Written and photographed by Lais Lacher.
INTERVIEW WITH GORDON ESPINET
Tell us about the makeup you did for the Erin Barr presentation.
Erin gave me her inspiration as being a mix of Marilyn Monroe with the artist Frank Stella. At first I thought, where am I going with that theme? But obviously we are not going to do period piece makeup. The whole concept is that we wanted the girls to be effortless beauties, not women who fuss and muss. The girl who wears Erin Barr might be athletic, she might be somebody who loves the outdoors, and she has beautiful, radiant skin. She loves lipstick, and that’s the main focus. Every girl has a different lip. And one of the most important things I said to the makeup team was to respect the shape of their lips so that each girl looks like herself. We don’t want to change her. When you look at them, there is no uniformity to their look. Each girl has a signature look with her own signature lip color. She has boyish eyebrows as well. She doesn’t wear mascara, but we used a shine on her lid just to make it a little bit more “va va voom.” So when you look at the girls, it’s really all about the lip and beautiful skin. It’s really pretty and I think in the same vein of the clothes. It’s cool, it’s wearable, it’s not hard to translate to the street. It’s street makeup made for the runway.
How did you become a Fashion Week level makeup artist?
That’s kind of a funny story. I am from the Caribbean so I always loved beautiful things. I come from the south of the Caribbean, the land of carnival, so costume and beauty were always instilled in me. I am the last of 13 children and I have 7 sisters who all aspired to be drag queens. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always liked to draw and I always liked the concept of people painting their faces. I still say “paint.” I don’t say makeup because it is like painting a face.
Honestly, I was born this way. I did not grow up thinking, “What do I want to do when I grow up?” I remember my “Ah ha!” moment when I was about 12 or 13 and I was reading a magazine. I actually started to read it instead of looking at the pictures and I realized you could actually do makeup as a job. So I moved from a small town in Canada to Toronto and I had big dreams that I was going to be a makeup artist and travel the world. And now I am living my dream. MAC has helped me a lot along the way. I got in the business when MAC was still a baby so I got in at the head of the race. I have been with the company for 21 years so it is truly my home.