The Kevyn Aucoin Masterclass was a real treat for all at Delamar Academy recently. Without realising, you may already know Kevyn Aucoin’s work… many artists have been inspired by the make-up he did on icons such as Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Janet Jackson, Celine Dion, Cher, Tina Turner, even a young Britney Spears. His work is recognisable for the flawlessly blended shadow and contour. Contour specifically is a trend that has made a big impact on the make-up market, encouraged by a frenzy of social media content. Kevyn was the original contouring expert, years ahead of his time. When Kevyn sadly passed away, the industry lost one of it’s most loved make-up legends, however through his brand, the legacy lives on.
From a fashion perspective, the relevance of Kevyn Aucoin is so important due to the 90’s make-up trends that are currently all over editorial and catwalk looks. We were thrilled to have top artists from the brand come into the Academy very recently – Rebecca Clarke and Geraldo Frazo gave us a memorable evening. The event started out with prosecco and sushi, because sushi is more fashion, darlings.
Rebecca gave us a fantastic educational presentation on Kevyn’s life and career. We learnt the inspiration behind products like the candlelight powder, and how Kevyn’s warm spirit in a fierce industry was key to his iconic client relationships. We learnt how Kevyn’s mother was his biggest inspiration, and that his famous sculpting powder was created as the result of a rare disorder, which caused excess bone growth on Kevyn’s face.
Our demonstration started with the models being presented wearing stunning YSL vintage gowns, supplied by Geraldo. Delamar student Nadja Scalzi did a great job on their hair and nails. Thank you to Models1 for providing Monet Huie and Laura Murray – we loved hearing about their work with Vogue and Armani.
The skin preparation was fascinating to watch. Embryolisse was applied with spritzed water to finish, imparting a highly emollient surface. On the models’ already flawless skin, this wet-look was captivating. Backstage at fashion week, rarely are full-coverage bases applied, so it is crucial to make skin look sublime, without lengthy foundation application. Notes were scribbled down in haste.
On Laura, the Sensual Skin Enhancer was applied with the Kevyn Aucoin foundation brush to sheer out the coverage to a minimum. This is where the similarities in make-up application stopped, as we watched two very different looks develop. Monet’s make-up was an Avant Garde intense black smouldery eye – achieved with kohl on the lid, by a pencil brush laying the product on in circular motions to the inner and outer corners of her lid. This was a big moment of inspiration during the Kevyn Aucoin Masterclass, watching a technique that was new to most students in the room.
Even more luminosity was achieved with the Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Skin Liquid Lighting product. Monet had fashionably clumpy lashes, whereas Laura’s paired-back eye gave maximum attention to her glossy purple lip.
The Kevyn Aucoin Masterclass was not without an insider discussion about some of Geraldo’s private clients – Isabella Blow (RIP Alexander McQueen’s muse) and Anna Wintor being some of the many iconic women he has worked on. He gushed emotively about the importance of being generous with your energy. Many of his best clients came from unpaid work. A sentiment echoed across the whole fashion industry that will put many people off starting a career in fashion.
The weightiest advice of the evening was given in response to Andrew Denton, Delamar Graduate, who asked how to assist the top fashion make-up artists? Geraldo has assisted many, such as Charlotte Tilbury, and he responded by explaining that the most important thing after your make-up training, is socialising. Sitting at home, waiting for the phone to ring is not going to get you far in the fashion world! Students were encouraged to attend parties and widen their social circles as much as possible.
We were privy to some incredible insider knowledge, unreleased products and felt a great deal of positive energy in the classroom. Geraldo and Rebecca advised our students to live and breathe the creativity that comes with fashion make-up, a favourite quote from the evening –
“Kardashian, Kardashian, Kardashian… NO.”
Imperative to Kevyn’s career was the history of make-up and iconic faces over each decade. The work artists are briefed on will always take inspiration from the past. Studio 54 disco make-up, Brigitte Bardot’s nude mouth paired with a dense kohl, Sophia Loren’s slinky eyes… all these looks, plus many more should be practiced to the point of perfection. This is how we teach our Advanced Fashion Students and quite reassuringly, this is how Kevyn Aucoin became the legendary make-up artist he was.
Thank you to all who attended this fantastic event. We were spoilt by the brand, who gifted a huge collection of products for our fashion kit. The students received gifts, plus special prizes were given to Lottie Roberts and Nadja Scalzi. Until the next Kevyn Aucoin Masterclass at Delamar!
Photography by Emily Hallaran. Words by Emma Steventon.