Category Archives: Interviews

The Interview: Sophy Robson, the Nail Queen

Kate Moss in Vogue - nails by Sophy RobsonSophy is arguably the hottest manicurist in the world at the moment, having just finished the runway shows for Louis Vuitton, Vivienne Westwood and Stella Macartney (not to mention creating the totally bad-ass ghetto nails at Henry Holland’s London show that were all over style.com), shot campaigns for Tom Ford, Longchamp and McQueen, and tended to the celebrity nails of Alexa Chung and every supermodel in the world – put it this way, Kate Moss is a regular. Not bad when only ten short years ago she was working in a nail bar in Soho!

She is loved in the industry for her sparkly personality and her endless technical skills – this is a lady who has custom blended fifty nail polishes for a runway show, has her own blog (which is ace by the way – check it out at www.sophyrobson.com for a real behind the scenes look at fashion), created the graded nail and basically invented this season’s trend, the Mannequin Nail. So without further ado, I bring you ten questions with the Nail Queen herself:

1) What are you working on at the moment?
I have just finished fashion week (thirteen shows!) come back and done a four looks nail story for Grazia and a Topshop make up and Armani campaign straight after so once I caught my breath, I am now working on a display for a press day next week at PR Mandi Lennard’s basement in Hoxton. I have never had a PR before so this is very exciting. I have also chosen a red polish for a new charity brand launching in April called All For Eve.

2) Favourite nails job ever?
I have enjoyed and felt fulfillment from many, many jobs. However, show-wise, I think my favourite was the first time I did the Louis Vuitton show last year, as working with someone like Marc Jacobs and an organisation as efficiently run as Louis Vuitton was both a demanding and rewarding experience. When I was re- booked again this season it was quite an honour for me, and the sense of accomplishment after we worked to produce another trendsetting nail for the runway is very high!Sophy Robson's nails in Elle

3) Worst nails job ever?
There was one nightmare job once but I have almost erased it from memory now. I don’t think the person in question is even in business any more so who cares!

4) Top 5 products?
Seche Vite – Dry Fast Top Coat
Solar Oil for cuticles
Diamancel nail files
Chanel Nail polish

5) If you could tell women to do one thing differently with their nails, what would it be?
STOP leaving your polish on for too long! This is the main cause of dehydration and yellowing of the nail plate.

6) How did you get started in the business?
Initially I was working for a trendy West end nail bar chain and I began to meet commercial models who would come in to get fake nails done for jobs. I was good at producing very natural looking fake nails, and began to collect their tearsheets from magazines as evidence of my work. Then I began to approach hair and make up agencies and it sort of went from there.

7) How is it different to when you started?
Nails have become big in fashion now. When I started there was barely any photographers or stylists that recognised the need for a manicurist. So the interest has increased, and generally manicurists are treated with much more respect than when I started. Also there are so many more opportunities now, as the demand for nails has grown so much.

8) Which work are you most proud of?
When the Mert & Marcus pictures of Erykah Badu in Tom Ford’s White Patchouli perfume appeared, I could not believe how good that image was. I felt like I was not likely to get a better representation of my work than that! The French Vogue cover of Laetitia Casta’s nails especially when someone told me it had been used as a reference for another shoot they were on. I am also proud of the “gradient” or Ombre” nails look as it started as a small post on my blog called “colour change nails” and went round the world. I love it when people write “I have never been that into nails until I saw this….”

Sophy Robson9) What do you love doing in your spare time?
Well when I have some I love to spend time with my daughter… she is becoming like a teenager now so we do girly things together like shopping, going out for dinner, cinema or bowling. I also love staying at hotels and going running in the park.

10) What are your trend predictions for the coming season for nails?
Pastel blue nails and other candy colours. Nails are a fashion accessory now so you can be as adventurous and stylish as you like.

The Interview – Serge Lutens

Serge-LutensMakeupMole has been incredibly fortunate to have been granted a rare interview from world-famous perfumer and makeup artist, Serge Lutens. After more than forty years in the beauty business he has some rare insights to offer. I am very grateful to Mr Lutens for taking the time to answer my questions.

1) Aside from Serge Lutens Beaute, what are you working on at the moment?

To tell you the truth, to me it doesn’t even feel like working! Let’s just say things happened along the way. It’s not a job as such but the identity of a moment.

2) What was your favourite makeup job ever?

I would say that for me, makeup was not a choice, but it presented itself to me, and it transformed my imagination in that instant. Makeup is the medium that permitted me to create these images that represent an expression. The makeup is the passage from what is real to what is imagined, the passage of the white fixed by the powder…when the skin is transformed into stone. After this step, the rest is a continuation of the story and the way it is inscribed on the skin.

3) What was your worst makeup job ever?

The moment I was mistaken for a makeup artist!

4) Top 5 products you would recommend?

Who am I to recommend something? Makeup for me is not central. It is one of the things of which I construct my artistic vision. The product could be coal, flour or even a mask (Japanese Noh theatre remains one of the most beautiful in the world!) What interests me in the end is the ritual and what it means. The expression is more important than the instrument that creates it: the paint doesn’t make the painting or the pretty pen a writer!Serge-Lutens-makeup

5) If you could tell women to do one thing differently with their makeup, then what would it be?

If it is makeup for makeup’s sake then it is of no interest to me. If the makeup represents something one wants to express in that instant, it becomes an instrument and this is interesting, but not to be made up is also makeup in itself!

6) How is it different to when you started?

That’s a long time ago. By chance I was working in a hair salon, and two years later on a busy day, I cut a strand of hair that was for me, a rupture with what was surrounding me, and “I cut short” my hair career. This was an awakening!

7) Which work are you most proud of?
It has never been about work for me. I have made things and said things and written things – all have been instruments but none have been central.

8) What do you love doing in your spare time?

Free time at home is used doing the same things – I am always searching for something! I am permanently active. I don’t read books or watch films to distract myself because I am always searching for something.

Serge Lutens Beaute is available in the UK at Harvey Nichols London and in the US at Barneys New York.

Check out my review of Serge Lutens’s fabulous  lipstick here

The Interview – Hairdresser Extraordinaire, Neil Moodie

Here at Makeup Mole it’s usually all about the makeup – makeup, makeup and more makeup, and when we’re done, for dessert? A healthy slathering of makeup!

But I have to confess today it’s not about the makeup, it’s about the hair – to be exact, an interview with the extraordinary, and very lovely hairdresser, Neil Moodie.

Neil has worked for a who’s who of the fashion industry, recently wrapping campaigns for Gap and Hugo Boss and tending the tresses of Harry Potter star Emma Watson. And as if that’s not enough, he’s also created a line of Pro styling tools called WAM that utilize his background from fashion shoots to create professional tools that deliver top of the line session hairstyling performance, at home.

I am by no means a top hairdresser, but I do love the innovative shape of the WAM hairdryer that gives you options on how to hold it, and it really is one of the slickest hair machines around. The curling tongs and straightening irons are equally high-performance and are regularly tested on the world’s supermodels! You can learn more about WAM Tools at www.wamhair.com.NeilMoodieVogueCivers

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Aside from WAM what are you doing at the moment?WAM

Working on putting some beauty shoots together for a couple of big publications and working on some new Iconic head hats with Flora Mclean.

Favourite hair job ever?

Very tough question to answer but I think working on the Kate Moss Pictures with Corinne Day for the National Portrait gallery, because they will be part of the permanent exhibition there, so it makes them very special to me.

Worst hair job ever?

An advertising job in Paris about 8 years ago. it was my birthday and we worked until 4 in the morning, then a certain person who shall remain nameless but made the shoot so difficult for everyone, asked if I would cut their hair at 4am when the shoot ended – I had to do the haircut, and I’ve never forgiven them for being so mean and have always turned down working with them ever since, because I don’t court meanness!

Top 5 products?

Mason and Pearson Brush, Bumble and Bumble Prep Spray, WAM Hairdryer, WAM curling Irons and Japanese Serrated Pins.

If you could tell women to do one thing differently with their hair, what would it be?

Stop straightening their hair with straightening irons so it looks like a wig.  It never looks good and never will. It looks like they are trying to prove that they have a set of straightening irons, rather than proving they have great hair. It also ruins their hair too, so not a good idea all round! Please stop ladies!!!!!!

How did you get started in the business?

I’ve been hairdressing for 25 years this year and after working in salons for 10 years I met legendary photographer Corinne Day who asked me to do the hair for a shoot for The Face magazine after I colored the models hair pre- shoot as a favour. The original hairdresser who was to work on the shoot dropped out at the last minute due to other commitments, so Corinne called me and asked if I could step in. The rest is history!

How is it different to when you started?

Very!  The media coverage on the fashion industry has meant a lot more people are now wanting to work in fashion because they think it brings fame, but the people who really do well are actually successful because they are just really passionate about their work and don’t care about the fame.

Which work are you most proud of?

My first Vogue cover with Gisele. It feels like such an achievement to have a Vogue cover as there are only 12 a year. It was so exciting to see it on the shelf in newsagents.

I’m also proud of my hat collections, Iconic Heads, which I collaborated on with Flora McLean, because it took me out of my hair comfort zone, yet they’ve been very popular, which is a great feeling when you step outside of your work parameters.

What do you love doing in your spare time?

Running, yoga, watching tennis (and playing badly occasionally), watching movies and going to art galleries. I love listening to music with my headphones on too as it can change your mood immensely.

Marian Newman – The Interview

Marian Newman NailsMarion Newman is one of the best manicurists in the world, with more Vogue covers to her name than any other nail artist. In addition to her extraordinary roster of high-fashion and celebrity clients, she’s managed to find time to launch her own line of nail polishes, the Inkredibles, that I’ve been loving ever since they came out. Today we’re lucky enough to have an interview with the lady in question.

1) Aside from Marian Newman Nails, what are you doing at the moment?

My ‘day job’, that is sessions work for editorials and advertising in the studio. Plus, Fashion Weeks come around so quickly!!

2) Favourite nail job ever?

Everything with Nick Knight! That includes 10 years of Dior. But I have to include my 12” spiral nails for Givenchy Couture and my ‘connected’ nails for Italian Vogue Giello.

3) Worst nail job ever?

I don’t mind but I do get a bit fed up with being asked for the ‘natural buff’! I’d like to think that I can do the best ‘natural buff’ but it doesn’t exactly challenge me!

4) Top 5 products?

My own ‘Right Here Nail Oil’, Dior Manicure Ridge Filler, Crème De La Mer Hand Treatment, my Glosser, my Wrapture Plus top coat. I created my products because I know what I need to perform in all circumstances so I can’t help but believe in them ‘cos they work!

5) If you could tell women to do one thing differently with their nails, what would it be?Marian Newman - Victoria Beckham

Use a nail oil every day. I guarantee an improvement!

6) How did you get started in the business?

Doing nails? By doing a make up course! Sessions? Being asked to do ‘nails’ on a shoot with Nick Knight!

7) How is it different to when you started?

I was the first true sessions technician in the UK. Now, so many people think the job is easy! It’s not just the skill that is important. Fitting in and being a team player is just as important. So many believe that the job is easy and charge a fraction of the real sessions techs. Plus budgets are being cut all the time and retouching is so much more refined! I grew up with the fact that retouching costs a fortune and must be avoided at all costs. It’s different now. My son is one of the best retouchers so I know what can be put right, realistically, so quickly!

8) Which work are you most proud of?

I’d like to think that every piece of work is as good as it can be (but don’t we all!!!) Staying one of Nick Knights team for 12 years is what I’m most proud of. Anyone can do anything once or twice. Staying at that level for 12 years is something that I am very proud of. I’m also very proud of creating a brand that is genuinely something different in the world. In addition to having the ability and amazing loyalty of my colleagues (and my husband) to launch it into the market and achieve such amazing support from the beauty press and friends in the sessions world who continue to support me.

9) What do you love doing in your spare time?

Spending time with my children. Being creative with ideas. Just being at home. I have a new puppy so want to make her into a lovely family dog.

Marion’s range of nail products can be viewed at www.mariannewmannails.com

Kay Montano – The Interview

Kate Moss's iconic Calvin Klein ad

Kate Moss's iconic Calvin Klein ad

When your first job was a Face cover with Ray Petri, legendary creator of the Buffalo style, and you’re only 16 and you’ve never done a makeup job before, well where do you go from there? That’s easy, by the age of 18 you’ve racked up your first British Vogue cover and shows for John Galliano and Jasper Conran (and in those days, there were no assistants – just 15 models needing makeup, and you!) Then you’re doing Kate Moss for the iconic Calvin Klein Obsession ads, after moving to New York for the birth of grunge. You stay there for eight years, working for every major publication, fashion house and photographer, including Mario Testino, Mario Sorrenti, Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel, Patrick Demarchalier and Helmut Newton.

At the same time you start working with the world’s biggest celebrities, preparing them for red-carpet events and magazine features, including Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz and Nicole Kidman. Moving back to London you become the new consultant to Chanel and combine your red carpet work with Kylie Minogue, Thandie Newton, Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller and Gwyneth Paltrow with major campaigns for Chanel and continuing to shoot for British, French and Italian Vogue.

Sound like a crazy dream? Well if you’re Kay Montano, that’s your life. Twenty five years of experience as a makeup artist has made Kay one of the most revered members of the industry, and today we’ve got an interview with her.

1. Favourite makeup job ever?

Toss up between American Vogue in Vietnam with Kate Moss and Bruce Weber, a Prince video (also had the divine Argentinean actress Mia Maestro whose eyes I covered in purple as an homage to Prince) and the two Calvin Klein ads  (Kate Moss in Virgin Islands, Amber Valetta in Panama) I did on paradisiacal beaches.

2. Worst makeup job ever?

Let’s just say there are a lot of people in fashion who need to do a lot of work on themselves, who are not given boundaries because others benefit too much from overlooking their dysfunction.

Daria, Kate Moss and Lara Stone by Bruce Weber

Daria, Kate Moss and Lara Stone by Bruce Weber

3. Top 5 products?

Chanel Vitalumiere foundation, Chanel eye pencil in Ambre, Bobbi Brown Black Gel Eyeliner, Shu Uemura eyelash curler, M Lab moisturiser.

4. If you could tell women to do one thing differently with their makeup, what would it be?

Stop over-plucking your eyebrows, you look really weird. Strictly makeup only? Experiment & have fun for chrissakes!

5. How did you get started in the business?

Via clubbing and meeting pop stars.

6. How is fashion different to when you started out?

It is totally mainstream with none of the sophisticated sub-culture that I was fortunate enough to grow up marinating in. It is also completely cross-referenced now. Before, there were always VERY distinct tribes with distinct differences.

7. Which work are you most proud of?

Strangely, seeing as I’ve done a lot of prestigious and edgy editorial, it’s actually the most classically beautiful work like the covers and my red carpet work as this is where skill, effort and experience come into play and where I feel I can make the biggest difference, the biggest impact.

8. What do you love doing in your spare time?

I love to practice yoga, walk in the park, go to my local and spend time with my new puppy Quincy Jones.

Is there anything else that you’d like to talk about?

I want to bring back subculture and not have everyone feel ‘style-ruled’ by the fashion press. Ignore us! Do your own thing & dance to your own drum.