May 07, 2017


M.A.C is collaborating in 2017 with three talented internationally renowned makeup masters to create the Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection – Diane Kendall, Kabuki and James Kaliardos. James was in Sydney recently and esprit had a natter with him.

The brand has also revealed its SS Trends with a demonstration by Senior Artists based in Sydney: Carol Mackie and Nicole Thompson.

First up... James Kaliardos @jameskaliardos

You are a high-profile makeup artist. Share with us the highlights of your career

I do a lot of editorial and runway. I’ve worked with runway, everywhere from Balenciaga to Chanel, to Hermes and Jean Paul Gaultier, Rodarte sisters and Calvin. Also Versace. I’ve worked with a lot of different people and that’s really fun. M.A.C has actually supported me in most of their shows with a team and products for years and years, since as early as I can remember, which has been great. It has been a great way to really know the company inside and out, and all the products. Designers are so specific, they are like “I want that orange!” You know you can always make it with M.A.C.

So is that where your collaboration has come from? Working with designers that want specific colours?

Well I went to James Gager, who is Creative Director of M.A.C with a makeup idea to do a collection for him, which he didn’t really like. But he came up with something else. I have this company called Visionaire which is an art and fashion publication and we do public art, installations and films. So I came to him with a Visionaire idea. But he was like, it makes more sense to do a James Gager idea, why don’t we do you and two other makeup artists and we will sort of have a Makeup Masters collection. So that’s how it was born, but it makes sense – I’ve always collected M.A.C and I’ve always used it. So ever since I started my career in the early 90s, M.A.C’s been there. The original owners of M.A.C actually gave me $100 to credit them and they would give me products, back in the day. So it’s a kind of nice synergistic thing, but what I thought I would do for this collection is do a paired down kit. Almost all the time, I do a basic James face, sculpting out the face a little bit, just to bring out the shape and the bones of the face, then emphasise the lips or emphasise the eyes.

I always thought about doing a collection. I just wanted to do something that is really helpful to women because I think makeup can be used as a tool to feel better. It can’t cure cancer, but it can empower a woman to feel confident and face the world. Some women don’t really know how to do that. I’m giving them all the tools that they can use to present themselves, however they want, to the world. They are easy-to-use things that they can make a choice about. I think having that choice and using your own artistry and creativity when you are doing your makeup, is a really healing, beautiful, private thing that only women do. 

How hands-on were you with creating this range? 

I met with the M.A.C team who developed the products – they’re so fantastic. I brought in all my favourites...for instance, there’s a shade of lipstick called ‘Paramount’, which is an old M.A.C shade that all my girlfriends used to use. Everyone used to wear this brown lipstick. I’ve added a little bit of wine to it because I thought, though brown still works, I thought it would be a little more attractive with a little wine through it.
So I took old products that I had, and kind of re-invented some of them. But we really started from scratch. M.A.C has done this kit before for another collection, and I thought it was so smart to have three colours all in one. I wanted to do a kit – it just takes the guessing game out of what blush, what eyeliner, what contour and stuff like that. I also wanted to deal with two skin tones. So we have a dark, chic palette and a light version.

There are some brush suggestions in the kit too. Then there is a red lip and two paler shades; one is peachy because I used to work a lot with Richard Avedon, the photographer and he always said “can you add a little bit of peach to the lip?” We used to do a lot of beige lips, pure beige which of course has never taken off in the real world. He would always say to add a little peach because it would just bring some life into it. And it would really work. There’s a ‘my lip’ sort of tone, just a natural lip tone colour. They look good on all skin tones. Surprisingly, even on dark skin tones. There are four eye shadow colours. Two are sparkly - just fun. Part of the job of doing makeup I think, is that it is creative and you want a little fun too, it’s not totally serious. I did two lip glosses. The eye shadows are a matte grey and a matte brown and you can use them wet or dry. They are James Kaliardos really quite dense, so you can use your finger to put it on, or of course you can brush it on, or you can use it as a liner. I thought it was a lot more interesting than black. It’s hard just to put black eye shadow on, yet you want to deepen your eye or emphasise it. 

What’s the best advice you can give to up and coming makeup artists?

I did makeup on everyone from my mother, my friends, my girlfriends, plays I was in, photos - I started taking photos myself and then I found photographers that needed work. I did people going out to clubs and older women and younger women. I was always doing it and it just led to a career. I never really assisted anyone or had to go to school or anything. So I think just wanting to do something and then just keep doing it. That way it will lead to you doing it more and people will want to help you continue doing it. If it’s just a pipe dream and you are not actually putting in action to the dream, it’s hard for people to help you.

Spring/Summer Trends

M.A.C Senior Artists Carol Mackie - @carol_mackie and Nichol Thompson - @pinkiiieee demonstrated key trends for the Spring/Summer 2017 season, to beauty media.

REAL – an unfiltered realism to beauty that lives and breathes as women wear it. Worn-in and enhancing, never heavy.

FREE – liberal adornment of stamps and slashes of impressionist colour – energetic and refreshingly unconventional.

WET – the visceral beauty of wet gloss – from sweat to humidity there’s still the fascination of how light fits and flatterers a face. Here it’s explored as a texture from vinyl shine to emollient sheen.

WARM – a palette drawn from the heat of the environment: sun, beach, petals, terracotta crystals and the earth. Worn simply to be modern.

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