Stephanie LaCava: Thank you for taking the time, where are you now?
Diane Kendal: In Los Angeles, working on the Calvin Klein Collection ad campaign with Mert (Alas) and Marcus (Piggot) and Lara Stone.
SLC: Can you reveal a little about the look?
DK: For the collection, we did a really beautiful luminous skin with a little definition wrapped around the eyes and stained mouth. We (the stylist was Camilla Nickerson) wanted Lara to look really strong and beautiful. It was Calvin, so there was a minimal feel, but also a bohemian aspect. We did CK, as well. For that we did more sun kissed, dewy skin. We (the stylist was Karl Templer) were going to shoot on location, but had to change because the weather hasn’t been that good out here. So, we had to go into studio and use fake sunlight. That’s how we came up with making the girls have sun kissed skin, much shinier than the white highlights we did with Collection. We gave a richer nuttier tone to the skin. I used Nars body oil with shimmer as the main product. For Collection’s beautiful milky skin, I used a product called Ben Nye, a white pearlescence all around the cheekbone and up above the eyebrow. We are starting White Label tomorrow.
SLC: You did that all this week?
DK: Yes. It has been busy. Mert and Marcus are great to work with, a lot of fun. I’ve never worked with photographers before that are so quick. They will take a picture and go to the computer and do the retouching themselves there and then, which is amazing to see. They are so fast at it. You get a real clear picture of what they are looking for and how I can tweak the makeup according to what they want.
SLC: What’s next for you?
DK: When I go back, I am doing a story for Interview on Monday and a Nars video on Tuesday. On Wednesday, it’s Oscar de la Renta’s campaign. Jil Sander Uniqlo on the weekend. You never know until the week before.
SLC: What about recent editorial?
DK: I just did a story for American Vogue with David Sims and Raquel Zimmerman. Raquel is such a great model; you can do any makeup on her and she’ll totally get into character and won’t question anything. She really takes everything on board, which is great. She’s such a pleasure to work with, never moans and is really happy to be where she is.
SLC: How is it working with David Sims?
DK: I’ve worked with him for at least sixteen years. I first met David when he wasn’t even taking pictures, when he was just starting to assist. We met with my friend, Guido, I’m really good friends with the hairdresser, Guido Palau. We first met him (Sims) when he was nineteen, back in London through mutual friends and we all became really good friends. When Dave was starting out we all did tests with him.
SLC: What’s your process like with Sims?
DK: It’s always a collaborative approach when you get to a job. All of us, the art director, David, Guido, and the stylist, discuss what we are going to be shooting. Normally with Dave, we dress the girl and he’ll put her on set and Guido will play with her hair and we’ll talk about makeup. Sometimes we’ll even do makeup on set. Other photographers may have hair and makeup beforehand.
SLC: How is collaborating with, say, Craig McDean, different?
DK: He has a similar process too, but with Craig it’s more that you will talk through different looks, but rarely do makeup on set. We’ll go back to the makeup room. Maybe once we’ve done a look, I will change it on set.
SLC: What about working with a designer like Alexander Wang?
DK: He’s great, so young and so open to ideas. He really likes to be pushed. Inspiration for his last show was downtown New York: early 80s Basquiat. That’s how Guido came up with the concept of putting white powder in the hair. Makeup-wise, we really wanted to go raw and fresh, to go for this super shiny skin and no eyebrows to fulfill that whole image and look, which
I think worked really well.
SLC: What about Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler?
DK: They are another great team to work with as they always want to create a really strong look for their girl, which is fun. For this recent show, the clothes were a little more lady than they usually do, but still with that grungy, early 90s element. The hair was all matted texture, pulled back so it still looked a little sophisticated. We decided to do a contoured, monotone face, but I didn’t put concealer under the eyes. Jack and Lazaro love how the girls look when are a little bit
dark under the eyes. It’s that juxtaposition of raw and beautiful.
SLC: Anyone else?
DK: I also do Jason Wu and Thakoon. Jason Wu was more 70s. It was fun to use all those different colors like turquoise and silver; pink and purple; and green and gold. We broke the girls up: for blonde, we did purple and pink; for the darker girls, we did gold and green. It was fun doing all those different colors for that show. For Thakoon, we did lots of strong gold highlights. It gave a sun kissed luminous look to the girls.
SLC: Like Calvin Klein?
DK: Perhaps, pushed a bit more. It was a much stronger gold highlight that really picked up as the girls walked down the runway.
SLC: Any other Spring Summer shows of note?
DK: I always love doing Carolina Herrera. The clothes are always so beautifully made, as are the fabrics. She has a beautiful aesthetic. It’s always really nice to collaborate with designers from different eras. She’s so nice to work for. She always likes to push, but really in her world. This season, we did a red brick eye shadow. Her shows are always very womanly. It’s nice to be able to create a womanly face, but use colors like the red eye shadow.
SLC: Was it a particular type of shadow?
DK: MAC. It was eye shadow we made up from using a lipstick pencil and eye shadow on top, all MAC products.
SLC: Any favorite personal obsessions or products?
DK: I do like working with MAC products and NARS products. I use a lot of Kryolan, an old theater brand you can get at Ricky’s’ and Alcone, a makeup shop thatstocks all sorts of theater brands on 49th near Broadway. I always use Ben Nye, another theater product.
SLC: How did you decide to become a makeup artist?
DK: Originally, I wanted to do more special effects and film. I went to the London College of Fashion to study prosthetics and theater. There, I met people infashion design and photography and that’s when I started realizing there’s a whole other world to makeup. You could be a fashion makeup artist.
SLC: Are there other makeup artists you admire?
DK: I really admire Pat (McGrath.) It’s amazing what she’s done. She has no fear and a great eye for creating really amazing characters for people to photograph and for the shows. It’s an amazing line that Francois Nars has created — and he still has a lot of creative input. I’m fortunate enough to have worked on his campaigns. He nowtakes pictures too. It’s great to work with someone of his caliber and be appreciated by him.
SLC: What was it like starting out?
DK: It’s quite different now that most people assist makeup artists to learn the craft. When I was starting, it wasn’tsuch a big industry. It was a slow process: lots and lots of tests and taking the odd job here and there, building up a portfolio. I spent six months in Milan working and then came back to London and then went to Paris and lived in Paris for a few years and then from Pariswent to New York. I’ve lived in Brooklyn, New York for sixteen years now.
SLC: Do you go back to England often?
DK: Just recently, I went back to do an American Vogue shoot with David Sims and last week I was there doing a Gap presentation. I have been back to London a few times this year. More and more, New York becomes so much more familiar to me that I don’t feel I know London that well any more. It’s funny. The last year, there’s been a real shift and I feel New York is my home.
SLC: What are your earliest memories of makeup?
DK: My dad worked in TV in the North of England, Carlyle right near the Scottish border. He would drop my sister and me off in the makeup room during school holidays when he would take us in with him. I could only have been five or six at the time. I thought, ‘G-d that looks kind of fun.’ I always remember my mother using Max Factor pan stick. I was fascinated, sticking my fingers in it.
SLC: When did you start wearing makeup?
DK: I don’t wear makeup.