WARPAINT: ALEXANDER McQUEEN AND MAKE-UP

London College of Fashion

This exhibition focused on Alexander McQueen’s catwalk make-up and coincided with the major retrospective of his work, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the V&A.

This exhibition focused on Alexander McQueen’s catwalk make-up and coincided with the major retrospective of his work, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the V&A. It aimed to unravel the process and inspirations behind the collections by exploring key looks developed by McQueen’s most trusted make-up artists through three recurring themes. Amplified, where facial features are obscured and exaggerated. Deviated, where make-up goes beyond the traditional areas and covers other parts of the body and Stripped, where the look is so subtle it intensifies the meaning of the collection.

"I find beauty in the grotesque, like most artists."
Alexander McQueen

"I believe that in order to make the whole look work, you have to make sure some parts breathe life into others. A lot of the time this is achieved by way of subtracting rather than adding. There were times when I said to Lee: ‘This is too much, it looks like Dancing on Ice, let’s strip the make-up back.’ He laughed but agreed and we did it just before the girls were supposed to go on."

Peter Philip, Make-Up Artist

The exhibition also explored make-up digitally, working with digital creative studio Holition, visitors were able to try-on a few select looks in a specially created app, using Holition’s new ‘FACE’ technology. In addition, a newly commissioned projection mapping display featured make-up looks that have undergone a transformation through the duration of the catwalk presentation.

"To achieve the look for Untitled (Golden Shower, SS 98) show, I made eyelashes from feathers and shaped them to resemble bat wings and fish fins. A team that worked on the Star Wars film was applying prosthetics to models’ eyebrows, creating a very mannequin-like look. Halfway through the show, water started dripping onto the catwalk to the tune of ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’. Lee wanted the models' make-up to look 'destroyed' - to look like their mascara had run. We were running around backstage adding black tears while the show went on."

Sharon Dowsett, Make-Up Artist

Central to the exhibition space was a studio environment, which acted as the activation space for the extensive programme planned for this exhibition. It hosted masterclasses, talks and demonstrations.

Credits: Story

This exhibition focused on Alexander McQueen’s catwalk make-up and coincided with the major retrospective of his work, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the V&A. It aimed to unravel the process and inspirations behind the collections by exploring key looks developed by McQueen’s most trusted make-up artists through three recurring themes. Amplified, where facial features are obscured and exaggerated. Deviated, where make-up goes beyond the traditional areas and covers other parts of the body and Stripped, where the look is so subtle it intensifies the meaning of the collection.

The exhibition also explored make-up digitally, working with digital creative studio Holition, visitors were able to try-on a few select looks in a specially created app, using Holition’s new ‘FACE’ technology. In addition, a newly commissioned projection mapping display featured make-up looks that have undergone a transformation through the duration of the catwalk presentation.

Central to the exhibition space was a studio environment, which acted as the activation space for the extensive programme planned for this exhibition. It hosted masterclasses, talks and demonstrations.

Special thanks to Denise Redd and students of the LCF BA Hair, Make-Up and Prosthetics for Performance.

Warpaint: Alexander McQueen and Make-Up was curated by Polona Dolzan and commissioned by Ligaya Salazar.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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