From the Runway to Blanche

October 19th, 2010 / Posted by natasha

Straight from New York Fashion Week S/S11 to our City Square Uptown campus, we present to you……… MAC’s senior makeup artist Caitlin Callahan!!  We absolutely love having her visit us to give us the insider’s take on her experience being backstage doing what many of us makeup school students and grads dream of doing – setting the makeup trends for the following season, working with some of the hottest people in the world, painting on models’ faces for one of the year’s biggest fashion events, and travelling to the four major fashion capitals of the world: New York, Milan, London, and Paris! With her theatre background and 19 years of experience as one of 15 senior MAC artists and representatives, Caitlin has seen it all!

Despite having her car broken into the night before where the thieves dumped out all her makeup and stole her Zuca bag (“at least we know it wasn’t a chick!”), Caitlin delivered a lively (and funny!) presentation and shared a bit about her life, the latest runway makeup trends and venues, great tips, and the runway makeup process. Many of the students in the audience were scribbling madly in their notebooks.  You know that concealer-covered-brow-no-mascara-barely-there-skin-coverage look you might have seen on this season? It’s nothing new to the catwalk – it has been used for the past three seasons. Also, “just because it’s runway doesn’t mean it’s crazy or incredible theatre,” so don’t be surprised if the show’s makeup concept is just a simple smokey-eye! Sometimes, when the venue isn’t the Lincoln Centre in NY, it could either be at bathhouse in Chelsea (umm okay…) or an unassuming corner in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District in the two-floor Milk Studios for the MAC & Milk show.

Here’s the rundown.
Right after Caitlin arrives in New York (or whichever city the show is held), she is handed a bag of unfinished, unnamed MAC colours and products which are unavailable to the public.  As the PR of MAC, her job is to show the key makeup artist how to incorporate those products in the design of the overall runway look.  On the night before a rehearsal, the makeup artists perform a makeup and hair “test” where they design the look for the show. Apparently, Tom Pecheux, the Creative Makeup Director for Estée Lauder, is the master of selling a makeup concept. On the day of the show, all of the artists gather around to watch the key artist do a demo of the makeup concept on the first model. Immediately after, the artists grab the closest model and work their magic, having creative freedom to tweak the makeup concept to suit the models’ features and facial characteristics. Your speed and ability to transpose the look is the essence of a great runway makeup artist!Fact: Caitlin’s all-time must-have? MAC PRO concealers for contouring, lips, and cheeks.

With the aid from our grad Jenna Kuchera (yeah, the one who did the amazing Alexander McQueen photo shoot a little while back) Caitlin gave us a step-by-step demonstration of the Jeremy Scott S/S11 runway look (which I think is one of the most bold, unconventional, and refreshing looks from this year’s NYFW), using our current makeup student, Sarah Brown, as the model.  The inspiration? Marilyn Monroe meets Debbie Harry. The key for this look was Val Garland, the Creative Director for YSL, who Caitlin praises as “the best makeup artist out there… absolutely brilliant” as she is the most interesting, creative, and technically flawless!

Step one: block out those brows!
Caitlin swiped alcohol on top of the brows to prep them.  Then she used no-tac Pros-aide to flatten the eyebrows with a spatula.  She likes how matte the product is, but you can also melt a gluestick as an alternative. Let dry, dust powder on top with finger, and pat down.  Repeat until there are no sprung brow hairs. In other words, eyebrows begone!

Step two: prep skin and create a bright, illuminating face free from imperfections
Hydrate the face (Caitlin sprayed MAC Pro’s Studio Moisture Fix on a brush to apply to avoid the brows from getting wet).  Moisturize.  Massage skin products into the models’ face (take care of your models!). After concealing blemishes and using a light foundation (Studio Sculpt Foundation), wait 30 minutes because makeup looks better once it has time to take a breather (plus, it is important to have enough drying time for better coverage).  If the model has a tan, Caitlin suggests focusing on pulling lightness through the centre of the face. Apply eye cream and lip conditioner (this is important to make sure the lips are not dehydrated, especially if the concept has a lip-focus). Using a brightening skin illuminator, highlight the skin. Blush: Sepia and Bamboo.Step three: how’s the brows?
Prep and prime powder on the eyebrows with MAC Pro Pure White Paintstick set with Gesso eyeshadow.  Using MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, draw mini check-marks above the eyebrow.  Then, use MAC Fluidline in Dip Down to draw in between the black marks.  Apply Iridescent Silver Dusk Loose Powder on top of the blocked-out brows and line the eyes with lots of black cream liner. Think dramatic. Wing the tips.  Use Dip Down through the crease for depth. Wait a few minutes and then run a dry brush over the eyebrow area. Apply false lashes on the top and bottom and blend the real lashes to the falsies with MAC Pro Mascara.

Step four: clown lips
Use a Cherry Lip Pencil and overdraw the bow of the lip, the bottom pout, and lastly, the corners. Dip a regular brush into MAC Pro Basic Red Micronized Airbrush Paint (a great product for both lips and as eyeshadow) and colour in a clown-like lip.  Lastly, pat on MAC Pro Basic Red Pigment to mattify the lips.Oh, and don’t forget that beauty mark!!

Backstage Tip: be good to your runway hairstylist and build good relationships with other artists backstage who may be affiliated with other brands.

Whala! Such a fun look. Students came up to take a closer look at the finished product and ask Caitlin millions of questions.

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