Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Before/After: A Multi-Faceted Blue Jewelled Eye

Often whilst doing makeup for shoots, I find myself noticing certain trends emerging from the briefs. After so many years I still find it slightly magical that everyone seems to know what the trends for the next season are. Of course I forget that there are trends companies whose sole job is to predict and forecast the upcoming trends for future seasons. And since I work at fashion weeks which works a season ahead, I am in a very privileged position to get a peek at what is coming up in the next collections! Anyway I digress, a certain theme I have noticed is jewelled tones. There is definitely a nod towards bejewelled tones in clothes, makeup and even hair!

So it was rather opportune that at a recent shoot I was asked to do a strong blue eye but the client didn't want anything graphic, they wanted it strong but soft at the same time. So that ruled out hard edges and graphic shapes. When I suggested doing a jewelled tone eye that was strong but yet soft and wearable, everyone was happy and that was decided.

Let me introduce Ilse, a truly handsome model!
Face Prep: Alpha-H Age Delay Cleansing Oil, Decléor Aroma Cleanse Cleansing Water, Decléor Life Radiance Double Radiance Cream, Shu Uemura Brightening UV Under Base Mousse, Decléor Nourishing Lip Balm.

Isn't she handsome? I use the word handsome because Ilse to me had beautifully chiseled and full features that transcended genders. Some would call it androgyny I suppose. She would make a most beautiful boy or a stunning gorgeous woman, depending on makeup and lighting. Anyway here's how Ilse looked after I completed the eye.
Face: YSL Le Teint Touché Eclat,  Givenchy Mr Light, YoungBlood Natural Mineral Foundation.
Eyes: Pixi Endlessly Silky Eye Pen in No 3 Black Tulip, MAC Paint Stick in Marine Ultra, Laura Mercier Baked Eye Colour in Lagoon, Shu Uemura Eye Shadow in Vivid Blue 665, Makeup Forever Aqua Colour in No 20 Intense Blue, YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking Mascara in Deep Black, Magnifibres, Paris-Berlin Beige Eye Pencil, Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara in Black, Madina Shiny Stick in 100.
Eyebrows: Shu Uemura Hard Formula Brown No 3, Gold Mascara.
Cheeks: Chanel Bronze Universal, Burberry Fresh Glow, MAC Taupe Blush.
Lips: Burberry Fresh Glow, Rodial Glam Balm Lip, MAC Tinted Lip Conditioner in Petting Pink.
Powder: Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder.

Here are a couple of close up photos to see the full effect.
And an even closer shot.
And more close ups with lids down.
I suppose most people wouldn't bat an eyelid at the thought of doing a jewel-toned eye but I wanted to express the point of creating dimension. I rarely use just one product, I find that in shoots, that creates a rather flat finish. Personally I like using similar shades in various finishes to create dimension and texture. So even though I wanted a blue eye, I have used about 5 different blue products to create the final look. Just like how the more facets a gemstone has, the sparklier and more brilliant it becomes, I think the same applies to makeup.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Before/After: A Modigliani Beauty

Whilst in Sicily recently, I am not sure what it was, maybe it's the explosion of colour, vibrancy of the people and landscape or the beautiful artistic architecture and interiors, I found myself seeking inspiration from the arts. Certain artists to be exact. One of my favourites is Amedeo Clemente Modigliani, an Italian artist known for his paintings of women with elongated necks and oval faces. I've loved his colours and the way his women always looked so aloof and elegant.

So without realising, as soon as I saw what hair maestro Marco did on our model, I instinctively knew what I wanted to do and let me hand and heart do the work. Here's a typical Modigliani painting so you know what I mean.
I love the shades on the face, how the blush if any sits really low so that it creates a elongated drawn look and the rose bud lips. Just simply gorgeous. Anyway before I go on, let me introduce you to our model Mona.
Face Prep: Caudalie Cleansing Water, Caudalie Beauty Elixir, Caudalie Moisturising Sorbet.

Mona is a stunning girl with brown hair so Marco coloured her hair and made it really dark and instantly I started seeing her new image in my head. Long neck, dark hair, an aquiline nose and beautiful soulful eyes. The perfect Modigliani woman! And I had the perfect YSL palettes from the Autumn/Winter 2012 collection, full of sultry dusky tones, perfect for creating contours and shadows. I didn't want to take it too literal so also included a flash of mint green and fuchsia pink to make the look modern. So the fundamentals of a Modigliani woman was there, wearing the blush super low to create a haughty flush and hollowed-out contoured eyes. Here are the results.
Face: YSL Le Teint Touché Eclat, YSL Teint Parfait in Tan Glow.
Eyes: YSL Pure Chromatics Palette No 9 & 10, YSL False Lash Effect Cream Eyeliner in Bronze Black, YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking Mascara in Deep Black,  YSL Dare To Glow in No 3, YSL Long-Lasting Waterproof Eye Pencil in No 7, Paris-Berlin Beige Pencil.
Eyebrows: YSL Eye Brow Pencil in No 4 Ash.
Cheeks: YSL Cream Blush in No 2 Powdery Rose & No 5 Fuchsia Temptation.
Lips: YSL Dare To Glow in No 1, YSL Le Teint Touché Eclat, YSL Cream Blush in No 5 Fuchsia Temptation, YSL Rouge Pur Shine in No 30 Shimmering Pink & No 31 Tuxedo Pink.
Powder: YSL Semi-Loose Powder in Sand.

Here's a couple of close-ups in direct sun light.
What do you think? I love how Mona turned out, I thought she captured the spirit of Modigliani really well and the colours all worked with the natural Sicilian sunlight. I'd love to hear your comments.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Before/After: Dusky Sizzling Sicilian Goddess

Finally time to do a post about what I have been up to in Sicily. 9 days, 6 different shoots, 3 models. Sizzling hot temperatures, early starts, inspiring locations and a most incredible and inspiring team to work with resulted in some pretty amazing transformations. 

I love working with hairstylist maestro Marco Testa who just gets me and together we created some pretty amazing transformations. Why are we so good together? He understands where I am coming from and when that happens, hairstyling and makeup goes into another level. I also had the new A/W 2012 collection from YSL to play with. Dusky khakis, bronzes and 3 new skin illuminators instantly made me think of hot, almost sweaty skin, all aglow. Have a look at the products.
I wanted our model to look like a courtesan in a hot sweaty bordello, skin aflushed and shimmery, awaiting her next victim! What can I say? It must have been the Sicilian sun, Baroque interiors and dramatic landscape! Let me introduce you to Luma.
Face Prep: Decléor Aroma Cleanse Cleansing Water, Decléor Life Radiance Double Radiance Cream, Shu Uemura Brightening UV Under Base Mousse, Decléor Nourishing Lip Balm.

Luma is Brazilian, as you can see her lineage of African, German and Japanese bloods have resulted in a rather spectacular face! When I saw her, I knew I wanted to change her pale skin to a duskier tone and use the YSL A/W collection to intensify her features and create a slightly different race. I didn't want any one feature to jump out, just a well blended, sculpted heady mix of sensuality and power! It was pretty easy, even without makeup Luma is pretty perfect and I loved how into character she got when we explained it to her. Natural she is funny, slightly geeky and so easy to be with but as soon as the look was done, she transformed into this tanned, smouldering creature of loveliness and danger! And hair magician Marco understood that perfectly and suggested a head full of long dark extensions, ironed out straight and then slightly greased up to create a bit of "dirtiness". Just perfect! 

Here is Luma straight after makeup before lips were done.
Face: YSL Le Teint Touché Eclat, YSL Teint Parfait in Tan Glow, YSL Touché Eclat, YSL Dare To Glow in No 1, 2 & 3.
Eyes: YSL Pure Chromatics Palette No 9 & 10, YSL False Lash Effect Cream Eyeliner in Bronze Black, YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking Mascara in Deep Black,  YSL Dare To Glow in No 3.
Eyebrows: YSL Dare To Glow in No 1, YSL Long-Lasting Waterproof Eye Pencil in Luminescent Gold.
Cheeks: YSL Teit Parfait in Tan Glow, YSL Cream Blush in Passion Red.
Lips: YSL Dare To Glow in No 1, YSL Le Teint Touché Eclat, YSL Rouge Pur Couture Golden Lustre in Golden Nude.

And as I hoped when I designed this look, when Luma got hotter at the location, her skin shone, glowed and sheened to create a burnished finish! I avoided powder to avoid any kind of muddiness of the complexion. Here's a shot of Luma posing on set. The picture on the left is natural lighting taken with my camera and the one on the right is when I pumped up the contrast slightly to accentuate the duskiness. I still get goosebumps when I look at the results!
What do you think? Sizzling? Goddess-like? I love this look so much and really had fun creating it. If there ever was a better example of smouldering sexiness, I think Luma pretty much takes the title, don't you?

Sunday, 15 July 2012

A Visual Diary: Sicily, Italy

It's been a few days since I've returned from my second trip this year to Italy for work. This time I spent 9 days in sun-drenched Sicily. Home to the formidable active volcano, Etna. This is my second time to the island but the first spending so much time there experiencing the people, food, culture and life of this beautiful place. Words fail to describe the colours, heat, passion, smells, tastes, textures and the beauty of Sicily.

Unlike London, the average temperature of Sicily was about 35C everyday and it was high humidity due to it being surrounded by water. So it was 4am starts with hair and makeup and starting to shoot at about 630am. By noon the temperatures would be too extreme to shoot out in the open air so we either seeked refuge in the shadows of many of Sicily's formidable buildings or waited out the heat with drinks and gelatos until temperatures got a bit more decent to work in. 

It was all worth it though. We worked in ornately-decorated Baroque mansions, sunny beaches surrounded by incredibly tanned people, charming cobbled streets with gargoyles and giant wooden doors looking down upon us. And in the background, the soundtrack of passionate Sicilians shouting, singing and discussing the pleasures of their lives.  After a hard day's work, we were rewarded at every meal with sun-ripened fruit and vegetables grown and harvested from the fertile volcanic soils of the island and delicious seafood caught fresh from the surrounding seas. Simply and proudly cooked by amazing women such as Mama Rosa. Utterly incredible and I am grateful for what a blessed life and profession I am in to be able to share this with an equally talented and passionate team. Enjoy the pictures!