Coveting the dewy, slightly undone Burberry breed of beauty? With Suki, Cara, Malaika, Jourdan, Naomi and Kate gracing the billboards, glossies and fashion ad space for Burberry, it’s clear that Burberry beauty is synonymous with both desirability and ageless ease of wear. No matter if you’re a 21 year old Malaika Firth, a 45 year old Naomi Campbell, or just, you know, a ‘real’ woman of any age, Wendy will make you look good. Actually, better than good: gorgeous.
Her perception that modern beauty should be effortless shines through in campaigns, on catwalks and in the slick products that she creates in collaboration with Christopher Bailey of Burberry. The brand are always at the forefront of what’s hot, from live music at shows to fresh styling of its infamous macs, but also knows when to honour its good old British heritage and bow down to the classics. It may be the hardest ticket to get your hands on during London Fashion Week, but Wendy and the team are devoted to making the hands on, ahead of the game Burberry beauty aspect as easy to master as ever. Here’s Wendy’s take on modern beauty, whether you’re a teen, the Queen, or somewhere in between…
Makeup Maniac: What’s your idea of modern beauty? Is there a particular look that feels ‘modern’ to you?
Wendy Rowe: “Modern beauty isn’t conventional, it’s not something that you look at in makeup books. There’s not that many ‘steps’. You can be quite maverick with products and you don’t have to use them just for exactly what they ‘should’ be used for. It’s much more about the textures now, the translucency, the feeling on the skin and nothing has to be perfect. It’s definitely not about structure; it’s more about an idea, a feeling, rather than ‘let’s do this big, precise, angular eye look’. Modern beauty is more organic. It’s about working with what you’ve got and it doesn’t need to be too rigid, it can be more worn-in. It’s a little bit Kate, it’s a little bit Cara. You can throw on a red lip, copy Suki Waterhouse and just do a bit of eyeliner; it needn’t be a full face.”
“For beauty that’s modern, there aren’t so many rules as with traditional makeup. You don’t always need to create a certain shape or put things on with a brush. Try applying product with your finger instead and letting it fall into the shape of your eye. It’s much easier, but people are scared to do it, because it makes them feel like they’re not doing it properly. New products and textures mean that there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t apply makeup like that.”
MM: What types of product would be in your ultimate modern beauty kit?
WR: “Number one I need to work fast; no one’s going to sit there for an hour while I do someone’s makeup. It’s just not possible, not in this day and age when people want to Instagram while we’re shooting, or film backstage. There’s so much going on, so I have to find quick ways to do things. When I develop products, I think if that’s quick for me and allows me to cut out having to do this or that, I think sure, we can make this for women, because it’s really easy. That’s how things become effortless. That’s what we’re trying to do at Burberry - the ideal is that the consumer achieves what I do. That’s when we make great products.”
“Don’t be serious, have fun - you’re supposed to enjoy makeup. It’s supposed to make you feel better, not like ‘oh my god I can’t do this’, or ‘that’s it I’m not going out’...‘I’ve got nothing to wear’. Don’t put that much pressure on yourself. Use the right products and it becomes easy. When I was at college I remember buying a whole load of eyeshadows, because you’ve got to have every colour, and for the lot it was £24 at the time, which was a good chunk of money to me. I was trying to do makeup and these eyeshadows were like chalk, they were SO hard to move. I just thought ‘I’m so rubbish at eyes’. There were big blocks of colour, huge holes in the shadow. Really, it’s because my product was rubbish, I just had no idea. To be honest, I’d be really pushed to make that stuff look good now. It’s really more about the products than people think.”
“Day to day I need the Sheer Concealers , £26 each. They’re an absolute must-have and no else produces anything like them. They’re creamy, they’re beautifully pigmented and I use them under the eye all the time. They’re essential both for my work and for me personally. The Face Contour Effortless Contouring Pen (launching August-September), £25, I really have to have for myself and for work too, because it allows me to do so much background work, and finish the face too. I can really get a smokey eye going with one- if you start a smokey eye with a cream product, everything blends together so much better. I can also use it to sculpt the face and create a great base. If I’m at work and I don’t have my Effortless Brow Definer , £22.50, that’s a problem. I don’t use it for myself as I don’t really need it, but if brows aren’t angled or are too solid and blocky, I can create great shadows and enhance eyebrows to make the whole face look more youthful. Kisses Lipsticks , £25 each, are great too as I can build them up or apply them very softly for a sheer effect.”
“As a makeup artist you have lot of different products from all over the place in your kit, and sometimes working with a single brand can be hard, because it might not make something that you love using. With Burberry products, I can achieve anything. Of course I’ve got other products in my kit, but if I’m not sure what’s coming, I’m always really happy to take my Burberry bag and I know that I can do any colour, any skintone and I can make anything happen. I don’t think that there’s anything that I couldn’t create. Also, because as a brand we have quite an ‘effortless’ feel, if I start using heaps of product, then the effortless part isn’t really true is it?! With these products I can show you how to use this for that and that for this. Sometimes I will spend a lot of time doing makeup and sometimes I won’t, but I still need it to look good, preferably quickly either way.”
MM: How would you go about creating a beautifully up to date beauty look? What would be your essential tools?
WR: “Tool-wise you need a powder brush. It will set everything. Maybe a little angled brush too to to smudge in eyeliner or apply powder under the eye. Also eyelash curlers. I wouldn’t really need anything else. If I were on a desert island, I’d be alright with that kit. If I was doing a technical eye, I’d use more brushes. In general the stronger the look, the more brushes I’d use. I also couldn’t do a red lip on a shoot without using a brush. If I was using it on myself I’d apply the lipstick straight from the bullet, but then I know my own contours and the shape of my lips. When you apply it on someone else you’re coming from a completely different direction. I can’t get the same angles on a model as if she were doing it on herself. That can be tricky when I’m creating a makeup look in front of everyone!”
MM: How can you transform a classic beauty look, for instance a red lip or smokey eye, into something modern and up to minute?
WR: “To make a classic look such as a smokey eye modern I’d use a product like the Eye Colour Cream , £25. It’s got such a velvety texture. To keep it modern, you’ve got to make sure that your shadow is a bit iridescent, so that you can still see the skin beneath. When it’s heavy and ‘blocky’, your eyes disappear. It’s about creating an impression of a smokey eye, don’t go crazy or go super dark. Blend it out to nothing at the edges too. The easiest way to do it is with your finger. Don’t try too hard. That’s the moral of makeup.”
“In terms of a red lip, if I’m doing it for work, I will spend a bit more time on it. I’d start with foundation over the lips, then I’d get the lip liner out and finish by filling it in and really balancing out the lips. That’s only because on a shoot I might create a lip and then it’s blown up to be huge in an image, and you can see EVERY little thing that’s wrong with it. In the true light of day, I wouldn’t pay quite so much attention. I might do a lip liner. The key to doing a great red lip yourself is applying colour to the bottom lip and then smacking lips together to blot colour onto the top lip (Wendy demonstrates using Lip Velvet in Bright Poppy , £22.50). It’s quick and it’s a great way to identify your lip shape, then you can follow it and fill in. You could also apply a lighter shade in the middle of the lip to make your lips look bigger. I don’t really wear red lipstick though. Do I look like The Joker? (*it looks perfect*). If I’m working backstage at a show, I’d do that and take the quick route. If you try to change your lip shape too much, or the shape of any of your features, or your body in general for that matter, you’re making things difficult for yourself.”
MM: Lastly, how can you look modern at every age?
WR: “Our makeup doesn’t cater to a particular age range, there’s no time limit on our products. I’d say the range really does mirror the Burberry trench. If you’re a young girl who’s never tried makeup, this is very easy makeup. Everyone can wear it, you can create a glow, it’s gorgeous and natural, not intimidating. That’s great if you’re a teenager or if you’re just starting out with makeup. Like the trench you have the likes of Romeo Beckham wearing it, so kids, but then you’ve also got the Queen. Everyone else fits in. If you want to be cool you can wear it in a certain way, there’s no one look, there’s no differentiation between whether you’re 16 or sixty at Burberry.”
In a beauty industry fixated by youth, that’s really quite refreshing…
What’s your take on modern beauty? Comment below or tweet me @AnnaMaryHunter
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