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Looking into the Book

The most important thing for a makeup artist, aside from their talent and their makeup kit is their portfolio.  It’s your CV and it’s your body of work. It’s your number one means of selling yourself to potential clients.  The same applies to fashion designers.  From the budding new start up entreprenures to the couture fashion houses, their Lookbooks are a vital tool in promoting new collections.

For many new designers, their “Lookbook” is a way of selling their work to buyers at large department stores and can help clinch that vital contract. They are printed to the highest quality and sent out to various places or given out at organised collection viewings. This was the case when new designer Bunmi Koko set about creating their first edition.    Even though the name speaks volumes about her heritage her designs are universal and her couture creations have thrust her into the limelight. She has won several awards and has showcased her work around the world all within a year and a half.  Not many designers can claim to have Michelle Obama as a client!

Understanding the concept behind a collection is an essential part of a makeup artists role when working on Lookbooks.  It is your job to compliment and help to create the entire “Look”.    The whole point of shoots such as these are to sell the clothes.  Unless the designs call for it to be loud, the makeup and hair should almost blend into the background.  If the clothes are more Fantasy/Gothic or very Colourful, then you have room to play with the makeup you’re using. If there’s a theme running through the shoot then you can express but again COMPLIMENT what the designer is trying to sell (it could be anything from clothing to handbags to shoes!)

Nowadays with the power of internet marketing, alot of designers create e-lookbooks.  These only appear online. The image quality of these don’t need to be as high as they aren’t being sent to print. However it is still very important that the make-up is still up to scratch, it just means that alot of the time, the face of the models won’t be so clearly seen unless zoomed in on the screen. There are a plethora of fashion websites showcasing new designers “Lookbooks” and the debate is still out as to whether alot of people are incorrectly using the term and whether they should just be termed as Promotional Shots or New Collection Images. But i’ll leave that to the fashionistas and experts to argue over, our job is making sure that the images no matter what format they’re presented in looks great!

Remember.. low quality work or out of place make-up can ruin the entire shoot.

The key to the majority of successful shoots is simplicity. Not ever shoot needs to show your creative talent, some shoots rely on your ability to create the most beautiful natural make-up. And trust me, natural make-up is one of the hardest finishes to truly pull off.  Especially under scrutiny.  Layers of make-up giving a perfect finish, while looking like the model isn’t wearing anything at all.  Now that’s difficult.

Some forward thinking designers are now creating “Fashion Films”.    Obsidian showcased their “Control” Collection both in print and film. This unique way of presenting a collection to the world ensures that not only do you see beautiful images airbrushed and ready for print/screen, but you also get to see the clothes in action, moving. Some designs need more than a photograph and they can be brought to life on film. (Obsidian’s designs would look great being shot on a hanger in a dark room though! lol)

I’ve compiled a few images from shoots we’ve done over the last year or so just as example images.  Some required very natural makeup, some allowed me to be a little bit more expressive. But I couldn’t help but throw in some images that I didn’t shoot from luxury designers and also one of my favourite designers Samantha Cole.  It’s rare that you’ll come across someone who’s very themes and designs themselves demand creative avante garde hair and makeup for their Lookbooks.  Once again, even though her heritage is 100% nigerian, her style is universal.

Don’t get me wrong. I love modern african designs, textures and colours. As long as the designer knows their target market, creates beautiful pieces and puts together a professional shoot that is all that matters. Take pride in your work and ensure it’s presented in the most professional way possible.

Long live the Lookbook.. it gives Makeup Artists paid work.. Heheh 😀

Bunmi Koko A/W 2010

Zebra Living – Mara Collection 2011

Obsidian – Control 2010

Zebra Living – Urban Dynamo 2010

Aimas – Mama’s Garden 2011

Burberry A/W 2010

Gucci Cruise S/S 2011

Samantha Cole – Warrior Collection


  1. Cant stop loving this page cos it enlighten you more & more of what u dont know bou make up. Kudos….good job. MONISOLA ADEJO.


    • Sacred Beauty says

      Thanks hun.

      IWe’ll also take that as a vote for Monisola.. lol.. even though it’s on the wrong page. 🙂



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