Illamasqua is a brand that I only recently became familiar with at the launch of their Theater Of The Nameless collection. Since acquainting myself with the brand I’ve become completely enamored with all things Illamasqua-related. From the colors, to the long wear of the products, and the various textures of the makeup, this is a brand with a fabulous message of self-expression. When I had the opportunity to talk to their head of product development, David Horne, I jumped at the chance to get inside the mind of a creative genius. Our conversation was everything I could have imagined and then some. I’ve had to condense a lot of what we talked about because I could’ve talked his ear off all day… but here are some fun and inspirational tidbits!
I asked David what his inspiration for designing new collections is, because I don’t feel like he’s necessarily a trend-follower:
"Illamasqua are not trend followers but on the same note we're not anti-trend. I think there's an arrogance that goes with being anti-trend. I think what we celebrate is people who want to be self expressionists. And I think that's the essence of what illamasqua is about. It's a case of contradicting the normal. Just risk it.
If you came up with a catch phrase for the brand I think it would be "Illamasqua. Why not?". I think that's where children are brilliant because they have no self-imposed boundaries. Children just pick up pigment and slap it on the walls or on the face. It's the same thing here. As you get maturer you start imposing your boundaries. And illamasqua is about trying to bring back that childlike quality of just playing with pigments and just risking it. What's the worst that could happen? If it’s hideous, wash it off. It's not like you're committing to a life sentence. I think if you keep that spirit of challenging yourself I think there's a joie de vivre that comes through.
You have to keep challenging yourself and that's what we're doing with makeup. Trying to provoke change. We try to be catalysts for question marks."
David on the state of the beauty industry today:
“I think now in 2012 people have seen everything and there's an element of such positive jaded behavior and they’re not just buying into anything you tell them. And I think maybe that heralds the start to change. Where people will say ‘well, I've got nothing to lose. My opinion is as valid as anybody else’s. In which case im going to listen to my opinion and I'm going to enjoy wearing it’. It's a definite current of change. Look at all the nail art out there, it's a true reflection of people's bravery with color. It will take time to move from the hands, up the arms, to the necklace… and then suddenly people will do risky lipsticks and risky lipglosses. It's inevitable that it will move to the face it just takes more time.”
I asked David what is the best product to try from Illamasqua if a person is not familiar with the brand:
"Nail varnish. Whenever someone asks what illamasqua product they should, try first I always say ‘nail varnish’. It's an amazing product. It's an easy way into color. And I think onces they've found a nail varnish and they fall in love with it they start that ladder of feeling confident. They say ‘what's my next color that I want to look for?’. And I think the cream pigments are the next step and a lovely way to discover color that's not scary. Pastel is easy to wear. Cream is easy to apply."
"Hollow is my favorite thing ever. I'll tell you the story about this. I created this because I wanted to knock out the color of my eyelids. It's really important to have a non-color. So it started off that way. And I love the film sleep hollow so that was kind of my homage to sleepy hollow. And if you press that under you cheekbones, it creates that perfect hollow effect.
I think the whole route to everything is discovering your own face. Discovering the freedom you'll have if you learn how to navigate that. What amazes me is so many women have makeup and they don't know how to use it”.
On educating yourself with makeup (at places like Sephora in particular):
“Look at Marlena Dietrich. She was a better expert at lighting than most of the photographers that filmed her. She took the time to learn, to stand in front of the mirror, play around with lights that work with her bone structure. And there were no accidents. Every time she was photographed she looked perfect. She learned how to master it. She was a self-professed expert. She took the initiative. So where you have retail services and retail education, if you’re a woman out there and you are not taking advantage of it you're really missing out on a treat for yourself and your self esteem. Because your self-esteem WILL be boosted if you know how to do your makeup. I've always been fascinated with that psychological value of makeup. How your self esteem is linked to how you express yourself. I think makeup's got an amazing healing ability when it comes to people's self esteem and I think we've got a responsibility as a brand to bring education of how to do that to the retail sector.
The thing I always say to women is ‘My God how much do you spend on those shoes?’ How long do you look at them? And look at your face. It's in eye contact with most people. They're not looking at your shoes for more than 30 seconds. You're spending hundreds of dollars on shoes and you're not investing in making sure that your makeup is sending out the message that you want.”