Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Gorgeous at Guerlain

I don't like make-up.

I don't like looking overly made up myself, and I don't like looking at ladies who haven't blended properly.  I find make-up mishaps distracting.  Like, if you can't hide a pimple, don't try.

When a new acquaintance invited me for a special make-over at Guerlain's glittering flagship on the Champs Elysée, I was grateful but hesitant.  Since moving to Paris - where a natural look is the norm - I had whittled the contents of my make-up bag down to a brow-brush, mascara and gloss.  Plus, throughout my career I'd worked with plenty of make-up artists, so felt I knew most of the tricks.  Apart from some welcome girl-time with my lovely new friend, what was I really going to gain?

Meet Olivier.

The Creative Director of Guerlain, Olivier Echaudemaison isn't just a make-up artist; he's the daddy of make-up artists.  The DADDY.   He's been on the scene since Twiggy was a young covergirl.  He's worked on such icons as Jackie Kennedy, Princess Caroline, Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn, and worked with such geniuses as Hubert de Givenchy and Diana Vreeland: and that was when he was just getting started.

Our session began with laughter - Olivier has a great sense of humour and the gift of the (thankfully, bilingual) gab. But things got serious when he asked me if I wear make-up.  No, I said. Why, he asked.  Because I don't want to look made-up, I said.  Because I love the way classy Parisian women are all natural, I said.

He turned to my new Parisian girlfriend - a bare-faced beauty - and rolled his eyes. It's an illusion! he exclaimed in a very French huff, pointing out that the nation's best selling cosmetic item wasn't lipstick or liner but foundation.


At which point Olivier grabbed a big brush and began coating my face with something called Lingerie de Peau - lingerie for the skin - which he'd matched to the shade of my throat.  This was followed by eye-shadows in different shades of beige and browns, lots of liner (top lid only), a really cool mascara that came with its own clever mirror, and a bit of bronzing powder in the beautiful mosaic palette that Guerlain is famous for.

After just 20 minutes I was completely made-up without being over done.  The look was polished and sophisticated without feeling heavy.  Even the dreaded foundation was feather-light and flawless.

In the hands of the master, the secret of Parisian beauty had finally been confirmed: French ladies never leave home without nice knickers.

Style File Followers Take Note:
1. Credit where credit is due: That pic of Olivier making-up the uber-gorgeous face of Guerlain, Natalia Vodianova, (I know, I know, you thought it was me) came from here.  The make-up can be found ici.
2. I'm still shocked that I now own a bottle of Lingerie de Peau foundation.  Even more shocked that I've used it.  (The day I stop being slightly amused by the name will be the biggest shock of all.)
3. Make-up junkies should grab a copy of of Olivier's autobiography Colors of my Life. It contains an easy-to-follow section about truly beautiful make-up.  (No silly rainbow eyeshadows in sight.)
4. Fashion junkies should grab a copy of it too.  Olivier drops so many big names, you'll need to wear steel-cap boots while reading it.

1 comment:

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