Face time

Leslie-Anne Barrett is lead makeup artist at Ottawa Fashion Week. Photo by David Kawai, The Ottawa Citizen.

While models saunter down the Ottawa Fashion Week runway, they can look glowingly sporty or like the survivors of an apocalypse.

This is the designer’s vision. And part its execution falls to the makeup artist who creates the “look” that goes with the clothes.

Los Angeles-based Lori Taylor has been in the business for 15 years. Now global lead artist with the cosmetics company Smashbox, she has lost track of the number of runway “looks” she has created for designers, including runway looks for fashion weeks in New York and Los Angeles.

“It’s really high-energy and it’s really fun,” she says. Last March, Taylor worked with Toronto-based designer Lucian Matis to create the runway look for his Toronto Fashion Week collection, then led the team of artists to replicate the look for the catwalk.

“I love the idea of being very collaborative with the designer,” says Taylor.

To come up with a signature look, Matis sent Taylor examples of the things that inspired him, including his colour palette and images from his collection.

“The designer might say ‘The woman who wears my clothes is very earthy, or very boho. Or she’s very high fashion.’ It’s the key words that you paint on the canvas of the face,” she says.

Matis wanted a dramatic look for the collection. “He wanted to make the brow a little bit different. The eye was to be the main focus,” Taylor explains.

Here’s what Taylor came up with for Matis:

She prepared the face by hydrating with moisturizer and applying Photo Finish primer. Then she evened out the complexion with 15 Hour Wear foundation using a foundation brush. Next, she applied Smashbox’s High Definition concealer under the eyes to even out the skin tone, and applied Halo hydrating perfecting powder to set the makeup.

Taylor wanted to almost erase the eyebrows, so she applied Smashbox’s High Definition concealer or Camera Ready concealer over the brows, and set with powder. Next, she went to work on the dramatic, defined eyes by blending the darkest shade of her Smokebox eye palette into the crease and lids and applied “caviar” cream liner and “onyx” pencil on the upper eyelash line.

Thick false eyelashes were applied both to the upper and lower lid. She finished it off with several coats of Full Exposure mascara.

Ottawa makeup artist Leslie-Anne Barrett, who does makeup for CTV Ottawa, and has a growing list of magazine shoots, created something quite different for Matis’ runway show for Friday night’s Whirlwind of Taste and Style event to kick off Winterlude.

Barrett downplayed the eyes and created her own bold lip colour and used luminous skin as the canvas.

“I like the skin to reflect the clothes. I wanted a really beautiful winter princess,” she says.

Working with a designer is like being a windsurfer. “You want to stay on the board, but you have to go with the flow,” says Barrett, who will be the lead makeup artist at Ottawa Fashion Week, leading a team of about a dozen artists under her direction on Feb. 8-10.

Runway makeup is theatre. You can translate what you see on the runway for yourself, but tone it down. Taylor advises taking an element you like — let’s say it’s a saturated blue eyeshadow — and distil it to something simpler, like a blue eyeliner. “Reality is a little more soft,” she says.

Sometimes models don’t like being a blank canvas. The best and most successful are the chameleons, says Taylor.

“Every time I work with a designer, I feel ‘This is why I enjoy my career.’ I like to be part of the creative process.”

For tickets & fashion show schedule, visit ottawafashionweek.ca

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