Interview with MAC Cosmetics makeup artists Diane Kendal, James Kaliardos, Kabuki Magic

MAC Masters Of The Art

MAC Cosmetics has teamed up with three of the world’s biggest beauty gurus to create Makeup Masters, three capsule collections that represent their vast experience, creativity and artistry.
Reading time 7 minutes
James Kaliardos

This multi-hyphenate is known for bringing chic glamour and minimalism to his many celebrity clients (the likes of Madonna and Beyoncé) and the pages of many international fashion titles including Visionaire, V Man and V Magazine which he founded.

You wear many hats as founder of Visionaire, working in art and fashion. Do you play favourites?

I love theatre and I have Visionaire. Theatre is more character building through an emotional medium. It’s still all about storytelling – that’s what’s interesting to me. The story with makeup is “Who is she? Who is this woman?” A lot of women don’t make a decision about who they are and everything looks the same. It’s often about “I don’t want”, instead of “I want to look this way”. Makeup is artistry and every woman gets to tap into that creativity whenever she feels it. It’s about the character and the story and those mediums feed that storytelling.

What inspired your collection for MAC?

It’s a collection of my favourite products that I use every day. It’s an edited kit of mine that I’m bringing to the public. It’s my basic look that can be pumped up or taken down. I wanted to create a fundamental, edited kit for all kinds of women, using products that I apply everyday on every client. I want her makeup to be easy, chic and expensive looking. This project let me go back into my personal MAC archive and beyond – tweaking shades to suit a modern woman of any skin colour.

And what are some of your MAC favourite products?

My favourite all time products are the Cream Colour Base in Pearl, 213 Eye Shadow Brush, Eye Shadow in Omega (for the crease), and Eye Brows in Fling.

How does your collection reflect your style as a makeup artist?

I feel like I make people look expensive through the quality of skin and the textures I use. The look that gets emphasised is polished and expensive without looking too cosmetic. I’m not obsessed with cosmetics; I’m obsessed with what you can do with them, and using them as a tool to empower women.

From left to right:
Into the Well eyeshadows in Matte Galena and Midnight Tryst; Pressed Pigments in Light Touch and Black Grape; Haute and Naughty mascara in Too Black Lash; Lipsticks in Coral Bliss, Almondine, Bloodstone and Jasper; Tri Colour Lip Glass in Stratogloss Opalite and Stratogloss Pyrite; No.50 Eyelashes; Face Kit in Moons of Saturn and Moons of Jupiter; 246 and 178 brush. 

Diane Kendal

The British-born makeup artist has worked on cosmetic lines like Marc Jacobs, Yves Saint Laurent and Tom Ford, and painted faces for countless spreads since moving to New York in the 1990s.

What inspired the colours in your capsule collection?

Growing up in the 1970s, it was all about Biba and Mary Quant. It led me to the products and colours I chose to capture that influence. I was always fascinated by how you could transform yourself with makeup and special effects.

How did you get started doing makeup in fashion?

I went to the London College of Fashion to study special effects and I met people doing fashion design. That’s when I discovered that being a makeup artist for fashion designers’ shows and photo shoots was actually a thing. It was very different then. Lots of go-sees, tests and getting your portfolio in front of the right people at the right time.

What’s your relationship with makeup?

Makeup gives women the power to create a character if they choose to. It can be transformative or subtle. Makeup can be very powerful!

Who do you love doing makeup on most?

I love doing makeup on my daughter, Em, because it’s inspiring to be around a young woman who is just entering her life as an adult. She’s a natural beauty who still allows herself to have fun with makeup.

What are your hero products from MAC?

I love the Blot Powders because they work on everyone. And I always use the powder blushes. I love working with creams because they are moveable and buildable. They’re a great base to put a powder on top of. The MAC palettes are very playful and allow you to have fun. You could go for a big look or you can go for a more subdued and sophisticated day look. These palettes have you covered.

From left to right:
Glamourize Me cream shadow palette; Flighty Opulash mascara; Kajals in Flourish Me Vibrant, Flourish Me Bold, Flourish Me Beautiful, Flourish Me Deep; Enhance Me lip and cheek palette; Cover Me conceal and correct palette; Studio Quik Trik Sticks in Radiance Shadow and Sheen Smoldering; 230 brush. 

Kabuki Magic

Before becoming a maestro of makeup, Kabuki was an accomplished artist, textile designer and daring dresser. His love of unique fashion and makeup in the New York club scene caught the eyes of ierry Mugler and stylist Patricia Field, who tasked him to establish the makeup looks on Sex and the City.

Does your collection for MAC reflect your personality?

The collection, like my attitude, is aspirational and fun. A mix of simple and natural looks but also more fun and artsy looks. I wanted it to be all things to all people.

What’s in your Makeup Master collection?

I wanted the collection to be frivolous and fun and to take my approach of doing makeup and put it in a precise kit. There are some new formulas and some existing ones. I have a very particular brush I use for all of my detailed blending around the eye and I couldn’t find an equivalent anywhere. I was lucky that we started early because it took a few times to get it right, but we did. The High Precision 218SE and Small Duo Fibre 283SE brushes give control to blend. No one had that brush and I needed it to get a specific effect.

What was the process like working with MAC?

MAC made it clear to not hold back on my wish list and that it should truly represent my kit favourites. The blush, sculpting compact and eyeshadow palette are tried and true basics that I use all the time. There were formulas that I loved like the Eye Paints and I wanted more colours. The hard part was leaving things out because there’s only so much shelf space.

You have a very refined approach to using bold colours...

I love to use the three bright paints in my collection for everyday wear and backstage. I use these all the time. The thing I love about paint is that you can mix them and I wanted colours that you can play with. Adding white to any of them creates a whole new colour!

What is it about beauty that keeps you excited and creative?

When I was a teenager it was the early 1980’s and gender-bending/Bowie was coming about. Makeup was part of the pop culture – Annie Lennox, Madonna, Grace Jones – it was cool and I was into wearing it. It was fun to push the boundaries and it developed from there.

From left to right:
The Shining Hour palette; The Best of Everything palette; Crystal Glass in Ice Follies and It's a Great Feeling; Paints in Holy Holy, Win, Cracked and Overnight Sensation; No.51 lashes; Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Sweet Thing, This Modern Age, Flamingo Road and Fallen Angel; Today We Live blush and contour duo; 218 and 283 brushes. 

This article first appeared in the February 2017 issue of L'OFFICIEL Singapore (out now on newsstands and Magzter).

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