The best things I’ve learned: London Fashion Week special

September 19th 2016 / Anna Hunter

london-fashion-week.jpg

Ever wanted to go backstage and find out what working at Fashion Week is really like? Right this way…

The backstage area at London Fashion Week can be a hectic, exciting, seriously cramped hub of creativity. It’s where the magic happens, but it’s not always as glamorous as you might assume, although you are likely to see hot to trot supermodels tucking into sausage rolls and designers conducting the action remarkably cooly. This is also the territory of the world’s most legendary makeup artists, hair stylists, nail experts and now even skincare specialists, who knuckle down and get their hands dirty like everyone else, transmitting their wisdom to a whirlwind team of assistants. Just how do they come up with the ideas to accompany a killer collection, execute their vision and keep the show on the road, both personally and professionally? We spoke to two key makeup artists and a stellar hair stylist backstage to get their tips, tricks and learnings from Fashion Weeks gone by, and to find out what what the future holds in terms of beauty and hair trends...

Cher Webb, MAC Senior Artist

cher-webb-1.jpg

The best things I've learned about.....

Switching off

Fully switching off is a rarity for me; I'm still learning it seems! I find that listening to my favourite music takes me into a different head space and also reading really helps. I switch off at car boot sales and flea markets when searching for trinkets and wondering about the history behind the treasure I've just discovered. I've recently started leaving my phone and tablet device alone for at least an hour before going to bed which is hard! And not charging it directly next to my bed at night makes a huge difference.

Failure

The only advice I can give is don't be too hard on yourself; resilience is key. I try not to give myself a hard time when something hasn't gone smoothly. I'm a perfectionist so this sometimes isn't always the case but I try!

Ageing

Ageing is the inevitable thing that happens to all of us. With age you become wiser and you know yourself better, making you stronger. Age gracefully and fully embrace it!

Money

Money may make the world go round but it certainly isn't everything.

People

'All ages, All races, All sexes' is M·A·C’s mantra and that’s what I love about the brand - that every individual is exactly that….individual.

Creativity

I feel lucky to work with creative and inspiring people every day. My job allows me to stretch my artistic capacity and I'm always learning so never feel stagnant. Creating beautiful makeup reminds me that I love my job; creativity should always be celebrated!

Confidence at work

Confidence comes with experience. I've been with M·A·C for 12 years. M·A·C throws you into all kinds of events and in the Senior Artist role you are in a different environment every day.

A working wardrobe

I have some staple pieces that I wear every fashion week which consists of black skinny jeans, a black vest, a kimono and either trainers or comfortable ankle boots. To be honest this is the same attire that I sport most days when not working but I do add some colour. I have a devoted obsession with sequins, so any excuse to get the sparkles out!

Organising myself

Organising and cleaning my kit is a critical part of my job. I'd say I'm definitely more organised at work than at home, although I could find anything at any time in my flat, no matter how messy! Organised chaos is what I like to call it. I hate being late or double booking a meet-up but it happens occasionally when you have a hectic lifestyle. I always try my best to avoid this! (hence the non-switching off).

The digital age

Social media and the Internet in general is a huge part of my job. I post on all platforms and keep up to date with what's new. The power of social media means that you have global exposure and you can reach people from any walk of life.

London Fashion Week

This will be my 11th year working at LFW and it's still something I really look forward to and seems to come around so quickly! Everything from the makeup, the styling, location, it's an experience like no other and as everything does, it has its highs and lows. I love the adrenaline and the energy you feel when backstage creating some of the most incredible makeup looks. I also look forward to working with all of the new M·A·C products that we try and test backstage.

spring17-trendpalettes-onwhite-lip-rgb300dpi-.jpg

Key product for SS17

I always look forward to seeing the new products for fashion week, especially the Trend Forecast Palette for eye and lip! The creamy textures are a delight to work with and always go down a storm backstage. I have a ‘LFW essentials’ bag which includes the following hero products: Strobe Cream, Face & Body Foundation, Blot Powder, Fix + Spray plus all the key colour staples.

Indira Schauwecker, Global Hair Ambassador for TONI&GUY Products

indira.jpg

The best things I’ve learned about…

Switching Off

I find it so hard to switch off during Fashion Week. Sometimes I wish that there literally could just be an ‘off’ button! Although having said that, a bath and a glass of wine are always a good way to wind down after a show day.

Failure

I don’t like ‘failure’ as a word. In any career there is always going to be things that go wrong, but if you work hard and have the patience you will learn and grow continuously. It’s so important to stay positive in everything that you do!

Ageing

I honestly don’t have time to think about ageing. If you think about ageing, you will age! Life is fast – enjoy it. Ageing is simply a process of life that helps you to develop as a person.

Money

As many people will say, money is not everything. I would much rather do the things that give me a sense of joy and passion, allowing me to grow creatively.

My Industry

It is so vital to work as a team. Working in the beauty industry is a constant learning curve, fashion is forever changing so you have to make sure you keep yourself up to date. I believe that you can learn from everyone, so I always remain open to taking inspiration from everything and everyone around me.

Confidence at work

You should always stay true to yourself, and make sure that you aren’t arrogant. I believe that if you are confident in your beliefs and remain honest nothing can stop you from progressing.

Organising myself

I am the worst at organising! It’s definitely something that I am still learning. I have found that when small day-to-day tasks become overwhelming, a to do list is a saviour. My top tip is to write it down- things won’t seem as bad!

indira-working-backstage.jpg

The digital age

I see the digital age as both a positive and negative thing. It’s great for quick inspiration and updating yourself on topics and trends that are relevant to you. However, I partly see it as a negative as it stops a lot of people from actually experiencing things.

Workplace politics

TONI&GUY are a family brand and this culture remains at the heart of everything that we do. I would hate it if we had any politics – we help each other and most importantly we are a team.

Trends

Leading names in British fashion are beginning to break traditional seasonal codes, trends are moving beyond symbolising identity or gender, it’s now about being able to express your individuality through style, makeup and hair. This season TONI&GUY is leading the gender fluidity trend in hair fashion, channelling and changing cultural attitudes, and all of our shows this season were inspired by this trend. We created hair looks that were more about the model’s character and personality, inspiring experimentation and individualism.

London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week is always exciting and it has such an inspiring buzz around it. It’s great to be a part of it with TONI&GUY. Not only does it allow us to treat hair as an accessory but it also inspires consumers to take cues from the runway and try out new looks.

Key product for SS17

The new TONI&GUY Party Ready Volume Lotion as it gives the hair body and lift. The conditioning ingredients smooth the hair’s surface for a super shiny, light-reflecting finish.

Sharon Dowsett, Makeup Artist with CLM Hair and Makeup

sharon-dowsett-headshot.jpg

The best things I've learned about...

Switching off

Chilling out is vital otherwise the job becomes all consuming, especially as it’s personality based. I’ve learned relaxation techniques in yoga classes which are sometimes (but not always!) helpful. Also watching the latest series on Netflix curled up on the sofa with my husband is very relaxing.

Failure

It can sometimes be viewed as success...you have to fail in order to learn, to grow. I’ve learnt so much from my mistakes that I’m thinking of making a few more!

Ageing

It happens to us all so accept it, or you won’t be happy. The bloom of youth is fleeting yet we try to hold onto it for too long and attach too much value to it, whereas wisdom and experience count for so much more. I’m actually pro-ageing rather than anti-ageing.

Money

Make sure you’ve got some emergency funds put by. Jobs get cancelled so don’t count your chickens, as my dad always advises.

People

People are individuals and should be treated as you’d wish to be treated yourself. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many diverse, amazing, talented, intelligent and sometimes famous people in the fashion industry. I just wish it was possible to stay in touch with them all.

Creativity

Creativity can be learned and inspiration found in the everyday. Although it works for some makeup artists, I don’t think the face is a canvas and always try to put beauty first. I find I’m most creative when things are going wrong; it’s amazing what can spring from a makeup mishap!

My industry

The beauty industry may appear frivolous and even trivial to outsiders but it’s taken very seriously by the people who work within it. It’s fun and fast paced but the pressure can be intense. I believe that vanity is one of the cornerstones of civilisation.

Confidence at work

Confidence is best expressed quietly, rather than as noisy arrogance. It takes time to develop self-assurance as it’s based on how much experience you have. Even when you’re not feeling confident you should try to act it, as it gives people faith in you.

A working wardrobe

It’s worth investing in your ‘look’- it saves so much time and effort. I always wear an apron to protect my clothes from makeup and provide pockets, usually teamed with a skirt and jeans, worn with boots or trainers and a jacket. Accessories are where you can update and express yourself. I love a neck scarf.

Organising myself

Organisation is key as my schedule is often erratic and I have so many small components in my kit which have to be kept clean and within their use by date. I prefer order to chaos, although a little of the latter can feed creativity.

The digital age

Technology has enabled us to connect, build communities and share beyond our terrestrial capabilities and wildest dreams, but I find it challenging to remain in the present moment with so many distractions. It’s ironic that social media has made us more unsociable in some ways.

Workplace politics

The environment is different every day because you’re working with new teams and structures, so you have to learn fast and react on your feet. It took a while for me to realise that I wasn’t in charge! I’ve grown more diplomatic with experience.

Trends

Trends are refreshing but shouldn’t be followed slavishly- pick a few that appeal and incorporate them into your own style. It’s wonderful to witness what the world’s best designers, stylists, makeup artists and hairdressers come up with when they collaborate.

London Fashion Week

LFW is a great opportunity to work with designers and their teams to create a ‘character’ for the collection. The best thing about it for me personally is working with my team of makeup artists, some of whom have supported me backstage for years, and to be introduced to new techniques and products.

Key Product for SS17

Ohh I think it might be the new Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation, £5.99- it’s such a lightweight skin enhancer.

maybelline-fit-me-matte-poreless-foundation-105-natural-ivory-30ml.jpg

Looking for more beauty industry insight? Check out our Get The Job section…

Follow Cher on Instagram @cherwebbmakeup, Indira @indiraschawy Sharon @shazmakeup and Anna @annyhunter

Post a comment

Login to add a comment

Who's Recruiting

  • Eve Kalinik
  • Talk PR
  • Percy & Reed
  • SEEN Group
  • The Bod Edit
  • Merumaya
  • Carol Hayes Management
  • Aurelia Probiotic Skincare
  • Pai Skincare
  • Medicetics
  • Pommade Divine
  • Omorovicza
  • Zelens
  • Malée Natural Science
  • Yeotown
  • Eau Thermale Avène
  • Benefit Cosmetics
  • Get The Gloss
  • PLENISH
  • The Light Salon
  • BeautyMART
  • EBWPR
  • Jax Coco
  • Birchbox
  • Macacha
Agile web development by Byte9