MAC Cosmetics was founded in 1984 by partners in life and work Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo, a make-up artist and photographer, and salon owner respectively. The early days of the beauty company, which originated from the pair’s frustration over the lacklustre colour spectrum of professional make-up, were humble; Toskan and Angelo brewed their own formulations at home in their kitchen in Toronto, selling the resulting concoctions from the premises of their hairdressing business.
33 years on and MAC dominates the beauty industry, having brought to life a niche corner of the market which is ambitious both in its aesthetic and its ethics. MAC stands for artistry and individuality; creative communities – particularly drag performers such as RuPaul Charles, who fronted the first Viva Glam campaign in a red PVC bustier the shade of the namesake lipstick bullet – have long been drawn by its message, be that the launch of the MAC Aids fund or anti-animal testing campaigns, proving that the purchase and application of cosmetics can be, and is, a political statement.
Such grassroots beginnings and politically motivated sensibilities are mirrored in the work of Vivienne Westwood, who began her fashion empire in a small boutique situated on 430 Kings Road. Once known as Let it Rock, the now famous World’s End is symbolic of Westwood’s ethos: “Buy less – Choose well – Make it last!” British fashion’s grande dame is renowned for her staunch disregard for the status quo and environmental activism; so indeed, a partnership with MAC is an obvious choice. The two businesses first aligned in 2007, and to this day MAC’s products have been deftly applied to the faces of Westwood runway models and campaign stars by the fingertips of the world’s most revered make-up artists. In celebration of this momentous anniversary, we recall six MAC-executed beauty looks from Vivienne Westwood shows gone by.
1. Vivienne Westwood Gold Label Autumn/Winter 2009 (above)
Pep Gay designed a make-up look befitting long-time Westwood muse Pamela Anderson, who walked in the show dressed in an elongated tutu for A/W09. Channelling the beauty of a 1990s pin-up girl, skin was a kept to a clean, matte finish using Select Cover-Up foundation, while the apples of cheeks were tinted with a mid-toned Cream Colour Base and finished with Pinch Me and Pink Swoon Sheertone and Powder Blushes. Eyes smouldered in Liquid Eye Liner in Boot Black – and naturally, lips were lined with an earthy pencil one shade too dark.
2. Vivienne Westwood Gold Label Spring/Summer 2012
For S/S12, Val Garland took inspiration from decaying oil paintings. “The corsets we chose to oversize are from the England of Charles II. Those beauties who in their portraits dressed themselves in the sheets and satin covers pulled from the bed,” said Westwood of the clothes. The iconic Face and Body Foundation in white was used to create a cadaver-like complexion and buffed into the skin, with an apricot-toned blush applied to cheeks. This shade was reflected in the eye make-up, where Longwear Paint Pot in Ochre and Pigment in Old Gold merged with yellow and orange eyeshadow. A wine-toned pencil, suitably named Vino, was used to outline the lips, whilst high points of the mouth were highlighted using more of the concentrated pigment.
3. Vivienne Westwood Gold Label Autumn/Winter 2012
A painterly theme continued into A/W12, for which the celestial works of Carravaggio influenced the make-up look. Mini-crinis and corsetry, alongside highway-woman coats and theatrical silhouttes, formed the basis of the collection. The base was flawless and creamy, with Studio Sculpt foundation buffed into the skin and a Cream Colour Base highlighter in Shell giving the high points of the face and the jawline an ethereal luminosity. For eyes, Copper Walnut Sculpting Cream was blended into the sockets up to the brows, whilst the inner rims were smudged with kohl. Mahogany lips were set with Prep and Prime finishing powder – but first, the centre of the mouth was smudged with Sculpting Cream to create an ombre effect.
4. Vivienne Westwood Red Label Autumn/Winter 2013
The graphic make-up look for Red Label A/W13 was created using Face and Body in white for pale skin tones, with deeper complexions left entirely bare. Inspired by fashion illustrations and the work of Helmut Newton, the models wore jacquard animal prints on coats, prom dresses and jackets. The equally graphic eye was formed from a mixture of Acrylic Paint and Chromaline, a black creme liner creating an angular shape. Primary Chromaline colours were added at the points of the eye where a natural highlight might fall, in Basic Red, Primary Yellow and Cyan.
5. Vivienne Westwood Gold Label Spring/Summer 2014
Gold Label S/S14 was all about protest, with Westwood’s warriors eschewing the rules and rolling through dirt in their finery, including pairs of signature platforms elevating the models to statuesque heights. Brows were kept fluffy, and lips were conditioned, blotted and buffed with Raisin blusher to create a peachy pout. Imperfect areas on the face were warmed up, leaving a veil of colour over the forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. The final touch was a muddy, watered-down mixture of Acrylic Paint splattered across faces and daubed on limbs.
6. Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood Spring/Summer 2017
For S/S17 Val Garland created a make-up look formed from smudges. Retro Matte Liquid Lipstick in the shade Feels So Grand was smeared on lips in a manner that suggested models had been rolling around in the same hay that some of the clothes were crafted from. Skin was well nourished, giving a post-coital glow, and brows were disheveled. Paint Sticks in various shades were mixed to create a pastel hue applied under the brows, and fixed with a complimentary eyeshadow. Black Creme Liner formed a rectangular frame for eyes.