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Aaron De Mey

Make-up artist Aaron 
De Mey is arguably the most successful name in fashion and beauty to emerge from New Zealand. Born in the North Island and now a big name in New York, De Mey was recently appointed artistic make-up director for beauty brand Lancôme Paris 
– a testament to his glittering presence 
on the global fashion stage.

Looking back, De Mey’s journey 
from Tauranga, on the North Island, to New York Fashion Week and beyond has been punctuated with many notable milestones and names.

Past clients and colleagues include photographers Bruce Weber, Patrick Demarchelier, Mario Sorrenti, Craig McDean, Arthur Elgort, Steven Klein and Peter Lindbergh; models Kate Moss, Gisele Bündchen and Naomi Campbell; designers Miuccia Prada and Hedi Slimane; stylist Edward Enninful; and editor-in-chief of the French edition of Vogue, Carine Roitfeld.

De Mey’s creative journey began when he was a student at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design in Auckland. He embraced a love of painting, and this passion became integral to his work as a make-up artist. In the mid-90s, De Mey began working within the embryonic New Zealand fashion industry.

“All the good stylists and make-up artists in New Zealand tended to work in film or on television shows,” De Mey says.

However, he credits the diversity of that fledgling local industry as an ideal foundation for the years he spent overseas: “Working on music videos, editorial shoots with people such as Prime Minister Helen Clark for the cover of NZ Style, and fashion editorials for magazines such as Pavement was invaluable. Those diverse experiences in make-up prepared me for the competitive fashion industries in New York and Paris.”

Having achieved as much as he felt 
he could in New Zealand, in 1997 De Mey left for New York, aiming to specialise in high fashion. Friend and model Trish Goff soon introduced De Mey to make-up magnate François Nars, which led to his appointment on Nars’ make-up team 
for the New York Fashion Week shows.

It was De Mey’s launch onto the international stage.

Nars, who had just released his eponymous make-up brand and was at the top of his game, introduced De Mey to award-winning stylist Patti Wilson, who, in turn, brought him to the attention of Edward Enninful, fashion director of i-D magazine.

That fateful meeting resulted in De Mey’s big break as make-up artist for the December 1997 cover of i-D, which featured Naomi Campbell.

Within two years of arriving in the US, De Mey had become a highly regarded fashion editorial make-up artist and had garnered considerable runway experience as part of the Nars team.

Fashion label Comme des Garçons soon came knocking, intrigued by 
De Mey’s original ideas and obvious 
skill. The Comme des Garçons Fall 2000 
Ready To Wear Collection show became another career landmark for the young New Zealander.

De Mey’s ability to reference, conceptualise and design a look is perhaps his greatest strength and it has led to nearly a decade of outstanding symbiotic collaborations.

His latest, with Lancôme Paris, could be his greatest yet. De Mey sees his role as building upon the existing class and strength of the already formidable brand.

“I want to push the teams [and] implement new techniques and ways to apply make-up,” he says. 
“I hope to excite everybody at Lancôme and everybody who loves the brand.”

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Candy colour make-up

Colour is in the air. As the weather becomes warmer and the fashions brighter, the make-up palette is beginning to resemble a candy store.

While winter brought us sophisticated glamour with a dark, almost monochromatic palette of charcoals, browns, plums and scarlet red, the pendulum has swung towards bright colours that remind us of childhood.

This spring, it’s all about adorning your face with fluorescent pastels – pinks, blues, yellows, greens and violets – and a touch of iridescence. Though bright make-up is potentially disastrous, if applied correctly it can look radiant and fresh, feminine and playful.

“What I like about this season’s look is that colour isn’t reserved for one part of the face but can be used wherever you choose – on your eyes, cheeks or lips. You can take it as far as you like or keep it simple,” says make-up artist Stefan Knight.

SKIN

Natural beauty is the overriding trend this season, so achieve a soft, polished look with matt foundations and powders; save the shine for your eyes and lips.

If you want to add a touch of shimmer to your face, LancÔme National Make-Up Artist Petra Rijnbeek recommends using illuminators “under and around the eye area, keeping the cheekbone high”, to help contour your face and brighten your complexion.

Dust your face with a matt bronzer for a touch of colour.

EYES

Colourful eye shadows are all the rage this spring. Drench your eyelids in soft, pearly pinks, violets, blues, greens, yellows and apricot. Apply more than one colour to your eyelids for a multicoloured effect.

“If you’re not bold enough to wear more than one shade, a great look this spring is achieved by applying a wash of bright colour over the whole eyelid and then coating the lashes with lots of black mascara,” Knight says.

If you like the smoky-eye or cat-eye looks, you can still wear them; just replace your usual subtle shades with fresh seasonal colours. The inside corners of the eyes and along the nose are hot spots for shimmer this season.

CHEEKS

Though the focus is normally on the eyes or lips, flushed cheeks are one of the loveliest trends this spring, making skin look fresh, alive and healthy. If you have fair skin, choose peachy or light, cool pinks; for a medium skin tone, use rose pinks; for olive skin, try coral pinks; and for dark skin, try bright berry pinks.

Any of those hues will complement even the boldest eye or lip colours, so don’t be afraid to apply cheek colour generously.

LIPS

Candy-coloured lips in orange, pink, violet, coral and fuchsia mimic the myriad colours on the spring/summer runways.

Bright lips can be achieved with lip gloss or lipstick, but if the texture is matt, add a touch of shine or shimmer to give the illusion of volume.

The trend is for lip glosses that are rich in colour yet are like Perspex, glass or boiled lollies, says Rijnbeek, so you can see through them, as opposed to dense, opaque make-up.

You can also get away with nude lips this spring, provided the eyes and cheeks are bold with colour.

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