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!