Posted in The Magic

Tamara de Lempicka

Tamara is a painter, but since she is a self-made woman, I let her join my little pantheon of Vogue Showgirls. If anything, she obviously used her own face for many of the paintings. And if she was around today, I’m pretty sure she would be doing self-portraits. After all, instagram is the new miniature painting gallery. I decided to work the characters that appear in the works, as well as on the artist. Her Love of contrasting colours, bold shapes and renaissance colours made her 1930-1940 paintings on par with the great Dali. Notice how intimidated he is by this worldly woman! Editing was to remove some of my scars, but I left behind some eyebags, they look good with this style.

My Character Study for Tamara de Lempicka, set in 1939. I adapted the makeup to my face. To represent the in-between of 30s and 40s I used 40s hair with 30s brows.
Posted in The Look

Joan Crawford

She’s officially part of the Showgirls, but she has a special place in my heart as the extravagantly dramatic Dame, with undeniable glamour. Although, there were plenty of ballsy women in Golden Hollywood, Joan had her own unique brand of quirky abrasiveness, mixed in with her iconic looks. Self-portraits were edited to remove acne scars.

I love this clip where Joan does a self-parody of herself in a now forgotten Hollywood fluff film for flavour-of-the-day Hollywood stars. One wonders, if like they did for Marilyn, did the audience become addicted to a personality trait, that she then had to keep marketing: that of the easily angered woman. Was she, or wasn’t she? It doesn’t matter, she took it to the next level; a sort of burlesque of anger. These kinds of emotional turn-arounds would later inspire drag queens and theatre actors alike. Is it camp? Perhaps, it’s really good acting! Good ole entertainment! That’s why she’s delicious… You can’t tell!

The Joan tantrum, making femme anger glamorous.

Her career as JOAN (insert drag queen sneer), a packaged version of her own self, would start in the 1940s at the then, ripe age, of 35. Crawford embodied the fashions of the 40s and 50s with her looks and her personality. The famous Hollywood designer, Adrian, did make all those outfits with shoulder pads just for Joan. To suit her square shoulders, and then, it just happened to become popular! Her looks even inspired Blade Runner’s Rachel. One of the few actresses who’s body of work spans all of her adult life, and who has many cult films under her belt. Joan always gave her fans what they wanted, she knew JOAN existed for them. But through her filmography you can see her work as a great actress in Baby Jane, or playing a desperate woman in Strange Cargo, opposite Clark Gable.

For the top picture, I decided to set this character in 1944. Joan doesn’t have any colour movies or promos at this time in her career. Technicolor did exist but it was reserved for Musical Movies, not Dramatic Films. I wanted to imagine a colour palette for a movie where she would dance and sing. For the makeup, I used two amazing pink lipsticks from Lisa Eldridge, Skyscraper Rose and Velvet Carnival. She did seem to have auburn hair at the time, so I kept the eye makeup in line with the hair colour. With the photography, I worked on the idea of Technicolor movies and colorized images, a sort of acid, but bubble gum aesthetic.

The picture below, was pure luck, as the sun came in briefly as a ray of light during this winter solstice period. I took the opportunity to snap this picture. I wasn’t sure if I could render the caracter of Rachel from Blade Runner, but the Hollywood spirit was on my side.

All clothes are vintage finds.

Posted in The Journey, The Look

Vogue Showgirls

To celebrate 6 months of self-portraits, and to make it to Xmas, I’m working on my Showgirls! A tribute to two of my favourite inspirations: Fashion Magazines and Music Hall entertainers. If you want to find out more about what I learned. Self-portraits are edited to remove my acne scars. All clothes are vintage and were bought from a local thrift organization.

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Posted in The Look

Uma Has The umami

It’s sort of ironic that Uma’s most striking image is that of a coke-ed up 90’s poster child, Mia Wallace. But to me, the more inspiring Kill Bill character, was what I really wanted to channel in this iteration. So I decided to combine both into this single shoot. I started out mimicking the famous film poster, and it sort of felt flat. That’s usually the issue when you try to copy something,.. you can’t always get the same flavour. It’s always better to put your own twist. So I put on “fake blood” (lipstick, actually ) and tried not to look so pretty. Who knew that not trying to look pretty is quite fierce! Images are self-portraits, editing was done to hide my acne scarring.

The pretty Uma. Shirt by Arch The, Necklace by Harakiri, vintage coat.

More than once people I meet tell me I look like Uma Thurman. It’s always annoying that you look like someone else, and not yourself. But for these series of self-portraits I’m going to confess: I’m not mad. I’ve been going through some personal issues, and it felt good to exorcise it in these images. When I was selecting the images, I felt that maybe the head on shot was too much, but I’m liking it more and more. There is something to be said about giving yourself permission to feel wounded and angry, yet triumphant!

Products used: RCMA 11 palette, K V D Contour palette on face and eyes. MAC brow Duos in Red Head and Brunette. Kevyn Aucoin lip pencil in Medium. Sephora Lip Stories in Yum Yum.

Posted in The Look

Queen of Hearts

The fascination with Diana Spencer was always an instant affair for the public. As I was trying to figure out what she could be thinking of, while “posing” (there is no better term). I realized that Diana never posed. She couldn’t help but to be as transparent as water, as natural as a wild doe. The golden prison has always fascinated people. How could one be unhappy when one has all the things in the world? The truth is Diana wanted the most precious thing in the world, to find herself. She wanted to be free to help out people who were in need. In honour of her, I made a donation to the Crisis in Yemen. If you’re comfortable enough, you can also make a contribution to a charity of your own.
Pictures are self-Portraits

Posted in The Look

Wrap It in Love

I’ve been wanting to do a sixties makeup, but I’m bored of directly quoting decades. I’ve decided to mix the 60s and 80s. My inspo is my favorite cover idea of the 60s: wrapping outlandish fabric around a face. It seems to always work wonders!
Pictures are self-portraits edited by me to remove acne scarring.

The inspiration Vogue US March 1965
Posted in The Magic

Mr. Lutens & Me

One of my teen idols was Monsieur Lutens. In an age where there was no digital retouching, only airbrushing, and no screen to see how it’s turning out to be. Waiting for the proofs to arrive! You have no idea! The quality and level of his images for Shiseido are still unparalleled, even in our digital age. Reflecting the Sarah Moons and BIBA of the seventies, he took that language into the 80s and reinvented it with Japanese beauty in mind. Add some art deco aesthetics that were trendy in the 80s, and some of his own inspiration (Dovima, I suspect). His women are enigmatic, like sphinxes, or modern Geishas. Perhaps even silent movie stars. I took a spin at the aesthetic language and as they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery! Thank you for your wonderful Legacy Monsieur Lutens.
Images are self-portrait, the skin was edited to remove my acne scarring.

I added my own inspirations to the mix, Russian film posters, Japanese Kabuki makeup and some tuxedo realness, with a touch of boyishness…is that you Marlena?
Ring is Vintage Saint Laurent. Suit and bow tie are vintage finds.
Posted in The Look

I See Your Halo

The baddest, coolest women I know sport a big halo of tight, curly hair. These pictures are an homage to their big hair, and big personalities. Pictures are self portraits, edited by me.

There is something about a big mass of curly hair, that forces their owners to own it. You won’t go unnoticed. You’re the crowned queen with your curls. And you might have to defend your aura, without even knowing it.

I love the golden effect of this synthetic wig! It did need to work to loosen the curl to a believable tightness for my features. I’ve been toying with this look for a few months. With the blue lenses and the freckles, I become unrecognizable.

Eye shadows from the Blueberry Muffin palette. Blush from the Truffle Blush collection in Chocolate Marshmallow.

Posted in The Look

The Buddha & The Madonna

Life is a journey, perhaps to find the gold that we carry in our hearts. I was cleaning, and out of nowhere, I had a vision of the Buddha, in a golden light. It inspired me to create these images.
Images are self-portraits, retouching by me.

As the New Moon and Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, were approaching. This idea was the perfect foil to look at the symbolism and iconography of light/gilded/gold in art. After looking at witches, I felt it was time to explore the iconography of Mary, or The Madonna (and child). If Buddha is always depicted with his eyes closed, looking within. Mary, The Mother, looks at us, but with an inner knowing. Both, hint at the illusion around us. Luckily for me, Hollywood is built on the trick of the light.

Of course, I had to put a touch of fashion, through the ethereal, yet very sensual beauty of Jerry Hall. Her long waves of golden hair are heavenly, if not downright divine! This was the perfect occasion to quote this icon of beauty and style. The pictorial focus was on the idea of gold as a symbol of inner light, but also illusion. Looking at Icon paintings of The Madonna, I love how the use of gold makes these paintings come alive. Which led to the decision to do a monochromatic effect.

As you can see I added some light effects with photoshop.
I’d like to thank a friend who’s always been an inspiration. There is some of her in these images, she also has long, luscious hair.

I used Graftobian gold body paint on the body, as well on the cheeks (to contour), and on the lips to add a golden sheen. On eyes, Charlotte Tilbury eye shadows, that look good on mature lids. And guess what? Experience is sexy. You don’t always need to overload the eyes with black. Sometimes a monochrome look is easier on the eye(s)!

Posted in The Journey

The Other Eye

Did I ever say I prefer a No-Makeup makeup look? I take it all back! Give me a Full Beat, because it’s fun to dress up! Introducing, my “cousin” Ornella Bilinski.

Photography & retouching by Cesar Ochoa.
See more of Cesar’s work on his >>website here<<
Makeup & hair by me.

A new character
Ornella, I call her. She’s an Italian soap opera diva. She’s based on several Italian actresses, and singers, as well as a touch of French diva, Dalida. I wanted an old-school glamour makeup of the late 60s. Black eyeshadow to frame the eyes, pink blusher, neutral lips. There isn’t much out there besides, the now predictable, no-makeup makeup for more mature faces. If I’m going to put my face out there, I might as well inspire!

Confessions of a selfie addict
I was getting comfortable with the Canon app that helps you make selfies! I have to confess: I’m also feeling very controlling of my image. It’s become my baby: I’ve been fostering it, nurturing my “Camera Face“. Because it’s become a separate thing! There is everyday, and then, there is this face, you see. It’s my creation!

So it was at once terrible and exciting, when my friend Cesar asked if he could take a picture of “me”. I had to explain that these were not pictures of me, but pictures of characters I created. But it’s hard to explain this to people when they know you personally.

Another eye, another face
Am I happy? Yes!! It’s a different face: as I suspected. But I’m happy with the editing that Cesar did: my skin is mature and it’s acne scarred and you can see it. The character itself turned out to be believable enough that it stood apart on it’s own. If you also factor that we were a team of two, and I didn’t get to see the images during the shoot–and Cesar didn’t shoot with a monitor– it’s a great feat!

The good news: Cesar loved photographing a character and he wants to try his hand at it once more to get the hang of it.

To be continued….