As an entire industry pivots and adjusts to social distancing restrictions and safety measures, S/ has enlisted the brilliant talents of veteran makeup artist Simone Otis and musician Talvi Faustmann to collaborate and communicate remotely through makeup and create a beauty shoot with a new and unique point of view.
“When I was asked if I’d be interested in participating about a month ago, we were in a bit of a different place,” explains makeup artist Simone Otis. Although orders of protection were in effect, the protests hadn’t started yet. “Funnily enough, my first thoughts were about skin and colour and how the words ‘white’ and ‘black’ do not really reflect actual skin colours,” she says. “Skin tones are made of so many variations of unexpected colours like pink, blue, mahogany, caramel, and more.” She also thought about makeup trends, and Instagram’s ability as a platform to push limits everywhere and anywhere.
Glide Dior Backstage Rosy Glow on upper cheek and above the eye. Exaggerate the cheeks with Fenty Diamond Bomb in How Many Carats and top off with Dior Backstage Glow Palette in Glitter Strobe. For bold, pigmented eyes, apply MAC Cosmetics’ Art Library: It’s Designer palette on the lids. Finish off the look with high-gloss lips with Dior Lip Glow Oil in 015 Cherry.
“With those two things on my mind, I thought about using vibrant colour, on parts of the face and all over the face,” says Otis, who was also drawn to the bright makeup illustrations of the ’80s. “I wanted to tie those ideas together and make it about something to look forward to. Something experimental, playful, and a bit conceptual,” she adds. “I’m feeling optimistic and I want to share that feeling.”
For her part, musician Talvi Faustmann has always been drawn to makeup. “I’ve always loved makeup, the tactile experience of buying it and putting it on,” she says. “Everything comes in pretty little magical jars and bottles. It’s like modern-day witchcraft,” which is precisely why she had no reservations jumping into the project. “I don’t know what it says about me that I went into this with a really delusional amount of confidence,” says Faustmann. “That was quickly shattered,” she jokes.
Contour and create a glow effect with Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Illuminating Powder in Sunset, and dab Fenty Cream Blush in Petal Poppin to the upper cheeks. Stencil MAC Cosmetics’ Art Library: It’s Designer palette in Bright Pink on upper cheek, along with Fenty Killawatt Foil in Sangria Sunset over cheekbone. Using Darkroom from MAC Cosmetics’ Art Library: It’s Designer palette, carefully draw a butterfly shape, and follow with Nyx Brights Palette in Red in the same outline. Complement the pink and red tones on the eyes and cheeks with Charlotte Tilbury lipstick in Tell Laura, and top it off with Dior Lip Glow Oil in 015 Cherry.
“I made mood boards for three makeup look ideas to share with the team. I added a blurb for each to hopefully explain what I was trying to get at,” says Otis. She used Faustmann as her muse. “As I was making the boards, I tried to find examples that looked a bit like Talvi or reflected her style,” she says. From the beginning, the pair, who have previously collaborated, were on the same page. By chance, there was one particular Japanese airbrush artist both had in mind. “The Pater Sato references were actually all over my mood boards for an upcoming music project I’m working on, so that felt like that was a little magical coincidence,” adds Faustmann.
That’s not to say there weren’t difficulties for each along the way. “I really wanted to do the make- up!” says Otis. “This time period of being unable to work in person with teams of great creatives, brainstorm ideas together in person, and actually execute the makeup has shown me how much I value those experiences,” she says. Faustmann, on the other hand, struggled a bit to get the application and shots to be picture-perfect.
“I realized pretty quickly that getting looks to translate properly on camera with flash was going to take some work, because the flash really muted the colours,” says Faustmann. “Makeup is really a series of layers, like a painting, so often if you mess something up in the last few stages, you essentially ruin 20 of the prior steps,” she says. “I did five variations of the graphic look and failed at them all until I figured out the stencils.”
When Faustmann stumbled, Otis was there for support. “She basically said, ‘There are moments it’s going to look crazy before it comes together, so just keep going,’ ” says Faustmann. The final result, especially the graphic look, is something both are proud to share. So much so that Faustmann is already thinking of doing it again. “I can see myself doing the stencilled look for future live music performances or videos,” she says. “There’s a world of possibility there.”