Posts tagged kabuki
Posts tagged kabuki
I know I keep promising to write more product related posts, but one of the reasons I started Warpaint in the first place, was because I felt there just weren’t really any makeup blogs out there that I’d actually like to read. The product heavy posts just don’t get me going as a reader. Sorry product junkies, sorry sorry sorry.
For me, one of my favourite parts of this job is the research, yes I am a bad, bad nerd, and things like that get me very excited. When the concept for a shoot comes my way, or when a client describes to me the sort of look they have in mind, I become the absolute undisputed Queen of Google. The amount of files overflowing images that I’ve amassed over the years is ree-diculous. I can pour over photography and fashion books, or become inspired by a texture, or perhaps a lip colour I see during a runway show, mixed with an eyeliner shape I’ve spotted on a 1950s movie star. I’ve spent hours over the past couple of days amassing heaps of images of various stages of decay and buildings overgrown with flowers as inspiration for an upcoming shoot. Research is your frieeeeend. It inspires me, and that’s why I hope these more image heavy posts may get your creative juices flowing too. (I have received some insanely hot products recently though, I promise my next post will be an ode to my pick of the best!)
It’s easy when writing these Makeup Artist related posts, to pick the more avant garde, more “out there” bodies of work, by an Alex Box or a Pat McGrath for instance. But personally, my style, as an artist and as an appreciator of others’ art, is more eclectic. I get just as much pleasure from creating a beautifully glowing nude skin, and fluttery set of lashes, as I do from a full on high fashion creation. Whenever makeup students or new artists ask me for advice, I always try to impress on them the importance of appreciating the full spectrum of makeup, step away from those feather eyelashes young one! Come and take a look at the elegant creations of Miss Charlotte Tilbury.
Whenever I think of the more classic beauty looks, there are a few names that spring to mind, but probably first a foremost for me it’s the legendary Ms Tilbury who takes the biscuit. Not all makeup artists embody the glamour that people expect of us (myself often included!) but Charlotte is as recogniseable in the industry for her gorgeous boho chic and flowing firey red hair as she is for her enviable body of work. A regular collaborator with Burberry, Chloe, Mango and Donna Karan amongst others (and unofficially known as Kate Moss’s favourite makeup artist - Kate has Charlotte to thank for beautifying her on her wedding day. Not jealous at all Kate), she is known for that, polished, aspirational, feminine type of beauty. At the same time, her full-on 80s vamp look for Daphne Groenveld on the cover of Vogue Paris in December 2010 was equally iconic, as was her Cleopatra inspired block pastel eye for Alexander McQueen back in 2007. Whether more dramatic, or more stripped back, the words that always spring to mind are feminine and luxurious. Charlotte’s creations seem to come unashamedly from the mind of a girly girl, and as a bit of a tomboy myself, there are elements of that I definately aspire to!
Behind the scenes Charlotte has also been responsible for creating MyFace Cosmetics, currently exclusive to Boots in the UK (MyFace also has the backing of fellow makeup artist and personal fave Kabuki, talk about a dream team!). I’ll put my hands up and say it’s probably the highest quality, drugstore-price range of makeup you can buy. I’ve been given the range to use backstage at London Fashion Week and was seriously impressed, it’s presence backstage in itself is a testament to Charlotte’s reputation, you won’t find every high street makeup brand being used at the shows. Their MyMix foundations, amongst other things, are wonderful, I often advocate foundation as being one of the parts of your personal makeup bag where it’s worth splashing the cash for a great finish, but if you want to be more thrifty, then get ye to MyFace quick sharp. Charlotte also designed a full range of eye, lip and cheek shades clearly labelled as to whether they complement fair, medium or dark skintones. Pretty much a foolproof method for the woman on the street, to rid makeup drawers nationwide of stacks of pretty shades you’ll never use. Gawd bless you Miss Tilbury.
Enough of my gushing, feast your eyes on the beautiful creations of the lady herself, polished perfection never looked so pretty.
A few things have lead me to writing a blog about this slightly odd topic; this will be a post about “THINGS YOU CAN STICK ON YOUR FACE”, for lack of a better turn of phrase. Or rather, embellishment, the haberdashery of makeup. When the vision calls for it, makeup doesn’t need to stop at powders and paints, we’ve been adding lashes for years without a thought, and gems on the odd occasion, so why not take things a little further?
Those who’ve read my post about Alex Box will have heard me talk about her love for applying all sorts of unorthodox materials when creating a look, and how after my time assisting her I’ve grown to often do the same. Never again will I walk by an art shop and come out without bags of sequins, stickers and Lord knows what else. Kabuki, the Brit genius behind the stunning Manish Arora butterflies is a master of creating beautiful bejewelled applique for the face. I remember the first time I was handed a Topolino book by my tutor back in my college days, being amazed by his use of flower petals and feathers, a look much copied, to the point where artists are now hungry for new materials to manipulate and create with.
The editorial that recently got me thinking about the subject at hand, is the jawdroppingly beautiful "Butterfly Effect" story featuring heavenly new face Elza Luijendijk that Ben Toms recently shot for Dazed and Confused. The images are surreal, ethereal and jaw-droppingly beautiful, as Peter Phillips uses, what at times look like real butterflies, moths and insects to embellish the skin of the delicate looking model. This is one of those “God I wish I’d thought of that” type editorials, using unorthodox materials, in a totally new way, to wondrous effect. Just plain stunning.
And for those wanting to rock the look but not yet ready to go out covered in lovely bugs, there are more “wearable” options, should you wish to embellish that pretty little face of yours. "Face Lace" is a great concept, perfectly executed and designed by makeup artist Phyllis Cohen. Yes you guessed it, it’s like lace, but for your face. Joking aside, Phyllis has created truly beautiful applique pieces that can be applied over makeup, creating stunningly intricate patterns on the skin. It feels as though the concept, if handled by the wrong person, could have come out feeling cheap, and looking it, but FaceLace looks the opposite; elegant, high end and expensive. They range from just £11.63 for smaller pieces, to £16.63 for the beautiful Noveau eye mask. I think my favourite is the Fleurty design seen below. God I’d put these on everyone if I could. Yummers.
And for those not quite ready to go the whole hog, why not pick up a set of the absolutely darling Paperself lashes? That’s right, you guessed again, false lashes, made from paper. The designs on these beauties are something you need to be more up close and personal to see, but work so, so beautifully as a gorgeously unique bit of detail to add to your makeup. At £10.50 or £12.50, in whimsical designs ranging from under the sea scenes to deers and butterlies, they’re just so dinky and gorgeous they make my heart flutter a little bit.
Not ballsy enough for you? Need more inspiration? Look no further than this ode to awesome embellishment. Now excuse me, I’m off to my local Hobbycraft.
I’m really relishing the thought of getting the chance to spill the beans about some of my favourite makeup artists over time, maybe introduce you to the work of some you’ve not seen before, and for purely selfish reasons, to get the time to look back over their work and find inspiration all over again! The temptation is to talk about the more obscure artists, or certainly those that aren’t the MVPs, or perhaps newer artists, to keep things interesting.
Truthfully though, that would seem to be a case of cutting off my nose to spite my face, as the fact is that while there are a plethora of incredible, inspiring makeup artists at the top of their game right now, one woman always stands out as THE makeup artist. The Queen Bee if you will. And that lady is of course, Miss Pat McGrath.
To 99.999% of society, uttering the name of Pat McGrath would result in a stream of blank faces, and oh what a poor, unenlightened bunch they would be, because to makeup artists, this woman is kind of like our Elvis. Basically a bit of a legend. I don’t get starstruck these days when working with celebs, and friends will vouch for the fact that I’m rarely tongue tied, but when I saw Miss McGrath quietly having a mooch around Selfridges beauty hall a few years ago, I was struck by the need to rush up and gush at her like a crazed fan, coupled with a total inability to think of anything to say. I turned into a total fan girl. And for that reason alone she has to be be the subject of my first Ode to a Makeup Artist. Vogue didn’t call her “The most influential makeup artist in the world” for nuthin’.
Originally from the more than slightly unglamorous no man’s land of Northampton, like many other great makeup artists McGrath had no formal training, although she did study basic Art Foundation upon leaving school. It seems the makeup academies and courses that are so prevalent these days are a modern monster, they didn’t much exist at all a decade ago, and as such most of the makeup artists I hold in great esteem never trained in any official fashion. Becoming a makeup artist was merely an extension of their already thriving creativity. Alex Box began as a fine artist, Kay Montano as a club kid, Kabuki as a fabric designer. People like Pat are part of the reason I believe it’s passion and a love of the arts that make a true makeup artist, not the ability to write a thesis on the various layers of the epidermis, or afford the often astronomical fees.
Pat first came to prominence in the early 90s, working regularly with the then relatively unknown iD magazine, her use of colour, texture and her unique eye for undeniably cool beauty helped raise the magazine to prominence. She still remains their beauty director to this day and hasn’t looked back since.
Pick your favourite Italian Vogue covers, or American Vogue editorials, big chance that was Pat McGrath. Love that Steven Meisel shoot? No doubt Pat McGrath. Thought Rooney Mara looked like a beautiful badass in “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”? that was Pat’s doing. Using a product by Armani, SKII, Max Factor, D&G? Designed by Pat McGrath. Wearing an on trend makeup look? Don’t be surprised if, even without your knowing it, like some sort of Derren Browne of beauty, it was inspired by Pat McGrath. This is because Pat has, for the last Lord knows how many years, designed more runway looks than any other artist. She has a crack team of assistants, racing with her around roughly thirty five shows per fashion week, with 2 vans FULL of makeup, tools and references. Rumour has it her kit consists of roughly 50 hold-alls and suitcases (my heart is all a flutter). The makeup artist Kenneth Soh, part of Pat’s team, used to regale me with tales of the looks they had created that season, and I absolutely relished hearing about the different products and techniques that had gone into creating each look.
From the decadent, surreal creatures she created for Galliano at Dior, to the understated, polished healthy glow of Stella McCartney, each season Pat creates the looks, that filter through to become the makeup trends, that are sold in the shops and are then worn on the faces of girls in your street. The prevalence of bleached brows on the braver fashionistas in recent years? You can thank Pat for that. And the fact that the red lip, after so, so many years, still remains a classic symbol of glamour and sensuality, season after season? Don’t be surprised if Pat has something to do with it.
So there you have it, a frankly far too short and not remotely gush-worthy enough profile of my ultimate makeup heroine. Thankfully it seems Pat shows no sign of putting down her makeup brushes (or fingers, she loves to apply with those fingers!) any time soon, so we’ll get to enjoy her neverending, always changing creativity for years yet. And now I’ll leave you to drool over a selection of some of my favourite McGrath creations of recent years.
What a ledge.
- Vogue Italia - November 2009 -
- Dior - Spring/Summer 2009 -
- Dolce & Gabbana Cosmetics - Autumn/Winter 2009 -
- Dior - Autumn/Winter 2008 -
-Vogue Germany - March 2011 -
- Prada Fragrance - Fall/Winter 2009 -
- Gucci - Autumn/Winter 2011 -
- Vogue Italia - May 2009 -
- Dior Haute Couture - Spring/Summer 04 -
- V Magazine - July 2009 -
- Louis Vuitton - Spring Summer 2011 -