Gucci Westman

“Luxury and mass market combined.” That’s how celebrity makeup artist Gucci Westman describes her collaboration with Revlon. In 2008, when the drugstore cosmetics giant realized it desperately needed an infusion of fashion credibility, the solution was clear: hire Westman as Global Artistic Director. It was an inspired choice. Not only has the talented makeup artist collaborated with fashion photography legends including Patrick Demarchelier, Annie Leibovitz, Mario Testino and Peter Lindbergh; and transformed celebrity clients Kate Winslet, Jennifer Connelly, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz for the red carpet and magazines alike; but she is married to Rag & Bone co-designer David Neville. Not that she needed Neville to obtain a backstage pass for AW 2010 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York. Westman had a key role in defining the look for this autumn, creating unique styles for a number of designers, and always using products from Revlon.

Westman says she was inspired by “Peter Lindbergh pictures of Kate Moss” from the ’90s for the Rag & Bone show. Squeaky-clean skin, paired with smudged kohl-lined eyes and a nude lip, came off as young, glamorous and edgy. To create this look, which Westman describes as “the remnants of makeup,” the artist used Revlon’s Illuminance Crème Eye Shadow in Not Just Nudes on eyes, lips and cheeks. The result was accessible and aspirational, the opposite of cold beauty.

Ohne Titel’s show featured modern garments with a Victorian twist. Skin was the thing here, and Westman exaggerated the high points of the face with sheen. She used a deep, creamy bronze around the eyes, Shine City gloss on the cheekbones, and concealer on the lips, to render them truly nude. In terms of ease of execution, this look ranked high: far from needing sophisticated tools, Westman created the whole look with her fingers.

For Oscar de la Renta, the idea was a “done” woman: high-impact lips, cheeks and eyes conveyed extreme chic, in keeping with the more sophisticated clothes. Westman took everything “up and out” for a modern take on the contouring effects omnipresent in ’80s makeup, and even brought back that ‘80s classic, brown lipstick. “I always love a brown mouth but never get to do it,” says Westman, who used Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Choco-Liscious, topped with gloss to keep the look fresh.

It was all about a non-traditional smoky eye at Ecco Domani and Westman achieved it by mixing colors from her Summer and Fall palettes, and placing a pop of coral in the inner corner of the eye for brightness. Lips were matte, a custom color achieved by topping a coat of Revlon Matte Lipstick in Wine Not with a Spring collection color called Firecracker.

For Richard Chai, where the inspiration was the haphazard style of the art school girls the designer met at Parsons, who would get up in the morning and just pile on clothes, Westman devised a look she describes as “dusty yet luminous.” Here, she did a bare face—the goal being for the skin to be matte, but still glowing, like Cate Blanchett’s in The Lord of the Rings, according to the makeup artist, with a red lip for a dramatic yet clean and youthful look. Westman says she loves playing with color, and that this look almost tempted her to wear lipstick herself, which she nevertheless wryly admits “I would never do.”

What does Westman see as the major trends for AW 2010/11 ’70s chic, inspired by those old Newton photos in Vogue; warmer, deeper shades on the lips, such as sheer tawny chocolate browns, greys and emeralds for the eyes; and healthy luminous shades for the face.

As for Revlon’s bright future, Westman plans on bringing in more on-trend shades, and working on innovations and new formulas, especially important, she says, as she feels that today’s consumer is more aware, and wants “a nice product for less money.” The makeup artist holds up a tube of Revlon’s new Colorburst Lipstick in demonstration: with its chic quilted packaging and stamped surface, not to mention a pigment-rich formulation and fashion-forward colors, it could easily give luxury brands a run for their money.

– Karena Gupton Akhavein
photography Patrick Hannaway