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

6 comments for “Face Value

  1. February 23, 2012 at 3:12 am

    I must have been gone from London a long time, because I really though Kevin’s product had hit the UK ages ago. Absolutely great product plus beautiful packaging I’ve bee using bits & pieces for awhile. I’ve also had the book for years. Lovely post and pics.

    • beautypulselondon
      February 23, 2012 at 9:42 am

      I believe that it was going to be launched just before his untimely death… It seems like things were put on hold because of this!

      The packaging does look amazing! Glad it is available in the UK at last.

  2. February 23, 2012 at 10:08 am

    He truly was marvellous at his craft. I’m so glad his collection is now available in the UK. Gives us a chance to indulge in his fantasy world.

    • beautypulselondon
      February 23, 2012 at 10:11 am

      I have had the book for over 12 years and it still has pride of place on my coffee table! His ability to transform was truely spectular!

  3. January 21, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    It’s such a shame he died so young. Do you know if he created the Bardot look for Janet in *Love will never do?

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