4 posts tagged "James Boehmer"
“It’s always about many things with Shane and Chris,” NARS director of global artistry James Boehmer said backstage at Shane Gabier and Chris Peters’ Creatures of the Wind show. Boy was it ever. Boehmer ran off an inspiration list that varied between World War II teddy girls, Memphis furniture, and the “plasticized nature of candy,” which led him to a surprisingly understated makeup look, all things considered. “You don’t see it right away,” he pointed out of the rose-gold cat-eyes he traced onto models’ eyes using a mix of NARS Multiples in Maldives, a creamy bronze, and Copacabana, a dark champagne, with its Single Shimmer Eyeshadow in Nepal, a frosty mocha. “The texture is really pearly,” he continued of the lids, which caused him to keep the skin super-matte in contrast, using NARS Sheer Matte Foundation dusted with its Loose Powder. Brows were brushed up with its forthcoming Brow Gel, while lips were treated to a shot of moisture courtesy of its NARSskin Total Replenishing Eye Cream.
Hairstylist Odile Gilbert was going for “cool, with a touch of sophistication,” which lead her to a dual-textured, middle-parted style. Using Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique Heat-Activated Reconstructor Milk to “flatten” hair at the root, Gilbert employed a three-pronged curling iron to create glossy ridges through the lengths, coating them with its Elixir Ultime Moringa Immortel serum to add shine. “It helps achieve the look and treat the hair at the same time,” she boasted of the multitasking product.
The Citizens Band’s performances have come to represent more than just an opportunity to see well-choreographed political satire in cabaret form. The singing, dancing, and acrobatic extravaganza that stars a rotating cast of a few of our favorite fashion and Hollywood notables has become something of a beauty showcase as well. Backstage, James Boehmer, international lead stylist for NARS Cosmetics, is frequently charged with crafting dramatic makeup schemes to help further the plot line of each show. For “The Debt Rattle”, the Citizens’ eighth original show, which premiered last night at the Henry Street Settlement and runs through Saturday, Boehmer transformed the likes of Sarah Sophie Flicker, Karen Elson, and Zoë Kravitz into Depression-era ragamuffins who have taken shelter from the economic storm in an auditorium promising food, warmth, and prize money if they can best their competitors. To translate all of that into cosmetic form, Boehmer took inspiration from illustrations of 1920′s Paris burlesque girls, Weimar Berlin, and a little Jane Fonda. “The show borrows from the Jane Fonda movie They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? about a desperate dance marathon during the Depression, so we decided to make everyone a bit tired around the eyes,” Boehmer explained. This meant starting individual eye makeup applications with a black base using NARS Cream Eyeshadow in Zardos and adding definition with a black pencil. To sculpt and highlight the area, Boehmer then added shimmery and glittery colors on top so they would “pop,” like NARS new Soft Touch Shadow Pencils in Aigle Noir, a gold-flecked onyx, and Goddess, a glistening pink Champagne. “I’m obsessed with Biba,” Boehmer added. “So there are elements of that in the makeup, too. It’s all about reinterpreting great heroines of the past—Theda Bara, Garbo, Jean Harlow—but with a late-1960′s spin.” As for the skin, Boehmer did a lot of shaping and sculpting with NARS Multiple Bronzer and opted for Velvet Matte Lip Pencils over lipstick for added staying power. The rest is just showmanship. “Add some glitter, sequins, rhinestones, false eyelashes and then it starts to feel about right!” Click here for show times and ticket information.
Known for fusing a classic burlesque sensibility with an undercurrent of political satire, The Citizens Band’s gaggle of actresses and supermodels (and an aerialist for good measure) has been spreading its message of social change through song and dance for the past four years. In its sixth original show, the troupe will perform The Panic Is On this week at the Lower East Side’s Henry Street Settlement, a quirky mix of classic songs and original compositions in which they muse over war, immigration, xenophobia, poverty, and their own hopes for political progress. The three-night engagement, which begins tomorrow, will feature the vocal and acrobatic stylings of regular TCB’ers like Karen Elson and Sarah Sophie Flicker as well as special guests Nina Persson of the Cardigans, Zoe Kravitz, and one James Boehmer, NARS Cosmetics’ international lead makeup artist, who joined the Vaudevillian freak show back in January. Style.com caught up with Boehmer, who is a backstage mainstay during shows in New York, Paris, and Milan, to talk about the difference between stage makeup and runway makeup and how to get that classic Clara Bow lip.
What made you want to add theater makeup to your already well-established fashion repertoire?
I actually started out on in theater—regional theater and plays in high school—and I found that I always loved what was happening backstage more than what was going on onstage. So I went to college for makeup artistry and assisted a stage makeup artist in Chicago, which just kind of evolved into fashion somehow.
And how do you find the two undertakings different? Do you like one more than the other?
With editorial and runway, you’re usually grooming people so that they look very beautiful, and this is a political cabaret troupe that is providing a subtle, subversive commentary on what’s going on in the country. So for me it’s rewarding to actually have a political message.
Can you walk us through the process of designing the makeup looks for a Citizens show?
It starts with conversations between me and Sarah Sophie Flicker—she’s sort of always served as the creative director for the group. We talk about ideas and inspiration and go through how we see each character looking. They’re all meant to live in this imaginary time from the turn of the century to the 1920′s and 1930′s, so we look at silent film stars like Theda Bara and Clara Bow.
So how does that kind of high-concept approach play itself out onstage?
Well, Sarah is playing a 16-year-old and when the show starts, it’s her 16th birthday. So the idea we had for her is that she is this living doll circa the 1920′s, with pale skin, rosy cheeks, and long, individual doll eyelashes with heavy makeup in the crease of her eye so she looks like a “blinky doll.” She also has Clara Bow lips.
Yes, that tiny pucker is very indicative of the era—and Citizens Band performances as well, it often seems. How do you go about creating that kind of lip?
We usually erase the natural lip entirely with concealer and then I’ll use a plum or black pencil to get the shape of the mouth. Afterward I layer an intense pigmented red or berry lipstick on top and compliment the small lip with big eyes, enlarged with smokier colors.
I know you said that each character’s look is unique, but do you find that there is an overlaying concept or color scheme that runs throughout?
I usually limit my palette to create cohesiveness, while making sure that each character retains some sense of individuality. For example, the band is meant to look like a sepia-tone photograph—like a somber, turn-of-the century marching band. So they’re all contoured and highlighted and shadowy-eyed in muted tones. One of the band members is getting a vintage American flag on his face so the flag is going to be burgundy, cream, and gray, instead of red, white, and blue. You never know though—we’ll see if it pans out!
Photo: Courtesy of The Citizens Band
Working off the principle that colors like rich gold, copper, and mahogany are universally flattering, NARS Cosmetics‘ fall collection boasts an eye shadow range in multiple shades of brown. In addition to creating a warm palette typical of the season, NARS also seems to be making a strong case for the brown smoky eye, an updated take on the classic black/gray version that the brand’s international lead makeup stylist, James Boehmer, calls “a little more approachable.” Here, he gives step-by-step instructions for how to get the sultry look without all the severity:
—Start with a cream eye shadow and apply to the lid, from the lash line up to the crease. Tip: I usually use a black cream (NARS Zardoz Cream Eye Shadow is great) regardless of the color palette that I am working in to add depth to the powder shadows that will be layered on top.
—Line the upper and lower lash line with a black pencil and blend into the cream using your finger or a small domed brush.
—When you get the shape and intensity you want, add a matte powder shadow to the cream and pencil. I usually use a matte black shadow to set the cream.
—Next, add your accent color to the lid. The sooty brown side of the Cordura Eye Shadow duo is a favorite of mine. It has a graphite texture that looks great on everyone.
—Blend color to the lash line, diffusing as you move toward the outer corner of the eye. Tip: Layering matte and metallic shadows in your accent color will give more depth and intensity.
—When you are happy with the color level, blend a skin-toned shadow with a bit of shimmer to the crease of the eye to help transition the color up to the brow bone and keep the eye open (NARS Ashes to Ashes or Cairo Single Eye Shadows are perfect for this!).
—Finish by curling and applying mascara to the top and bottom lashes. I also like to rim the eye with a black or brown pencil. Tip: For something a bit different, try a dark teal pencil on the inner rim to brighten the white of your eye and create a contrast with the rich browns.
—Tip: While you might typically pair a smokier eye with a paler lip, I use rich matte lipstick in a plum or red, like NARS Fire Down Below Lipstick or Damned Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, to change things up when I’m working with brown. It maintains the balance between eyes and lips—sort of like a Robert Palmer girl without the stripe of blush.
Photo: Courtesy of NARS Cosmetics