The Mary Greenwell Masterclass at Delamar was a very special event for all who attended. One of the most respected make-up artists in the fashion and beauty industry, Mary’s artistry occupies a space in the upper echelons of make-up talent alongside Laura Mercier, Pat McGrath, Kevyn Aucoin and Bobbi Brown. Working with names including Princess Diana, Mario Testino, Cate Blanchett, Giselle Bundchen, Kate Moss and even the odd Kardashian, Mary’s career spans the birth of the original supermodels to numerous Vogue covers and royalty. Both Lisa Eldridge and Charlotte Tilbury were trained by Mary – her legacy is second to none.
The Queen of make-up was coming to Delamar to teach us the secrets, products and techniques employed when she applies a red carpet make-up. If this event were happening in Met Film School next door, it would be the equivalent of Tarantino or Spielberg turning up to teach a masterclass Directing. Mary’s arrival to Delamar was kicked off by a tour of the Academy where she was especially fascinated by the Prosthetics Workshop, complimenting our students’ work, “Now that’s really clever!”
After chatting with our Head Fashion Tutor, Joanne Byrne, who previously had worked with Mary, they discussed make-up schools and Delamar’s reputation in the fashion industry. Mary was meticulous with lighting set-ups for her class and made sure the students could see everything going on. The event started with champagne and macaroons before the students and hand-selected alumni sat down to hear from Mary, all about her career and the importance of red carpet make-up. We learnt that this unfiltered, photographed-from-every-angle make-up is the epitome of beauty make-up, since the artist must create a look that will complement the celebrity, her outfit, and stay flawless under the flashbulbs, without the need for touch-ups. The ultimate test for any artist, unlike editorial, there is no retouching, no poses engineered by ten pairs of hands, not even the artist available when the photos are taken. Hi-res images of an unretouched Cate Blanchett and Jessica Chastain, were poured over, Mary pointing out her make-up application and decisions explained. The Mary Greenwell Masterclass was as much a theory based lesson about changing industry standards, as it was a practical how-to guide by such a legend. We felt very fortunate to provide this rich experience for the students.
This was a primary reason why Mary prefers a natural lip to a bright or dark colour that would require constant monitoring and touch-ups – wise words for the students who were scribbling down everything. We looked at a presentation of Mary’s portfolio, with attention to flawless, seamless skin and “not too much shimmer” on the eye.
Our gorgeous model, Rebecca Pearson, was transformed from natural beauty to a smokey-eyed siren over an hour and a half. Mary started with YSL cushion foundation, using her hands to really work the product into Rebecca’s skin. The first base was a slightly lighter tone than Rebecca’s skin, followed by a warmer layer of Guerlain foundation. The end result was Mary’s classic skin look – flawless and radiant. She advised all our students to use the tools they feel most comfortable with and not to be afraid to use their hands. So many golden pieces of advice were scribbled down by the students during the Mary Greenwell Masterclass.
Mary continued with the same generous energy for the whole masterclass, sharing stories and candid advice on mistakes, product favourites and her love of watching YouTube tutorials. The students exchanged smiles, the whole room in captivated silence and awe. After the demonstration, Mary answered the students’ questions on everything from how her career began to which products never leave her kit. A very special evening for all who attended, Mary agreed to pose for photos and immediately a long queue formed.
Mary’s personal storytelling was a real treat with her animated demonstration and entertainment value – laughs continually broke the flow-state silence of transfixed students watching her work. The Mary Greenwell Masterclass was an emotive and memorable event for all.
Thank you, Mary Greenwell, for coming and giving our students such a memorable masterclass experience. Thank you also to Sara Fagan, Emma Horner, Lisa Hilton, Joanne Byrne, Lottie Roberts, Raphael Fieldhouse and Vicky Hughes for helping out. Photography is by Emma Horner. Words by Emma Steventon.