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You may have heard or tried one of the products that carries his name, but did you know that Kevyn Aucoin is one of the most celebrated makeup artists of all time? His life story could be a Hollywood movie: small town boy from Louisiana goes to New York to try a career in the beauty industry. Even with little experience doing make-up, his talent is so outstanding that in a matter of months he becomes one of Steven Meisel’s protégés. Moreover, the legendary photographer Irving Penn requests him in many shootings for Vogue. Another successful American dream! Kevyn was also the favourite of Tina Turner, Liza Minelli, Cher, Janet Jackson and all the supermodels of the 1980s and 90s. Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Julia Roberts, Barbra Streissand, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington… The “fan & friends” list goes on and on. Worth noting is the fact that he liked to have them lay down, with a pillow to support the head whilst he was doing the makeup, preferably with some relaxing music from his playlist.
As Nicole Kidman said, Kevyn’s makeup was magical. Just take a look at the pictures above, of celebs turned into iconic stars. They are part of “Making Faces” and “Face Forward”, (his first book was “The Art of Makeup” and he also has a bio: “Kevyn Aucoin: A Beautiful Life”). Unfortunately, Kevyn left us way too soon (in 2002, age 40, after an accidental overdose of painkillers to relieve the pain from a rare disease) but his influence is still strong. He defined the natural look of the 90s with a line of nude products for Ultima II, in 1988. His namesake line arrived in 2001 and is a total cult, with best sellers like the Sculpting and Celestial Powders, to contour and highlight (available in the UK at Space NK and Cult Beauty, among others). They may not have the power to transform you as Kevyn did, but it’s a start…
Note: if you still can’t figure out who is who, here are the answers: Kate Moss channelling the Biba look, Isabella Rossellini as Sophia Loren, Julianne Moore as Twiggy, Christy Turlington as Marisa Berenson, Julia Roberts as Julie Christie, Winona Ryder as Elizabeth Taylor in “Cat in a Hot Tin Roof” and Gwyneth Paltrow as Faye Dunaway in “Bonnie & Clyde”.