An Alexander McQueen-inspired Photo Shoot Exclusive

August 24th, 2010 / Posted by natasha

There have been all sorts of fun things happening around here lately… like the amazing photo shoot in Evaan Kheraj’s studio!  I got to witness what happens when you stick a bunch of young talent in a room for 8 hours – one incredible transformation!!

That’s Jenna (left), our fabulous makeup grad!! You might recognize her at our Uptown City Square campus with her distinctive blunt brown bangs and blonde understreaks.  She’s was the IMATS Award winner for overall talent in LA and Vancouver in 2009!  She invited her friend and dream assistant, Celine Godeau – another extremely talented Blanche superstar and teacher amazing at prosthetics who you may be lucky to bump into around our Uptown campus.

Jenna handed the model (right), super pretty Alison Burke (of Lizbell Agency) with dimples like Rachel McAdams, a set pasties, laughing that it would be all she would be wearing.  Turns out they remember each other as they went to the same high school!

I also got to hang out with Blanche’s awesome Creative Director, Kelly Schmidt, and Art Director, Tyler Udall (who, by the way, is an ex-ballet dancer with one heck of a list of credentials including being the Design Associate for Marc Jacobs in NYC (omg) and the editor at the Daily Telegraph – not to mention being the Senior Fashion Editor for the hottest and edgiest magazines on the planet such as Dazed and Confused)!! He’s also the Fashion Styling instructor at our Downtown Robson Campus!

Suddenly, I found myself in awe as the artists deftly unload their spread of makeup, tools, and equipment in an organized mess onto two tables. It’s easy to tell that this is a regular routine for them. Jenna averages four photo shoots a week on top of working at the MAC Pro store downtown Vancouver – no wonder!

In between setting up, Jenna flipped to a page in her sketchbook to a rough sketch of the plan for the shoot – a full body paint and airbrushing inspired by the late Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer ’09 and ‘10 collections featuring his flesh lace leggings and bold, distinguishable reptile, insectal print in vibrant watercolour shades and geometric black lace overlay. (By the way, one of the three categories Jenna won the Canadian Makeup Show in Vancouver in 2009 was for body painting/airbrushing – how perfect is she for this?) Unlike how they usually go about painting and preparing, Jenna and Celine decided on how everything would turn out after looking at the reference photos and Jenna’s rough sketch and collaborated during the painting process.


The painting began by sponging on a white base using aqua colour and large sea sponges to create a textural white canvas. I was amazed at Jenna’s pre-made, handcrafted texture stamps made out of FIMO, which she used to layer in gray tones to create the perfect animalistic effect. Genius.

For body painting tools, Jenna swears by MAC Pro Chromacakes and GOLDEN Airbrush paints.  She told me that the great thing about GOLDEN Airbrush paints is that they blend nicely, since they are water-based. Plus, they don’t dry in a crusty way when she mixes in a bit of MAC’s water-based mixing medium.

On Alison’s front, Jenna and Celine used a regular spray pump bottle to mist the skin with layers of alcohol-based paints, which created a watercolor texture and helped the colours from becoming muddied.  The makeup artists had precut pieces of mattress foam in shapes inspired by Rorsch blots and butterfly wings. After dipping them into the paint, the designs were lightly stamped just below the collarbone and on the stomach.  Other products that keep colours from mixing together and allow artists to continue to work overtop of them are Wolfe paints, MAC pigments, and Skin Illustrator in liquid form to airbrush – all of which Jenna loves to use.

Celine created a really cool design on Alison’s back by dipping string into paint, pulling it taught and pressing them against the skin.

Take a look at their McQueen-inspired intricate lace-legs! Jenna and Celine used MAC Penultimate Liner to achieve very precise fine lines.

The makeup on the face was quite a contrast from the body painting, yet it really pulled the look together. Jenna pulled out her strong fashion-makeup skills to create a bronze-based and fully contoured face with pops of metallic colour using MAC pigments.

Layer upon layer and various contrasting textures later, Alison’s sweet and innocent appearance is transformed into an unrecognizable creature, which, at first glance, could very well be mistaken as a distant cousin of an Avatar. The results? Wow.

Then, for the next hour and a bit (which really felt like only 15 minutes), fashion photog Evaan bounced around the white studio backdrop, climbing up ladders, covering all light exposure with coloured cellophane and waving various smaller pieces in front of his lens to get a film negative effect.

Suddenly, I found myself huddled with the rest of the crew around Evaan’s macpro, ooohing and aaah-ing at the shots.

The always suave Tyler approved, “rad”.

1 Comment »

  1. Oh I cant wait to start classes tommorrow! I know it’s not for a while yet, but I want to do this stuff, along with pretty much anything out of the ordinary.

    Comment by Jasmin — August 24, 2010 @ 11:40 am

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