Face Value

I found out today (via Twitter of course!) that the product line created by iconic American makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin (who passed away 10 years ago), has been launched in the UK for the first time and is now available at the mecca of premium beauty that is Space NK. This was heartening news because I have had a deep admiration for Aucoin and his handiwork – which is nothing short of spectacular – for a number of years, after purchasing his bestselling book, Face Forward.   Even at first glance, the cover demonstrates Aucoin’s approach to beauty as he morphs a black and white woman into one incredible portrait.  I was awed by his sheer talent; there is no denying that this man has a gift.  His ability to transform was simply breathtaking and page after page of the book pays homage to the artisan that he was. From the onset of his career he has been a champion of beauty for all women, all ages, all races and at the age of 32, Aucoin launched a revolutionary line of makeup whilst he was the Creative Director at Revlon.  It was 1993.   The New Nakeds (later renamed The Nakeds) was a groundbreaking line that was a strong counterpoint to cosmetics available at the time.   The editor of Allure magazine says of the line: “It may not seem like it now, but it was a powerful moment. Before, there were makeup lines for white women and others for black women. But he worked to design makeup for all skin tones. The idea was to empower a woman by revealing her natural beauty, and not to cover her up with layers of product.” Kevyn went on to create his own line in 2001. He worked with many leading black female celebrities including Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, Grace Jones, Naomi Campbell, Mary J Blige and the late Whitney Houston

Kevyn and Janet Jackson. Photograph by Jean-Baptiste Mondino. Published in Vogue,January 1996.

Here are some images of his creations.

Kevyn Aucoin 1962 – 2002

Tina Turner as Cleopatra (Face Forward, 2000)

Naomi Campbell for Allure magazine (1991)

Aucoin gives Janet Jackson a golden glow for the cover of 5th album, Janet, shot by Patrick Demarchelier (1993).

Janet and Michael Jackson. Scream video. 1995.

Whitney Houston in Bazaar. Kevyn Aucoin was a genius, way ahead of his time both in terms of his makeup techniques for black women, and for pioneering nude makeup - this shot is from 1989. Shot by Bob Frame.

Jenny from the block - all fresh faced for launch of debut album

Advertisements