This year's IMATS has steadily improved, and according to seasoned IMATS visitors, that is self-evident. And although IMATS has positively embraced the growing trend for YouTube makeup videos and blogs, at the core of the show lies a serious reverence for makeup as an industry. Anyone with a keen interest in makeup, or anyone prone to pontificating about the exact nuances and undertones of a shade, will revel in the luxury of choosing between a thousand different types of red lipstick.
IMATS offers the opportunity for brands to showcase their collections directly to the experts. There is no hard sell, and the shopping is nothing like an irritating trip to your local mall. The products are expected to perform at professional grade, and the customers are, in the main, makeup artists looking to fill their kit.
INGLOT, Illamasqua, Yaby, OCC, Eve Pearl, NAKED Cosmetics, Kryolan, and many others, were all in attendance. Most had a surprisingly large amount of products on offer, though Illamasqua (perhaps put off by being nearly crushed to death last year!) opted to only bring a small section of their range. I had been looking forward to building up my pigment collection on the cheap, but alas no dice. I also had hoped Kryolan would bring their lipsticks so I could stock up (their lipsticks are brilliant!) but they couldn't bring everything. Looks like I will need to make a shopping trip to town afterall. I bought some INGLOT (not that impressed so far, sorry) Eve Pearl (lovely company, hmm still making my mind up on these but 'ok' for now) and some Yaby concealers (initially very impressed but now not so sure.) I resisted the lure of Hukuhado brushes but they do look excellent, with a real Japanese artisan flair.
lovely Eve Pearl and lovely MsPancake (will find her channel and update!)
The first talk I went to was Lauren Luke (YouTube's Panacea81.)
Lauren's was the first channel I ever subscribed to, and as she explained - back then it was only a handful of professional makeup artists demonstrating their looks on a model. What she did, as a "normal look'n" person, was to demystify complex techniques. Whether you accept her as a 'professional makeup artist' or not, her finished looks are always very polished, yet throughout the tutorials she will be casually chatting or dropping brushes just like us. Lauren admitted that the early videos which were untempered, are now a thing of the past. She no longer makes drawn out tutorials, and is sure to put her pets away so as not to offend listeners. Barry M were her first big break, and she speaks of them warmly, clearly still appreciating how they plucked her from YouTube and introduced her to the business opportunities to be gained. Nowadays she is affiliated with many brands, and of course has her own successful and expanding makeup range, By Lauren Luke (exclusive to Sephora - and, we were told, destined to be online only for UK.) She would be interested in being poached again, but joked that she has so far only had offers for her hair [Lauren has extremely long hair.] The turnout was surprisingly modest, and Lauren was not oblivious to the "snobbery" in the makeup and fashion industry. Ultimately, she has had incredible opportunites which prolific makeup artists could only dream of. Indeed, Lauren said her family only realised how famous and succesful she was when her Nintendo DS game came out. Lauren beams as she speaks of her family's pride in her. What makes Lauren Luke such a phenomenon is her charm; the fact she recognises her strengths and weaknesses and moreover that she realises her fans have sustained her career. Only once does she concede that sometimes the pressure of being recognised means that she pretends she's not "that girl off of YouTube."
Then I went to a NAKED Cosmetics makeover with the wonderful and kind Koren from Enkoremakeup. He created a neon look using purple and green:
The other talk I went to was very different, and was packed with makeup artists. Louise Young hosted a makeover and spoke about "Retro Influences on Current Fashion." Louise Young is a wonderful expert, with decades of experience in both film and fashion to her name. Her aim, to create this classic look:
Whilst creating a timeless makeover, she gave out tips in an easy manner. As she concealed dark circles she warned "just a quarter of an inch out and you can age someone" and added, "sometimes you take off someone's makeup and half your work is done for you, they look so much better." Louise also spoke of her love of antique cosmetics and interest in the manufacture of makeup. She collects old compacts and old magazines and clearly finds the historical side of makeup just as interesting as the practical side. Her first foray into makeup was a serious undertaking, and the marvellous result is testament to her perfectionism. All mattes, Louise explained that matte shadows mean the makeup artist stays in control of their work, rather than be at the mercy of lighting - which can make glitters and frosts react unpredictably. I have already recommended Louise Young's brushes and palette, but meeting her again and learning so much just in a brief hour, makes me even more impressed.
Lastly I squeezed in to see Alex Box performing to a huge turnout. Clearly Alex Box, creative director of Illamasqua, appeals in equal parts to the makeup artists and to the mere makeup fanatics. Her live rendition was a treat to behold - and made it almost heartbreaking to think this will all be washed off (though she insists this is precisely its purpose.) Working to dramatic music, Alex Box, like a painter, added inspired flashes of highlight and shade for a dazzling and theatrical result.
All in all I would highly suggest a trip to IMATS, it was a fantastic day and a definite date for your calendar.