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

The Bible Tells Me So

Surprisingly (especially to those who know me) I was wide awake at 2 am this morning when the news broke that Whitney Houston had died at just 48 years old.

The Twittersphere was awash with tributes to an amazing singer and I was surprised and touched to see that unlike in the US, all the top UK Twitter trends related to the fallen star.

As I reminisced over her portfolio of songs; ‘One Moment In Time’, ‘Dance With Somebody’, ‘My Love is Your Love’. – and the most powerful of power ballads – her rendition of Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ – a lump did rise in my throat as I thought about her tragic demise.

I, along with countless others in the UK had brought the single (on tape…oh yes…it was back in the day!!).  The song reigned supreme and was number 1 in the UK official top 40 for 10 triumphant weeks, setting the record for the longest run at the top by a solo female artist in the history of the British singles chart.  Houston’s single was also a massive international success, peaking at number one of the singles charts in almost all countries, selling  4,591,000 copies in the US.  The single also hit pole position for ten weeks in Australia, five weeks in Austria, seven weeks for Belgium, eight weeks in France, six weeks in Germany, eight weeks in Ireland, two weeks in Italy, six weeks in Netherlands, 11 weeks in New Zealand, nine weeks in Norway, six weeks in Sweden and  eight weeks in Switzerland (thanks Wikipedia!).

On the B-side of the single was this song.

Take a listen – it speaks for itself.

Irrespective of what happens in this life, we are loved.