Verushka

Current Obsession: Veruschka

Recently I have been looking a lot at body painting, and one of the masters and pioneers of body painting is also one of the world’s most beautiful women, a 60’s model by the name of Veruschka. She was actually known as the world’s first supermodel.

In the 60’s models did their own hair and makeup so she was a very gifted makeup artist, branching out in 1966 to body painting, which then became a lifelong artistic pursuit. Using only makeup she would transform her extraordinary gangly physique into animals, rocks, trees, wallpaper – anything that took her out of her own skin.

Six feet three inches tall and with impossibly long limbs she inspired countless photographers and is the subject of many of the iconic fashion photographs of the 60’s and 70’s.

I was fortunate enough to meet Veruschka when I was assisting Kay Montano on a shoot with David Bailey, one of my favourite photographers. That day he was shooting four of the greatest models of all time – Veruschka, Penelope Tree, Twiggy and Kate Moss for Vanity Fair. You can imagine what an amazing day in the studio that was! All of them are incredible women and there were some extraordinary and quite surreal moments that day as they reminisced together.

Veruschka is still a force to be reckoned with now, and when you read about her life, you know why. Born into the Prussian aristocracy, her father was a key member of the German Resistance, and eventually was executed by the Nazis. Veruschka and the rest of her family then became refugees, spending the rest of World War II in labour camps. She eventually moved to Florence where she was discovered as a model at the age of 20, before ending up in New York and becoming one of the world’s top models. She was a muse of Avedon, Peter Beard and Irving Penn and famously appeared in Antonioni’s 1966 cult film, Blow Up. (The photographer in Blow up was also modelled on David Bailey).

Here’s some Veruschka videos for you – the first from Style.com about the release of her book, Veruschka, with some of her extraordinary fashion moments in it. The second one is dubbed into Russian (so super handy for my Russian readers), but who cares if you can’t understand it – Veruschka’s breathtaking face speaks for itself.

Reese Witherspoon

In My Kit – Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks

These might be the greatest thing since sliced bread – actually way better than sliced bread since they are perfect, shimmery molten eyeshadow sticks of exactly the colours that you want, and best of all, they’re gluten-free!

I’ve become obsessed with these of late. They are a lightweight cream eyeshadow that just has the most perfect texture. They’re in a thin stick form, so not only are they extremely lightweight (which you are SO GRATEFUL for when you have 40 kilograms of makeup to lug to work each day), but the shape of the tip is absolutely perfect for creating dreamy highlights around the eyes. There is a reason that all the top red carpet makeup artists are using them on their celeb clients you know! Mai Quynh used them on Chloe Moretz at Cannes, as well as Reese Witherspoon at the Golden Globes.

They also come in a great range of colours and are a lovely base for a smoky eye or perfect as a shimmering accent. You can use them as a shadow or as a liner as well, so they’re just right for everyday life as they do double-duty and are even small enough to fit in an evening bag, if you need a quick retouch.

There are now 23 shades available, and since Laura Mercier is, well Laura Mercier, they really are gorgeous, flattering colours for every skintone. These suckers are fast, also. For when you have literally two seconds to do your makeup (and a toddler may or may not be dragging themselves up your legs trying to get to your makeup because the best thing EVER is a toddlerin your makeup) they are literally just swipe, smoosh with brush or finger and go.

And did I mention they’re gluten-free?

 lauramercier.com

Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks

 

 

Karlie Kloss Nile Rodgers I'll be there

Current Obsession: Inez and Vinoodh’s New Video for CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers (and Karlie Kloss’s unbelievable abs) “I’ll Be There”

I dare you not to dance when you hear the new version of CHIC’s disco classic, “I’ll Be There”, which has been directed by famed photographer duo, Inez and Vinoodh – and if you’re a fan of Paris Vogue as I am, you’ll know their work from every recent issue of the magazine. (This month has an absolutely gorgeous 70’s disco spread in it, so they’re on a bit of a roll with that theme). 

The incredibly lovely model Karlie Kloss provides the eye candy and I also dare you to not enrol immediately in an abs class at your local gym after seeing her floor-based disco moves. Trying on sequinned mini-dresses never looked that good.

Everybody dance!

Becca Cosmetics

Right Now: BECCA Cosmetics is now available on Cult Beauty!

Pretty excited to hear that one of my favourite makeup brands is now available on one of the best online beauty destinations, Cult Beauty (because really, who hasn’t had too much Wine Time and cracked out the credit card for some late night internet beauty therapy?)

I’ve been a big fan of BECCA Cosmetics since they started right when I was starting my makeup career – in fact, they sponsored the first show I ever did, and were VERY generous with product, so I had a great selection of all their foundations and concealers for years in my kit. Since those days they’ve gone from strength to strength yet always remaining true to their brand DNA of gorgeous natural textures and being inclusive of all skin tones, plus their foundations never feel cakey or heavy and make the skin look amazing.

Recently they’ve launched some new products that I’m keen to try – the Ultimate Coverage Concealing Cream looks pretty great, as does the beach Tint Shimmer Souffle (I can actually hear my bank account begging for mercy).

So if you like to look like you, only much, much prettier, hop over to Cult Beauty (credit card and wine are optional).

Becca

Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat

Secret Weapon – Sigma Brush Cleansing Mat

Can I just say whoever came up with this is a genius. So, so clever, and one of those why didn’t anyone think of this before items? It’s a palm-sized mat of corrugated rubber that you use when you wash your brushes, and it’s a life-changer (well it is if you wash about 500 brushes a week. You know who you are!)

Being a makeup artist, you get to clean brushes. A lot. As in, after every single job. We all have different ways to do it – using soaps or special alcohol cleansers, drying on radiators or in the sun, hanging off the edge of tables and using special organic shampoo or conditioner when you want to give them a bit of extra love. No matter how you do it, it always has to be done, and done well, since dirty brushes are a health hazard, make you want to gag, and as the French say, c’est pas possible.

So anything that makes your brush-washing life easier is PRETTY damn exciting let me tell you, and in hundreds of years of brush washing, nothing has come along to make it easier, apart from armies of assistants.

Basically you whack the Sigma mat in the bottom of the sink, wet your dirty brush and tromp your dirty brush down on it. Give it a 2 second wiggle and it’s clean. I’m not kidding. It leaves your brushes softer, cleaner and speeds up the process by I would say conservatively, about 30%. When you have 200 brushes to wash after a 14 hour day, they are precious seconds that could be spent sleeping! And you can use your usual shampoo or soap concoction on your brushes as normal. The mat has 7 different texture areas on it to get the dirt out of every brush, from synthetic to natural fibres, from big brushes to your tiniest detail or liner brushes.

And if you’re assisting right now and brush washing pretty much IS your life, you need to buy one of these before you finish this post. You can thank me later…

PS Holy crap! It costs $32 which is an awful lot for a piece of rubber. However if you valued out the time you save by shortening your brush washing time, it would quickly pay for itself. Just think of it as a yoga mat for your brushes.

Also strangely the only one I can find online is a large mat, whereas the one I have is a mini and is perfect for cleaning all my brushes. Let me know in the comments please if you find a link to where you can get the mini!

Sigma Spa® Brush Cleaning Mat

Thandie Newton and Kay Montano

Right Now: Thandie and Kay’s ‘Honest Beauty’ series

I’m loving this exclusive new beauty series on Net-a-Porter’s The Edit from celebrity makeup artist Kay Montano and gorgeous actress Thandie Newton. Since Sunday was International Women’s Day, what better way to celebrate it than with a couple of the coolest feminists I know?

Net-a-Porter is obviously the most gorgeous fashion site on the internet, and The Edit is their online weekly fashion magazine. (Can we also please talk about the ridiculously amazing Porter magazine for a moment? It’s currently the most beautiful fashion magazine in the world, to my mind. It’s the only magazine I buy in hard physical form anymore, as all my regular subscriptions I now buy on the iPad. My bookshelves are positively groaning under the weight of ancient Numeros and Paris Vogues, and there came a time when I had to go digital. Possibly the time when my husband said he would divorce me if he had to move five massive bookshelves full of magazines again? It might have been around then.) There’s just something about Porter magazine – every shoot and every page is consistently so beautiful that I just can’t resist it. But I digress!

Kay Montano and Thandie Newton are not only close friends, they have worked together for many years and Kay has been responsible for many of Thandie’s greatest makeup hits on the red carpet over the years. Thandie is no slouch in the makeup department when left Kay-less however, busting out a gorgeous prune smoky eye on her own for the Oscars a couple of weeks ago. So between them, what they don’t know about makeup basically isn’t worth knowing. They have made a new series of films for Net-a Porter’s The Edit to demystify and reveal the truth about creating beauty perfection.

From assisting Kay I know both of them well enough to say that I can’t think of two better women to empower you through makeup – brilliantly intelligent, erudite, funny, and they really do believe in female empowerment, whether it’s through makeup or loftier ways.

Since they know as much about concealer as Stephen Hawking knows about particle acceleration (although not sure how they’d feel about being called ‘The Stephen Hawkings of makeup’?) they can seriously teach you a thing or two. Plus it’s a great excuse to log onto Net-a-Porter’s beauty section and see what’s new. You know you’re always going to find some tasty beauty treats when they have brands like Hourglass, Chantecaille, RMS Beauty, Charlotte Tilbury, Ellis Faas and now Illamasqua on their beauty roster.


You must also check out Thandie and Kay’s brilliant blog, Thandiekay.com. This week’s post is a look at the current increase in diversity on the catwalk and the best beauty read I’ve had in awhile.

The beauty insider