When we see a gorgeous beauty look on the runway, we often don’t think about what went into the creation of that look. Before it hits the runway, makeup artists go back and forth with designers (sometimes multiple times) with creative suggestions. For The Blonds show, often the most innovative — and some could say theatrical — show each season, designers David and Phillipe Blond talk to their teams about their theme and go through multiple run-throughs until the look is just right.
We spoke with Kabuki, key artist for MAC Cosmetics, about the process behind the journey from the first face chart during initial brainstorms up until the final chart. This season, the show was inspired by villians of classic comic books with a feminine twist, from Catwoman to the Joker. Kabuki first learned of the inspiration for the show over Facebook (of all places) when he messaged David Blond to ask him how many lashes they would need this season – since The Blonds always like a good lash. David then sent him back some inspiration for the upcoming season (over Facebook message, of course) including “Cry-Baby,” Catwoman and just telling him that the show was really going to be about cartoon villains – so “it was almost like it was an inspiration board but it was through an email of words and images.”
Kabuki said that what stuck out to him the most was the mention of a vinyl eyebrow, and since he thought the use of vinyl may be too much, he wanted to figure out a way to tone it down. His initial idea was “to do a big matte beige eyebrow, because it would look like makeup and would photograph like makeup, but we could control the shape and the drama of the brow, and the attitude it gave off.”
From that idea of the brow, Kabuki went to meet the designers at their nail test with some materials he bought at a craft store – including suede and paper. Once they decided that the paper brow was the best fit, they began to plan the makeup look. Based off of the mention of The Joker, they first created a look that blended a green cat eye and bold purple lip, using MAC’s Designer Purple Pearlglide Intense Pencil all over the lip, Heroine Lipstick on top and a touch of Violet Pigment pressed into the center of the lips. Deciding that the blend of purple and green was just too much (and that red and green would be a bad “Christmas-y” combo) they changed the purple lip, this time just using the Designer Purple pencil with Red Fuchsia pigment pressed into the center. This lip they loved, and the green cat eye (done with Landscape Green Chromaline winged out on the lid) was also a favorite of Phillipe’s, but they weren’t absolutely sold on the entire look together, as they were worried it may be “too bold.”
Kabuki decided to try the look without the green, knowing that two girls in the show were going to have their own, custom looks, meaning that they could have this “bolder version” that Philippe had fallen in love with. So, he tried the cat eye with just black, and blended Soft Ochre Prolong Wear Paint Pot from the lash line to the brow to soften it. They felt like the look was stronger without the green shade – highlighting the paper brows and shimmering purple lips.
But, for those “more evil” two models in the show, they were given the custom, more “over the top” makeup look, with a nod to The Joker. So in the end, their process and transition through the planning of the looks helped to create their standout look as well.