August 30 2014

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7 posts tagged "Gordon Espinet"

Celebrating The Little Black Makeup Look


PrabalOnce you worked your way around the fifty-plus gowns and frocks that lined the halls at the Mona Bismarck last night for the MAC-sponsored Paris opening of André Leon Talley’s SCAD Little Black Dress exhibition, the gallery spilled into a final space that was the stuff beauty dreams are made of. In a wood-paneled room that looked out onto the venue’s lush grounds hung towering face charts featuring seven MAC-designed makeup looks—with their corresponding product breakdowns—created to complement seven of the show’s standout pieces. “MAC lives fashion 365 days year,” Estée Lauder Group President John Demsey explained of the special addition to the show, emphasizing that more and more, the brand’s sartorial ambitions are branching out beyond its connections to the Fall and Spring ready-to-wear and couture collections to include collaborative capsule ranges with tastemakers and scholastic pursuits that center around style. “MAC has always been referred to as the brand in black, so the little black dress and the little black lipstick sort of went hand in hand,” he elaborated. And let’s not forget its little black eye shadows, eyeliners, and mascaras; where would fashion be without MAC’s fan-favorite shadow pots in Smoulder and Carbon; its eye kohl in Feline; and its cream Fluidline in Blacktrack?

While “[wearing] black is a blank canvas” for makeup, according to Gordon Espinet—the brand’s vice president of makeup artistry, who conceived the individual looks on display—there are certain things to keep in mind when face-painting for an all-black ensemble. “Makeup has no rules; it’s highly personable,” he asserts. “But I tend to go with this: The more embellishment there is on the clothing, the less embellishment should be on the face.” Words to live by.


Photo: Courtesy of MAC Cosmetics

EXCLUSIVE: MAC Debuts the Makeup Brush of the Future


With all the exquisite hair and makeup looks coming out of the tents this week (and the auxiliary venues that make show-going a citywide affair), it’s easy to overlook the little things that make the magic happen: the organic-baby-food pouches that James Kaliardos keeps in his kit to stay properly nourished on a long day in the backstage trenches; the well-traveled bottle of Rodin Olio Lusso that Tom Pecheux utilizes before he even considers bringing out a tube of foundation; and perhaps most important, the makeup brushes that these artists use, which can differ drastically from face painter to face painter.

“I’m known as the queen of brushes,” Val Garland said backstage at BCBG, referring to the unorthodox way she uses the tools “not the way they’re supposed to be used”—a concealer brush as a lip brush, etc; backstage at Altuzarra, Tom Pecheux was giving a veritable clinic on the difference between synthetic and animal-hair tops. “Never use a natural-hair bush with cream pigments,” he said, blending out the show’s “spooky” black and raspberry lids. But it was another revelation there that really blew our minds. “We’ve been testing them out backstage,” MAC’s vice president of makeup artistry, Gordon Espinet, said, holding up an unusual thing that resembled an ergonomic toothbrush, at best. “We always think of makeup brushes as something we paint with. These turn everything around. What do we brush our hair with, what do we brush our teeth with, what do we use on ourselves?” he asked rhetorically. “Brushes that have long handles. I’ll be honest: Our first thought was that these are great for people to do their own makeup.” Nevertheless, the group of three brushes, which will be expanded to include a full collection once the prototype phase ends, have been garnering plenty of attention from women who are having their makeup done. “I’ve been using them when I’m doing powder in the lineup, and all the models are like, ‘What is that?’ It just feels really good,” Espinet continues of the super-soft synthetic fibers that make even the most complicated makeup techniques, well, “idiotproof,” he jokes. Sign us up.

Grace Kelly Incarnate, Backstage At Elie Saab


Backstage at Elie Saab’s Spring Couture presentation today, it all started with Grace Kelly. “She was never too overdone, and Elie wanted the girls to look very young and fresh,” hair guru Orlando Pita said of the “wholesome” side-slung chignons he created by prepping strands with his signature T3 Plump before drying, side-parting, and fashioning a loose braid behind the ear, which he tucked into itself. “It’s supposed to look effortless,” he added. That’s not necessarily a word we’d use to describe the late Princess of Monaco’s always put-together appearance, but MAC senior vice president Gordon Espinet clarified, “It wasn’t about making the girls look like her; it was more about making them look fabulous without a lot of fuss. No muss, no fuss.” That meant a flawless, dewy complexion, the kind of adolescent gleam we find ourselves trying to muster every day. Espinet achieved it here by prepping models’ skin with MAC’s much-loved Care Blends Essential Oils mixed with its Strobe Liquid Lotion. Then came a light application of foundation courtesy of MAC Mineralize Skinfinish—”it doesn’t cover; it just makes skin look awesome,” Espinet enthused of the color-correcting compact. A flush, “not blush,” created using cream color bases and a slathering of tinted lip conditioner, gave cheeks and mouths a natural rosy glow, while a slashing of black mascara on the top lashes added just a hint of drama. “It’s almost makeup that you don’t have to look into the mirror to do,” Espinet says. “You can feel it go into all the right places.”

Photo: Umberto Fratini /

Backstage Beauty: It’s In The Bag


After years of hearing that makeup artists and hairstylists rely on its traditional black travel cases to transport products and tools between New York, London, Milan, and Paris, Tumi is capitalizing on an amazing marketing opportunity: Starting this past weekend, the brand has partnered with MAC Cosmetics’ vice president of makeup artistry, Gordon Espinet, and will follow him (and his trusty luggage) as he makes the seasonal backstage rounds. Wherever Gordon and his Tumi bags go, fans of the brand—and fashion in general—will have a chance to follow via Facebook and Twitter, learning about Fall beauty trends and after-party antics along the way. Right here, for example, Espinet’s Alpha duffels are en route from Heathrow to Milan, where the fashion tribe is currently relocating. Can’t you just see the anticipation, exhaustion, and excitement on their ultra-tough, FXT ballistic nylon faces?

a humble retraction


A few weeks ago, we posted about a series of face charts created by MAC Cosmetics vice president of makeup artistry Gordon Espinet, which “suggested” looks for a future first lady or vice president. In said post, we intimated that the looks were, well, de trop. In fact, our exact words were “[the] Gloria Gaynor-style cheek contouring—might be a little too, er, ambitious for the current political climate.” After seeing last night’s vice presidential debate however,
we would like to formally admit that we were wrong. In fact, another face chart from the same collection of images looks nearly identical to Governor Palin’s—we’re just going to come right out and say it—bronzer abuse during last night’s telecast. Our apologies for doubting your abilities for conjecture, Mr. Espinet.

Photo: Courtesy of MAC Cosmetics