Interviews: Director of Makeup Artistry, Bianca Alexander

bianca_alexander_inage.jpgWith the focus of the runway being on the clothes, it is easy to forget how much cosmetics are a major part of Fashion Week. This fact wasn’t lost on the geniuses over at M.A.C cosmetics who hosted a cosmetics reception at their own booth inside the tent at Bryant Park. Representatives were available to showcase the M.A.C line and makeup artists were on hand to answer questions. Bianca Alexander is the Director of Makeup Artistry for M.A.C and she knows just how influential fashion show makeup can be. I sat down with Ms. Alexander to ask her about makeup trends, tips of the trade and just how she came to have such a dream job.

How did you get into this industry?
I was lucky. While I was in college I worked part time at the MAC store. I moved to Miami after graduation and what an industry this was and I decided that I wanted to get into it, which I was able to do after I moved to New York. This generation of makeup artists did not go to beauty school, the way many people do today. We just enjoyed it and fell into it as a job. Since then, it as become a really strong career choice.

What does your job consist of on a day to day basis?
I always tell people I have the cake job. My team’s major responsibility is working with the MAC pro team. It’s a great department because we really work with everyone. We use the same core crew of makeup artists for all the different events. Everyday is different. Sometimes I work on something retail oriented, sometimes I do things that are more product based.

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What trends have you seen this past week?
This season’s shows have had a strong lash trend. False lashes are very pretty and feathery and light. When eyes are done up skin should be very polished. See through color is key and it’s about learning how to layer colors together. You cannot have spring make up without focusing on the skin. You are going to see skin go towards more matte when you have iridescent eyes. We have seen the models looking much paler than in past seasons. They are already tanned from summer holidays, so makeup artists are shying away from bronzer. This is about achieving a much more polished look. MAC has a very fast turnaround and is able to bring the Fashion Week trends to the market quickly.

Do fashion trends dictate makeup or do makeup trends influence fashion?
It works both ways. The process starts in New York before Fashion Week. We do make up and hair tests prior to a show. The hair and makeup teams get together with the designer and look at the clothes and the models. They test the hair and the makeup for the show. This process occurs before Fashion Week in New York, London, Paris and Milan. You see four to five strong trends develop after all the cities have had their fashion shows. It is always about collaboration between the teams. Who is the woman the designer is showing, what is her story?

Do you have customers who’ve said that there was a type of product they wished MAC made?
Absolutely. We did a big thing for Indian and Asian skin for that area. Women commented that there were no shades that fit their skin tones and that they were needing to use multiple colors to find the right tone. We launched specific shades to address this issue. What the consumer needs is a major concern. The makeup artists work for every possible media form, fashion, day to day, weddings, and a great product will work for each medium. Improving our product is what fashion week is about. Working backstage, different makeup artists see each other’s kits and get a better idea of the different products that are out there. We always come up with ideas of things we wished we had.

What tips can you give women for the fall?
When it comes to mascara always go all the way out and all the way in. Black eyeliner is very hot for this fall, as are brows. Liquid liner is applied very straight.


For the latest in beauty trends for Spring 2008, go behind the scenes at M.A.C Backstage

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