Isamaya Ffrench Unpacks Her “Hardcore” New Make-Up Line

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Isamaya Ffrench
Isamaya, IndustrialPhotography by Steven Klein

The make-up artist tells AnOther about her newly launched beauty brand, Isamaya, which is designed “for make-up lovers who don’t want to conform”

Isamaya Ffrench is synonymous with beauty; a tour de force working with faces from Rihanna, Björk and Cher, to brands including Louis Vuitton, Vivienne Westwood and Giambattista Valli – to name but a few.

Her influence, even for hardcore beauty fanatics outside of the realm of fashion, is undeniable. The clumpy, colourful lashes at Junya Watanabe S/S19, Euphoria-appropriate crystal adornments at Halpern’s A/W20 show, and punk black liner for Burberry’s S/S22 menswear video have all trickled down to TikTok creators and everyday make-up wearers on the street. 

At this point in the make-up artist’s career, you’d be forgiven for thinking there was little left on her creative bucket list. Yet, after stints as Burberry Beauty’s global beauty director and at Byredo Makeup as creative director, one question has remained: why doesn’t Isamaya Ffrench have a beauty brand of her own?

But that’s about the change with the launch of Isamaya, her newly launched make-up line. “All the projects I’ve worked on for the past ten years have been developed in collaboration with other brands and creatives and I’m so grateful for the experience I gained from everyone,” she tells AnOther. “I just felt the urge to start working on something personal, on a bigger scale, with total creative freedom. It’s been in the making for the last two years!”

In the midst of a market overrun with celebrity-helmed brands, Isamaya is beauty for people who love beauty – eschewing generic make-up offerings in favour of experimental, one-off releases. “When you are launching a new brand, you target new customers but you never know for sure who will take the bait, which is exciting,” Ffrench says of the brand’s strategy. “The structure of Isamaya will allow us to reach a completely different audience for every drop, as the themes and products will be different every time. Everyone should be able to find something at some point.”

The brand debuts with the fetish-infused Industrial collection – with a campaign photographed by Steven Klein – offering a peek at what we can expect to come: products that deliver creatively, all the way down to the formula. The sleek Rubberlash Latex Lift mascara contains curling agents and conditioning ingredients to keep lashes healthy, while the Skinlacq glow serum is infused with a triple hyaluronic acid complex. The packaging is equally as considered, a nude figure seemingly dipped in latex emerging from the Colour Pigments Eyeshadow palette, while other products are pierced with wearable jewellery.

“We’re fully committed to a vision in all the aspects of a collection, from the packaging design to the campaign visuals, from the choice of products developed to the language used to describe it, down to the charity we’re partnering with,” says Ffrench. “Everything has to be cohesive to create the most immersive experience.” 

With Industrial available to pre-order from today, the make-up artist is keen to see the collection in the hands of real beauty users. Much like make-up has given her the power of transformation, she hopes the debut and following collections will give others the same ability. “I would like to be creative when using the products, not really follow the ‘how to use’ [instructions], you know? Experiment with them and find out how it works best for themselves, what to pair them with, how much of it they want to use etc,” she says. 

If there’s one cardinal beauty rule for Ffrench, it’s that there are no rules, make-up is about fun, after all. “I encourage people to experiment with their choices, their style, their taste, without thinking too much … what’s the worst that could happen?” the make-up artist concludes. “You’ll be surprised to see all the things you can learn along the way.” 

Industrial by Isamaya is available to pre-order now. There will be a pop-up at 15 Bateman Street, Soho, W1D 3AQ from 1-3 July, where the products will be available to buy before they become available online on July 4.