Monday, 7 March 2011

Interview with: Louise Young

Louise Young is fairly new as a makeup brand, but as a makeup expert she has long proven herself and has years of not only practical artistry, but also the teaching, to enrich her résumé. I have to admit that her session was the highlight of my IMATS day, as it is quite rare to find a makeup artist so knowledgeable about the historical side of makeup, not only the trends but even the packaging and the photographers of the day were discussed as she confidently but casually created a perfect 1940s face. I am very intrigued by the history and evolution of makeup fashions and techniques, so talking to Louise Young is always a great privilege.

Louise Young brushes and the eyeshadow palette stand as testament to her astute perfectionism; every angle is positioned just right, clearly in response to real makeup dilemmas. The now famous LY38 and especially the new version, LY38B, was created when she made up a lady with a very thin eye crease and realised there was no perfect brush, yet. Similarly, Louise Young tested the eyeshadow palette at every turn of its manufacture, until she eventually deemed the colours and packaging were exact. It is clear that the brand is destined to become a byword for high quality, essential products.


Interview with Louise Young

Watching your demonstration class at IMATS, “Retro Influences on Current Fashion” was fascinating, not least because as you worked you imparted so many useful tips and techniques! You are very involved with the academic side of makeup education, but do you plan one day to release a makeup book for the masses?

I am currently writing contributions to 2 educational books - one where I have carried out the make-up and the 2nd I am a contributor amongst other make-up artists giving a profile of my work. I am currently working on a complete book as well.

At IMATS, you mentioned that you admire and collect antique packaging and old magazines; do you think the level of 1940s glamour has ever been matched since? Have there been any modern makeup trends which impressed you?

I love the golden era of Hollywood and I think part of the glamour of that period is that the stars retained an air of mystery about them. With current celebrities being so much more accessible to the media via magazines, twitter and the internet I do feel some of this glamorous image has been lost. The old studio system - whilst flawed in some ways - did help stars to retain their untouchable image and would never have allowed pictures of their stars to appear in any less than a favourable light.

Regarding modern make-up trends I really love some of Pat McGrath”s work for Dior and also Val Garland always produces interesting creations.

You have a very broad base of makeup knowledge - as well as extensive lecturing you have built up years of experience working in a variety of mediums: Film, TV, Fashion and adverts! How do you find your makeup techniques change to suit these situations?

I make a conscious effort not to be typecast or pigeon holed in one area and to do this I make sure I can adapt to any situation. I listen carefully to the brief on a job and also make sure I understand exactly what the client is trying to achieve. Having a very wide knowledge of different styles helps and I keep up to date with new products, trends and also get inspiration from nature and the world around me.

Do you have any makeup “rules” or fail-safe tips for women to help them avoid any makeup disasters?

Well, number one would be to do your make-up in a good light - many women still try and achieve a good effect in bad lighting conditions.

I think as well it is very important to know your own face and understand light and
shade on the face as it is easy to make yourself look worse, not better.

Do you think men will start wearing makeup any time soon? Various ranges have tried to induce them...

I am not sure about this one - I think it is a fast growing market when presented as “male grooming” which is definitely an increasing trend. However I think we have a long way to go before we see the majority of men wearing make-up - though looking back at history it is definitely a possibility.

Do you have a favourite makeup period or an ultimate makeup icon?

My favourite make-up period would be late 30s into the 1940s. I think it is partly due to the way that the celebrity photographers of the time such as George Hurrell presented the stars - making them look like gods and goddesses. I love the clothes and styling of the 1930s as well so I think I am drawn to the the whole effect.

Your brushes have been praised by all and the first palette you brought out was equally fantastic. Will the Louise Young brand eventually include a full collection of makeup and tools? - Please could you divulge any future plans for the range...?

Yes, I have designed the whole range which we are hoping will be available by mid 2012. I take so much time to make sure each product is exactly right and choosing the right packaging takes me a long time. I am planning the book to coincide with the launch of the rest of the range.

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