Hair stylists were pulling back models’ hair into tight elongated and unusually structured ponytails – striking and reminiscent of alien-like beings. Face Lace & Body Shop makeup artists were creating an array of Salvador Dali inspired characters on four gorgeous models. The skin was fresh, with subtle contours and definite highlights. Lips were girlie with a softy peony lip shade doused in a good sprinkling of glitter. Eyes were contoured softly in a rosey bright pink and outlined with strange and yet beautiful lobsters. (YES lobsters!)
Face Lace founder Phyllis Cohen created the gorgeous bespoke adornments used on the show which brought the models’ makeup to life. Working alongside Body Shop key artist Lan Nguyen, the makeup look was dreamy and striking. Accompanying the lobster lined eyes, little ants crawled up the side of the models’ cheeks and arms while hands were adorned in bejewelled holographic eyes. Brows were kept soft but groomed.
Phyllis said “I was thrilled to discover I would be working with Lan. We have a symbiotic creative vision and seamlessly understand each other.”
For those of you who don’t know, Phyllis is one of the elite few successful creative makeup artists of her time. Her designs, a mix of intricate face pieces and colourful makeup, create a new way of playing with facial features and textures, changing the structures of makeup and making way for a world of possibilities. She’s spent her time of late building up well known brand Face Lace, which has become highly sought after for LFW shows time and time again. I caught up with Phyllis backstage the Liz Black Fashion Show Presentation and chatted to her about what inspired the Liz Black Face Lace designs and what we can expect from Face Lace this season.
It’s such an honour to meet you- we are huge fans of your work! It’s all going on backstage with hair and makeup! What inspired the look for Liz Black’s show? How did you both agree on a concept?
I was presented with the idea of there being a huge Dali influence. As soon as I found this out, coming from an art school beauty background I was very excited! I worked with the idea of beautiful skulls, ants, mustaches and lips. We used a lot of Dali motifs to draw inspiration. When we came up with the lobster around the eye – that was THE one! Key makeup artist Lan took the designs and co-created the look for the show. We also used the ants on the back of the models hands and added lips made with white pearls, beads and rhinestones which gave a performance element to the look.
What helps you to tap into that creative state of mind, especially when preparing for your new concepts?
Honestly, I usually just sit down with a white piece of paper and put the pencil down. Just do it! I have always sketched makeup ideas – I have my own pages with 6 faces on a sheet as I sometimes go through a lot of versions of the same idea to get things right, and it helps to have the tweaks side by side to compare. If I have a block I force myself to put down any mark. Once you have one mark on the page then you can start making decisions: is the mark too long or too short? Does it need to be angled? Would it better higher or lower? After sketching for the last few decades I have 1000s of makeup designs on paper in various folders, so sometimes i just look through old ideas for inspiration.
As one makeup artist to another do you have any favorite makeup products that you have used in your kit for years that you can’t live without?
I love the Shu Umuera white base control but used on top of makeup as a highlighter! I’m a HUGE fan of highlighting the skin! I also love the Dinair Airbrush in black but rather than using it in an airbrush machin , I apply it in drops on an eyeshadow lid and use it as a liner with a size 0 brush. It creates very thin fine lines like no other! I love pretty much all Armani foundations.
How long does it take to make an idea of a Face Lace piece turn into a physical product. What is the process like?
I have collected many great reference books on all types of design, from ancient Egyptian art to geometric fractals, and I look through them often. I’m pretty old-fashioned – I start my designing with paper and pencil. Once I have a design I like in pencil, I paint it in black then get it into the computer and do more tweaking. After the first test cutting of the design I probably do about 40 or 50 further small tweaks to get it just right. So from start to a perfect finished design usually takes me about 50 hours.
What was your favourite part of the collaboration with Liz Black?
I love to bounce ideas off kindred spirits – when I met with Liz we immediately hit it off. She has great strength of character in her creativity, which I loved. Usually when I’m discussing ideas with fashion people I have to play it safe, otherwise I can get too excited and let my ideas run rampant. But with Liz her ideas were so bold to start with that she encouraged me to be bold too. When we met up again after a week of my working on designs she was very enthusiastic and wanted to experiment with everything. We started chopping up what I brought and placing it everywhere and that was so much fun.
Take a look at some photos of the Liz Black show, courtesy of Carl Osbourn.
Words: Tabby Casto