Purple Magazine
— F/W 2010 issue 14

Aaron de Mey

Portrait by Rachel Chandler

interview and portrait by RACHEL CHANDLER


One of purple’s favorite make-up artists, Aaron de Mey, explains how he went from New Zealand to global fashion notoriety.

RACHEL CHANDLER — You’re from New Zealand. Did you study make-up there?
AARON DE MEY — There wasn’t anything like a beauty school in New Zealand. That’s how I ended up in art school and then hairdressing school. My boyfriend Dean and I came to New York at the end of ’98 with no expectations, except taking a holiday and maybe work and seeing what could happen. When we arrived, François Nars was ending his career doing make-up. He was still doing Marc Jacobs and Anna Sui. I showed him a scrapbook with ten favorite pictures of make-up I’d done in New Zealand. He immediately took me to assist him on the shows that season, which started the second week
I got to New York. It was kind of shocking, especially Marc’s show and Anna’s show, which were so highly produced, with all the top girls like Naomi Campbell and Amber Valletta. The following week Naomi was doing an i-D cover and François asked me to do it for him. He said if it went well he’d take me on at his agency. It was like being thrown in the deep end of the pool.

RACHEL CHANDLER — Your technique is very painterly and you’ve worked with people ranging in age from 20 to 60. How do you approach different faces?
AARON DE MEY — One of the advantages in coming from New Zealand is that there weren’t a lot of amazing models there. We did music videos and television commercials, and sometimes the people really had to be made over. That taught me how to transform a face. So when I got to America working with models was really easy.

RACHEL CHANDLER — Because they’re so beautiful?
AARON DE MEY — You could really do no wrong. Doing make-up or styling brings you in contact with a person’s character. You have to be supportive and make someone comfortable about herself, so that the photographer can get the best results. It’s pointless to put something on them that they hate or don’t feel comfortable in. As far as a style goes, I love things completely realistic and untouched, or really severe and daring looking, rather than things that look too cosmetic.

RACHEL CHANDLER — Before working at Lancôme had you ever thought about make-up consumers?
AARON DE MEY — Not really. I started with L’Oréal two years ago and I’m now the Make-up Creative Director of Lancôme internationally. At first, it was very intense — redesigning the architecture for the stores, the packaging, and basically re-branding everything having to do with make-up. This was the first time I dealt with business people and with parameters and limits. In the fashion and beauty industry you get instant gratification in photographs, magazines. It was a bit like coming from a fantasyland, where I was creating the images a consumer sees and is inspired by, to a world where I’m trying to communicate with all the creators and product-makers.

RACHEL CHANDLER — Do you make the colors?
AARON DE MEY — Colors can change 50 times before they’re right. I wanted to do a shade of model Daria Werbowy’s natural lip color. They have a machine to photograph her lips three-dimensionally. I’ve used Marlboro Reds cigarette packages and Christian Louboutin shoes as color guides.

RACHEL CHANDLER — I’ve heard that at one point you were the only person allowed to touch Kate Moss’s face.
AARON DE MEY — I don’t know if that’s true, but I’ve worked with her a lot! She can be tricky to work with because nine times out of ten she turns up looking better than you can make her look and she’s styled better than what the stylists can do!

RACHEL CHANDLER — Who do you like now?
AARON DE MEY — Chloë Sevigny’s amazing. She’s the total package, actress and model. I also love Paz de la Huerta. She has it all — style and attitude — and she lives it.

[Table of contents]

F/W 2010 issue 14

Table of contents

purple EDITO

purple NEWS






purple NAKED


purple PARIS

purple NIGHT


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