Sunday, 7 April 2013

Before/After: Aviator Beauty: A Tribute to the Beauty of Katherine Hepburn

I recently did a shoot in the hangar at Goodwood Flight Academy. And amidst the beautiful old planes I was totally inspired by one of my favourite screen sirens of old Hollywood, Katherine Hepburn. So just as well that stylist David Hawkins and photographer Andy Barnham had similar ideas!

Katherine Houghton Hepburn, star, legend and strong woman, made so many films, more than I care to admit to knowing and watching. With her angular jaw, chiseled cheekbones and expressive features, I have always thought of her as an unconventional beauty. She challenged the stereotype of screen actresses by defying studio execs and carved out an epic career playing strong and independent women in film and TV. Taking this philosophy throughout her own personal life and her penchant for slacks, suits and shirts, I have always thought of her as remarkably handsome. So when I had the chance to channel a bit of her presence on this shoot, I jumped at the chance. I apologise, I could go on and on when it comes to the old screen sirens of Hollywood!

Our model the gorgeous Felicity reminded me so much of Hepburn. She too was vivacious, strong and such a trooper, not complaining once about the cold in the hangar! And it was bloody freezing! So it seemed the perfect culmination of factors! Let me introduce the stunning Felicity.
Face Prep: Lancome Galatéis Douceur Facial Cleanser, Bioderma Sensibio H2O, Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre, Emma Hardie Moringa & Rose Treatment Lip Balm.

Let me explain why I chose the above products. The environment I work in, the condition of the model's skin and also the products I choose to use after prep always affects what I use. So we were in a freezing hangar in the winter with no heating, Felicity had recently suffered a breakout due to a reaction to some products used on her at another job, and I wanted to keep the look quite soft, glowy and dewy.

Let me also touch briefly on the subject of hair. Yeah I had to do hair on this shoot as well. It was fairly simple and I prepped the hair with Bumble & Bumble Prep Spray, dried it with a hairdryer then tonged sections using my favourite big barrelled Babyliss Pro Ceramic Tongs and clipped the sections up whilst I carried on with makeup.

The look is very simple, glowy skin, softly defined eyes using very soft brown/tan shades and a light coat of mascara to frame the eyes. Felicity has lush brows so I kept it softly defined and brushed up to maximise the fullness of it. The focal point would be the lips. I wanted a red but not just any red. I wanted a Brick, Terracotta kind of red. A perfect combination of red, brown and orange. And here's how the look turned out.
Foundation: DiorSkin Nude Skin-Glowing Foundation, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, Givenchy Mister Bright, DiorSkin Sculpt Concealer.
Eyes: MAC Paint Pot in Groundwork, MAC Cream Colour Base in Mid-Tone Sepia, Pixi silky Eye Pencil in Black Cocoa, Paris-Berlin Beige Pencil, Clarins Wonder Length Mascara in Black, Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara.
Eyebrows: Anastasia Brow Wiz in Ash Blonde, MAC Brow Fix in Clear.
Cheeks: Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel, MAC Blush in Taupe, Burberry Fresh Glow.
Lips: MAC Lip Mix in Red, Orange and Brown, OCC Lip Tar in Traffic, YSL Lip Liner in Cognac.
Powder: SUQQU Nuancing Loose Powder in Natural (kept to a minimum).

Here's a shot of Felicity in natural daylight.
I finished the hair by unpinning the curls, brushing out and applying Structure Dust and hairspray and then pinning into a bun and finger finishing the front. I wanted it to be soft, wispy and textured so the light would catch it and create a soft halo-like quality. Have a look at Felicity doing her thing on the wing of one of the planes wearing the most handsome orange jacket and white palazzo trousers, looking every bit the part of a screen siren!
What do you think guys? Did we capture Katherine Hepburn's fire and beauty? Her perfect blend of masculine beauty and astounding presence? I love this look, it's so simple but yet modern and classic. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments!


  1. this is so beautiful...she looks just like a modern Audrey Hepburn...I loved the shading and the halo around her eyes and of course the lipstick....u r simply a genius...

    1. You're very kind Neeraj, thank you.

  2. Amazing work. You captured her spot on.

  3. Lips are so sophisticated and elegant, and with the hair they remind a lot of Hepburn.
    Great job !