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WARPAINT Alexander McQueen and MakeUp


mcqueen make up 1Piggy-backing on the current surge of McQueen mania, and why not, Denise Redd and students of the London College of Fashion BA Hair, Make-Up and Prosthetics for Performance, have re-created a series of life-size moulded faces that display 22 make-up looks used in 13 of McQueen’s fashion shows.

McQueen’s long-term collaborator Val Garland stated:

“It all came from him, his point of view. There was no right or wrong. Just his vision.”

It was quite unusual that ‘the show’ was the starting point for every McQueen collection, and this included every detail down to the make-up. For this he would entrust his vision with the same small group of make-up artists including: Sharon Dowsett, Val Garland, Peter Philips, Charlotte Tilbury and Topolino.

Warpaint explores his key looks through three reoccurring themes: ‘Amplified’, where facial features are obscured and exaggerated. ‘Deviated’, where make-up goes beyond the traditional areas and covers other parts of the body and ‘Stripped’, where the look is so subtle it intensifies the meaning of the collection. Some of the most instantly recognizable include the bold deep berry oval mouth, where the lipstick is applied over the natural lip-line to create an overtly sexualized mouth, similar to a sex doll as featured in ‘The Horn of Plenty’ A/W 09/10 and the streaming black mascara look created by Sharon Dowsett for McQueen’s S/S 98 collection.

mcqueen make up 2Even those seemingly pared back looks would be meticulously created with eyebrows hidden under prosthetics, tape to stretch the features and skin toned down with non-commercial products to look like porcelain. Often the overall effect was to transform his models into otherworldly creatures.

Aside from the made-up moulded faces, and much to the delight of todays social media savvy audience, the exhibition also explores make-up digitally, working with digital creative studio Holition. Visitors are able to try-on three select looks in a specially created app, using Holition’s new ‘FACE’ technology. Make-up in an instant, viola! And the results can be shared on Facebook without spending any time in the make-up artist’s chair. I particularly liked Val Garland’s dark, heavy eye-shadowed look created for the ‘Irere’ collection S/S 03!

mcqueen make up jo

(JoJo tries a couple of the show looks via Holition’s new ‘FACE’ technology)

Central to the exhibition space is a studio environment, which hosts masterclasses, talks and demonstrations. Visit http://www.fashionspacegallery.com for further info.

Warpaint: Alexander McQueen and Make-Up is curated by Polona Dolzan and commissioned by Ligaya Salazar. The exhibition is on until the 7th August 2015.

mcqueen make up warpaint intro

By JoJo Iles

Related articles:

Editor’s Choice: Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty

Creative Master: Alexander McQueen Then & Now

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