Kay Montano – The Interview

Kate Moss's iconic Calvin Klein ad
Kate Moss's iconic Calvin Klein ad

When your first job was a Face cover with Ray Petri, legendary creator of the Buffalo style, and you’re only 16 and you’ve never done a makeup job before, well where do you go from there? That’s easy, by the age of 18 you’ve racked up your first British Vogue cover and shows for John Galliano and Jasper Conran (and in those days, there were no assistants – just 15 models needing makeup, and you!) Then you’re doing Kate Moss for the iconic Calvin Klein Obsession ads, after moving to New York for the birth of grunge. You stay there for eight years, working for every major publication, fashion house and photographer, including Mario Testino, Mario Sorrenti, Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel, Patrick Demarchalier and Helmut Newton.

At the same time you start working with the world’s biggest celebrities, preparing them for red-carpet events and magazine features, including Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz and Nicole Kidman. Moving back to London you become the new consultant to Chanel and combine your red carpet work with Kylie Minogue, Thandie Newton, Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller and Gwyneth Paltrow with major campaigns for Chanel and continuing to shoot for British, French and Italian Vogue.

Sound like a crazy dream? Well if you’re Kay Montano, that’s your life. Twenty five years of experience as a makeup artist has made Kay one of the most revered members of the industry, and today we’ve got an interview with her.

1. Favourite makeup job ever?

Toss up between American Vogue in Vietnam with Kate Moss and Bruce Weber, a Prince video (also had the divine Argentinean actress Mia Maestro whose eyes I covered in purple as an homage to Prince) and the two Calvin Klein ads  (Kate Moss in Virgin Islands, Amber Valetta in Panama) I did on paradisiacal beaches.

2. Worst makeup job ever?

Let’s just say there are a lot of people in fashion who need to do a lot of work on themselves, who are not given boundaries because others benefit too much from overlooking their dysfunction.

Daria, Kate Moss and Lara Stone by Bruce Weber
Daria, Kate Moss and Lara Stone by Bruce Weber

3. Top 5 products?

Chanel Vitalumiere foundation, Chanel eye pencil in Ambre, Bobbi Brown Black Gel Eyeliner, Shu Uemura eyelash curler, M Lab moisturiser.

4. If you could tell women to do one thing differently with their makeup, what would it be?

Stop over-plucking your eyebrows, you look really weird. Strictly makeup only? Experiment & have fun for chrissakes!

5. How did you get started in the business?

Via clubbing and meeting pop stars.

6. How is fashion different to when you started out?

It is totally mainstream with none of the sophisticated sub-culture that I was fortunate enough to grow up marinating in. It is also completely cross-referenced now. Before, there were always VERY distinct tribes with distinct differences.

7. Which work are you most proud of?

Strangely, seeing as I’ve done a lot of prestigious and edgy editorial, it’s actually the most classically beautiful work like the covers and my red carpet work as this is where skill, effort and experience come into play and where I feel I can make the biggest difference, the biggest impact.

8. What do you love doing in your spare time?

I love to practice yoga, walk in the park, go to my local and spend time with my new puppy Quincy Jones.

Is there anything else that you’d like to talk about?

I want to bring back subculture and not have everyone feel ‘style-ruled’ by the fashion press. Ignore us! Do your own thing & dance to your own drum.

Beauty Breakdown: Rosamund Pike & Toni Collette

Total excitement, we have our first celebrity beauty breakdowns! This is what Kay Montano used on the lovely actresses Toni Collette and Rosamund Pike on a shoot recently for a new Chanel sponsored coffee table book.

Rosamund PikeRosamund Pike

Foundation – Chanel Vitalumiere in Clair 20
Concealer – Chanel Eclat Lumiere concealer in Beige Clair 20
Powder – Chanel Natural Finish Loose Powder (just in T-zone)
Blush – Chanel Joues Contrast Blush in Rose Dust
Eyes

  • Chanel L’Ombre d’Eau in 60 (glistening taupe, on lid)
  • Chanel le Crayon Kohl in Ambre (a deep brown on lashline, smudged into the lashlines with a finger)
  • Chanel Magic Night eyeshadow (a deep plum, over the crayon khol, at the lashline)
  • Chanel Smoky Eyes quad grey (blended on socket line)
  • Chanel Ecriture de Chanel in black, nestled right along the lash lines and subtly winging upwards

 

Mascara – Chanel Exceptionnel mascara in Smoky Black, and lots of it!
Lips – Nude Skincare lipbalm on lips

Toni ColletteToni Collette

Foundation – Chanel Vitalumiere in 30 Cendre (as Toni is quite tan at the moment)
Concealer – a mix of Bobbi Brown Eye Brightener in 3 and Clinique Airbrush in Medium.
Powder – Laura Mercier Loose Translucent powder brushed on T-zone. Blush – Chanel Orchid Rose Blush.
Eyes

  • Chanel Le Crayon Khol in Ambre (brown) applied and smudged into and around top lashes followed by a subtle, wide smudge of Bronze Chanel eye pencil underneath.
  • Ecriture De Chanel liquid eyeliner subtly applied on the root of the upper lashes.

Mascara – Chanel Exceptionnel Mascara in Black.
Lips – Bobbi Brown Blush lip pencil smudged in with Suvana Paw Paw & Honey lip balm.

NB The pictures of Toni and Rosamund are simply press pictures and NOT examples of the makeup that Kay created for each of them. To see that, you’ll have to wait until the new Chanel book comes out!

Beauty Runway Round-Up

With the Paris shows having recently finished, it’s time for the Fall ’09 runway Beauty rundown. 

If there was one strong theme that strode off the catwalks this season just finished, it was that Cool Rules. It’s just as much about what you don’t do, as what you emphasise. Case in point – again it was a season with very little blush, it was all about cheek contour at almost every show. Mascara was rarely used, and lashes were not really the focal point. 

What was happening was a strong, single element, but boy did that change! Orange lips, black lips, grey lips, berry lips (even green in one very directional London show, but that’s what London is for, right?) At Alexander McQueen red lips went ridiculously oversized so they looked like fake plastic lips (suspiciously similar to the oversized red lip Inge Grognard created for A.F Vandevorst last season). 

Smoky eyes came out to play in London, New York, Paris and Milan, but it was often paired with a glossy texture and almost always with an undone mouth (and you all know how to do that, right?  It’s concealer patted on with a finger. If you find conventional concealers too dry, try MAC Lip Erase). 

Dramatic 50’s flick eyeliner arrived in style at Dolce and Gabbana, Chanel and Valentino. At Lanvin and Dolce and Gabbana a wine red or cherry lip was patted on with a finger to work with the insouciance that has categorized this season of major economic uncertainty. It’s all about gleaming skin, and not trying too hard. 

A round up of the major looks: 

Tough Beauty – Lanvin, Michael Kors

 

Michael Kors
Michael Kors

Warrior women at their best. At Lanvin it was a cherry lip that gave the look its structure, and at Michael Kors Dick Page constructed a beautiful smoky eye. As Michael Kors said “When times get tough, New York women get tougher!”

 Gray lips – Doo.Ri, Tuleh

This is a tough one for regular women to wear and it’s the logical progression from the gray nail trend we’ve been having this season. It’s in the air and if it’s on your mind, MAC do an amazing lip pencil called Stone, or you can pat on their Black LipMix but be warned! Go easy on it. It’s a short step from directional to dead. 

Contour

This is major, major, major. I can’t remember the last time I used pretty blush on a show. It’s either contouring with bronzer (a matte one please), or a brown gray powder, like MAC’s Taupe. They also do a great range of powders called Sculpt and Shade for this purpose, and these were heavily used at the shows. (MAC are the biggest sponsors of the shows around the world, which is why you see their products everywhere at this time).

Scary 80’s

 

Sessilee Lopez, oh Lord, what happened??
Sessilee Lopez, oh Lord, what happened??

I have to talk about it, even though it pains me. Gucci, Alessandro del Acqua, Issa and (shudder, this show gave me the heebie jeebies), Marc Jacobs. I’m talking the full magilla – colored contour, winged eyeshadow to the temples, bright glossy lipsticks, strong brows, lots of base, the full 9 yards. 

When done properly this is a fierce, ruling look, but in the wrong hands (sorry Sessilee Lopez, I’m talking to you!)picture), it really is frighten-the-children, flat-out scary. And when the most beautiful women in the world look like aging drag queens, this is a look regular women want to avoid like the plague. A hint – if you are going to go there, keep the base minimal and fresh so the focus is on your major lips and eyes, and not on your Dynasty-like base. Krystal Carrington, beauty icon? Not so much. 

 

Gorgeous makeup at the Chloe show
Gorgeous makeup at the Chloe show

 

 

I do have to give an honorable mention to the Chloe show, where Charlotte Tilbury created glowing, bronzey early 80’s winged eyes. What’s particularly interesting about this show is it’s such a departure from their signature natural no-makeup look. So if they’re doing proper makeup at Chloe, chances are good you will be too in the coming months.  But ladies, let’s do it right!

Return of the 1990’s

I hear you all gasp! Not possible? Oh yes, it’s come around again. But this time it’s taking the good elements and leaving the unattractive bits behind. No chocolate lip liner in a big old  nasty ring around the mouth. None of those bad overdrawn lips, or dead person brown muddy lipstick. It’s about taking

Matthew Williamson
Matthew Williamson

1990’s elements – like lipliner and tawny tones – and adding modern textures and finishes.

Cases in point – Diane Kendal’s lovely makeup for Proenza Schouler. Brown cream eyeshadow all around the eye, a soft pink cream on cheeks (one of the few shows that did blush, and it was a welcome relief from all those razor sharp cheekbones), no mascara and lips patted down with concealer. The Matthew Williamson show had  a similar last decade ethos.

 And at the Graham Black show in London where Kay Montano did a shiny brown eye using Satin Taupe, and heralded the return of MAC Underworld lipstick which I believe was last gracing our lips right about when we were rocking out to Smells Like Teen Spirit. It’s Grunge, but not as we know it.