By now you’d have to have been living in a yurt in Outer Mongolia to have missed seeing the incredible campaign images from Illamasqua’s newest collection, Toxic Nature (Creative Director Alex Box in Uber box Mode on this one!)
I have to confess to not being a fan of Valentine’s Day generally – well not the sickly sweet chocolates and teddy bears version (unless you’re five, when it’s therefore age-appropriate and OK). Otherwise, really the flying cupids draped in red velvet and the love hearts on everything are just twee and make me feel vaguely ill.
Come on, we’re all grown ups, right? So in the spirit of Valentine’s Day in the raciest sense of the word, I bring you an Agent Provocateur video I worked on a couple of years ago, with the unbelievable Rosie Huntington-Whiteley playing the woman scorned. Fabulous director Greg Williams wrote and directed it, Kay Montano was on makeup, and Johnnie Sapong (one of my favourite hairdressers) was on hair. The set was closed (you’ll see why when you watch it!) and the AP underwear – well it speaks for itself.
Here’s my beauty recipe for a dangerous Valentine’s day – the kind you’re really looking forward to…
For a touchable body I’m loving Liz Earle’s delicious new Energising Body Lotion with Damask Rose Flower Water and Sweet Orange Oil (this is as sweet as this recipe gets).
For a sultry gaze, mix up MAC Smolder and Coffee eye khols and add a little bit of grease like Vaseline or Elizabeth Arden’s 8 Hour Cream. Not loads but enough to give it that just-been rumpled look. Add lots of Lancome Hypnose mascara for some serious bedroom eyes.
Cheeks should be softly blushed – I like a good cream blush. Becca make a fab selection of cream blushes that look amazing on – particular faves are Geranium, Turkish Rose, Wild Orchid and Amaryllis.
To gild your body I like Illamasqua’s Ether Powdered Metal, which provides a golden glow for fair skins whilst Powdered Metal in Thalia is beautiful on darker skins.
Nails also must be Illamasqua this Valentine’s as they have the best polishes around – I’ll be using Throb, a deep blood red, or Load, which is well, a gorgeous creamy, milky colour.
No Valentine’s day would be complete without a kiss! Dab on Myface Gigabyte Lipstick in Strawberry Fields or Cherry Bomb, and add a touch of their Lip Pop gloss in 136 for lips that would give Rosie a run for her money.
Because this is the site with no shame, and because I haven’t had any cheesily fabulous 80’s music on here for awhile, here’s some Spandau Ballet to ease you into this season’s hottest trend for holiday parties – Gold.
Now that I’ve blown your mind with some feathered hair and ostentatious guitar chord playing (check around the 1.23 mark if you’re into that sort of thing), it’s time to get down to business, how to shimmer like a star this Christmas.
The best way to wear golds is generally on the eyes – although this season there are some ace gold nailpolishes around too (but more on them later).
Gold suits every eye colour and in fact every skintone, and metallics in general are huge this season.
My fave way to wear gold on the eyes is to layer a cream with a powder, and for full-on Midas eyes you can’t really go past Illamasqua’s Solstice Liquid Metal with Pure Pigment in Marvel. This is what Alex Box used to create the Golden Goddess look for the Myer show in Sydney this year, and I can attest to its – well, golden-ness. I love these because the gold isn’t too yellow and fake looking, and they have a burnished quality when they catch the light (golds that are too fake and yellow looking make me feel, quite frankly, ill. So cheap and nasty!)
If you fancy something a little less full-on, Laura Mercier does a lovely gold metallic crème eyeshadow in, aptly enough, Gold, and Chanel do a beautiful gold powder eyeshadow. It’s also, funnily enough, called Gold.
There are a few tricks to making metallics work. Firstly you need to apply your shadow, then line your eyes right at the base of the top lashes with a black liquid liner or gel eyeliner. This defines the eye and makes it much more party-worthy. Black or brown pencil liner on the inner rims is optional, depending on whether you really want to get your sexy on. I like MAC’s Boot Black liquid and Bobbi Brown’s Black Ink gel liner for this purpose. You can either just do a wash of gold on the lids, or you can use a nice matte brown shadow to wash into the crease to give some good depth and definition (I’m currently loving NARS Bengali as a great all round chocolate brown eyeshadow). Two coats of your favourite mascara (my current fave mazzie is L’Oreal’s Volume Million Lashes mascara for a party lash), and false lashes are optional but always a winner for parties. MAC and Shu Uemura are great for expensive ones, Ardell if you’re saving your pennies.
You can keep the rest of the face simple by using the minimum of foundation and powder, some bronzer and keep the lip a delicious nude. I love YSL Rouge Pur in 132 a gorgeous golden pinky beige. Golden-beige gloss on top, something like Chanel’s Beige Guitare.
Nails are also a key place to go for gold. Myface L’il Bling is an amazing new range of metallic polish, and their gold polish is particularly lovely (it’s called Gilt-y). For the ultimate gold nail though you should check out Nail Rock. Nail Rock are individual nail wraps in different patterns, including metallics, that you heat up with a hair dryer onto the nail. They do take a bit of getting used to, but for a true Midas touch, you can’t go past these. They are the creation of London manicurist Zoe Pocock and they last up to 7 days on nails and 8 weeks on the toes, plus they are inexpensive (£6.50 per set), so there’s no excuse for not going for gold. (Feathered hair and ostentatious guitar playing are optional).
This is a lady who really needs no introduction, and I am very proud to include her in my Interviews. She is the most creative of makeup artists, the Creative Director of Illamasqua Cosmetics and a regular contributor to Italian Vogue, I-D, Numero and Harper’s Bazaar, to name but a few. She works with photographers like Nick Knight and Karl Lagerfeld and her work is renowned across the world for it’s completely iconoclastic and other-worldly approach to beauty. It’s makeup, but not as we know it.
On a personal level I have assisted Alex for over six years now in London, Paris (and even Sydney!) and she really is magic with a brush. Her makeup truly is art, and she is still one of the most wonderful, down to earth (and hilarious!) people I know. Without further ado, I give you The Interview:
1) What are you working on at the moment?
MY DRAWINGS. RESEARCHING AND COLLECTING MY THOUGHTS TOGETHER FOR ILLAMASQUA’S SPRING SUMMER COLLECTION AND TOP SECRET PROJECT THAT COMES OUT NEXT YEAR, BOTH INCREDIBLY EXCITING. I’M ALWAYS JOTTING DOWN IDEAS OR DRAWING LOOKS ON THE BACK OF SOMETHING OR IN MY SKETCH BOOK, I’VE ALWAYS WRITTEN INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES OR WORDS TO PROMPT ALTERNATIVE AVENUES OF THOUGHT, INSTEAD OFJUST CUTTING OUT PICTURES ALL THE TIME, BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE IT ALLOWS YOU TO GO OFF IN YOUR OWN WORLD MORE. MY HOUSE LOOKS LIKE A CRAFT SHOP AT THE MOMENT AND I KEEP FINDING DOUBLE SIDED GLITTER TAPE IN THE MOST UNUSUAL PLACES!
2) Favourite makeup job ever?
THATS EXTREMELY HARD, I ALWAYS LIKE TO SAY ‘THE BEST ONE IS THE NEXT ONE’, I DONT LOOK BACK MUCH, I’M ALWAYS THINKING ABOUT HOW MY OWN PRACTICE COULD EVOLVE AND BE IMPROVED OR FIND A NEW TECHNIQUE , THE HOLY GRAIL OF MAKEUP, THE PERFECT MOMENT. AS A BODY OF WORK DOING THE BOOK WAS DEFINITELY A FAVOURITE, IT WAS AN OPEN SKETCH BOOK, I TURNED UP AND WHATEVER WAS IN MY HEAD THAT DAY, THAT’S WHAT WE SHOT…THEN I WOULD GO HOME AND WORK ON THE DRAWINGS. I THINK ALONE DRAWING AND BEING ALONE PAINTING ON A MODEL AND BEING INSPIRED BY HER FACE AND ENERGY IS MY FAVOURITE…
3) Top 5 products?
THAT QUESTION ALWAYS FREAKS ME OUT BECAUSE I NEVER USE THE SAME THINGS OVER AND OVER, I’M A MAGPIE AND A HOARDER AND WILL USE BEAUTIFUL PIGMENTED LUXURY MAKEUP AT THE SAME TIME AS CHEAP HORROR KIDS FACE PAINTS…FORCED TO CHOSE I’D SAY…..
ILLAMASQUA EYESHADOWS AND BLUSHERS
ILLAMASQUA SATIN PRIMER
MAC BEAUTY POWDERS
LAURA MERCIER SECRET BRIGHTEN POWDERS
BLACK AND LOVELY COLOURED HAIR SPRAYS
4) Best makeup tip ever?
BOLDNESS OF ATTACK, LET YOUR MIND AND SPIRIT BE FREE, THERE ARE ‘NO RULES’, YOU ARE YOUR OWN CREATION.
5) How did you get started in the business?
I WAS AN ARTIST WORKING PRIMARILY ON INSTALLATIONS USING THE BODY AS THE CENTER OF THE ART, AND MY FRIEND INTRODUCED ME TO A FASHION DESIGNER WHO USED DANCERS INSTEAD OF MODELS MUCH LIKE LEIGH BOWERY AND MICHEL CLARK. I DESIGNED THE MAKEUP LOOK FOR THE SHOW AND THROUGH OTHER PEOPLE SEEING MY WORK IN THAT CONTEXT I BECAME A MAKEUP ARTIST. MY ART WORK IN THE FRAME OF FASHION BECAME ‘MAKEUP’.
6) How is it different to when you started?
YOU ARE MUCH MORE VISIBLE NOW, THE BUSINESS IS ALMOST TRANSPARENT, THE RISE OF BACK STAGE FILMING ETC AND NEED FOR CONTENT HAS MADE AN UNSEEN WORD PERMEABLE. I DO LAMENT THIS BECAUSE THE WORLD OF FASHION NEEDS IT SECRETS, THAT’S WHAT MAKES IT ALLURING, WITHOUT MYSTERY YOU HAVE NO MAGIC WITHOUT MAGIC YOU HAVE NO BELIEF.
7) What do you love doing in your spare time?
RUNNING, DRAWING, STARING INTO SPACE, TAKING CLOSE UP MICRO PHOTOS OF NATURE. MAKING SURE I TAKE IN THE ‘DETAILS OF LIFE’…
8) What are your favourite looks for the coming Autumn/Winter season?
I DONT REALLY PAY MUCH ATTENTION TO LOOKS…I NEVER KNOW WHAT TO SAY HERE….I JUST WANT TO SEE THE ‘LOOK’ OF CONVICTION AND CONFIDENCE REGARDLESS HOW YOU CHOSE TO PAINT YOUR FACE.
Here is Illamasqua’s new Brand Film as well, explaining their roots in sub-culture and pre-war Berlin. And frankly any makeup film that references Fritz Lang’s Metropolis – well I’m in!
Kelly Cutrone, star of MTV’s The Hills and The City, and now with her own show, Kell on Earth, will be signing copies of her memoir at the Illamasqua flagship store at 20 Beak St, London, W1, on Monday the 18th October between 5 and 6.30 pm.
Kelly’s pull-no-punches New York bestselling memoir, “If You Have to Cry, Go Outside (And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You)” combines personal and professional anecdotes that share her stories for success whilst remaining true to yourself. All profits from the book sales at the signing will go to the S.O.P.H.I.E charity, to benefit the Sophie Lancaster foundation.
Kelly will also be working on some exciting upcoming projects in the US with Illamasqua and their US retail partner Sephora. Watch this space!
When Alex Box was in Sydney a couple of months ago, she first told me about the new collection and I was hooked from her description – graphic gold liquid eyeliner, jewel toned pigments and BLUE LIPSTICK! Oh sweet heaven I have been looking for a great blue lipstick for years, never being able to find one that actually felt like a lipstick (not a gloss or a sheer lipstick, but a straight up out of the bullet, true blue colour). When I saw some of the pre-release imagery I nearly passed out as it was like some mad makeup World of Warcraft, a world that I never knew could exist, but the world of Illamasqua and their creative director, Ms Box, made reality.
Here are some of the campaign images and the film – enter a world where makeup has never gone before…
Thursday’s fashion parade for Myer’s Spring/Summer collections was all glitter and mayhem backstage, with 22 makeup artists, 75 models, 7 manicurists and a veritable fleet of hairdressers all working their creative magic to make the girls look breathtaking.
New makeup kid on the block, Illamasqua, just arrived from the UK and selling like the proverbial hotcakes at Myer, was sponsoring the show so we were using all of their products to create the looks. We were also fortunate enough to have the Illamasqua creative director, Alex Box, here to direct the show, which is a rare treat.
I’ve assisted Alex in London and Paris for a long time so I was heading up the Ready to Wear section of the parade whilst she was looking after the Avant Garde Gold section. Dressed in the season’s hottest trend of nude dresses the models literally looked like they’d swum out of a golden, glittery sea. Genius hairdresser Brad Ngata did an amazing job on the hair, which was either loose, gorgeous and sexy hair for the Ready to Wear models, or for the golden girls slicked back with gold leaf through it.
We were lucky to get some of Sydney’s top makeup artists to work on the show as many of them are fans of Alex’s editorial work, so backstage it was lovely to see some of our major makeup stars working side by side.
Illamasqua very kindly gave every artist a full set of Illamasqua brushes so we were all getting into those, particularly the Contour and Buffing Brushes. I love the feel as they are made of synthetic fibres so they are cruelty free, super soft and easy to clean. This was big makeup so we put those bad boys to work!
Both the looks were heavily contoured so we used cream foundation to perfect their skin, and then spent quite a bit of time buffing in contouring and highlighting powders (key to both looks was the layering of products). Here is a breakdown for Alex Box’s Gold Avant Garde Goddesses.
Illamasqua Avant Garde Gold
All products are by Illamasqua
Flatten brows against the skin using soap and a toothbrush to create an exaggerated bushy shape
Illamasqua Satin Primer all over face
Using Illamasqua cream foundation about two shades darker than their natural skintone, start bronzing the skin with the Foundation brush.
Contour the skin using Illamasqua Rumour powder blush (a grey tone) then work into the same area with Disobey Powder blush, a biscuit colour, using the Blush Brush 2 over the brow, up into the temples, under the chin and down in to the neck. The combination of colours is what brings dimension to the face.
Using Illamasqua Bronzer duo in Glint/Burnish, dust the dark side of the bronzing duo over the same contoured area again.
Use the lighter side of the Bronze duo Glint/Burnish, fill in the areas of the face that weren’t covered with the contour/bronzer to start bringing radiance to the centre of the face.
Using Create blush, go over the chin, forehead, neck, ears and cheek area using wide, sweeping motions and a Blush Brush 1 brush, but avoiding the nose.
Take Marvel pigment and a Blush Brush 1 brush to go over the whole face, but adding more gold through the centre of the face. Work gradually to build the colour.
Illamasqua Wolf Powder shadow is used first to get the shape of the eye, creating a strong contour shape up into the crease and over the lid. Take the Wolf shadow quite high on the crease, and use an Eyeshadow Brush to smudge underneath eye to make a dramatic round shaped eye.
Using Gimp shadow, a matte black, go over the whole lid and up into the crease, with the Eyeshadow Brush, and under the eye as well. Make sure it is stronger on the outer 2/3rds and up into the crease area for extra drama. Soften the outer edges with a Blend Brush 1 underneath so it blends in with the gold on the cheeks.
Line waterline with black Sophie pencil and smudge all around eye. Blend in well with the Gimp shadow.
Spatter Solstice Liquid Metal (Gold) on inner eye corners and tear ducts using fingers and a Lip Brush. It should cover the inner 1/3 of the eye, and look quite organic. Take under the inner eye corner as well with the Lip Brush.
Gold Marvel pigment goes over this, with the same Lip Brush.
Harness mascara (black) top and bottom lashes
No 13 lash is applied to top lashes.
Use Gimp shadow with Eyeshadow brush along the upper lashline to make sure there are no gaps in the black
Illamasqua Android pigment goes on the outer corner of the lid, just up to where it meets the gold on the inner corners, with Eyeshadow Brush
Solstice Liquid Metal is painted all over neck, body and ears with Foundation brush.
Spatter large craft glitter in gold randomly over hairline and neck and shoulders
Gold highlight lip using Solstice Liquid Metal on cupid’s bow and Lipliner Brush.
Add Brilliant clear gloss with Marvel pigment in it with fingers in the centre of lips.
Most of you will no doubt know by now that makeup master Alex Box is in Sydney this week for the launch of her makeup brand, Illamasqua, at the upcoming Myer show. It’s been a pretty action-packed few days but yesterday’s Hair and Makeup trial for the show was an amazing experience – the glitter came out and Alex put her brushes and the full Illamasqua palette to work.
A very rare opportunity has come up as part of this visit – Alex will be conducting Master Classes this Saturday, 31st of July at the Myer store in Sydney, so if you want to learn makeup from one of the world’s best makeup artists, this is your chance. The cost is $95, redeemable in Illamasqua product, and after yesterday’s makeup fun-fest I can tell you I have a wish-list as long as my right arm! I found out today there are only a couple of spaces left, so for bookings call 1800 661 210.