chance meeting at the Caudalie spa, and the designer was thrilled to be part of the brand's journey. "I come from a culture where skincare is put first and foremost," he tells us. "I always put it first. If you don't have a good base, then you can't build on it."