The Interview – Kabuki

Kabuki is something of a legend in the fashion industry, having risen so rapidly up through the ranks of top makeup artists to reach the level he is now in just a few short years. He is Ms Kylie Minogue’s makeup artist and is currently travelling with her (having just wrapped Paris Fashion Week!) and within the business he is renowned for being a ‘makeup artist’s makeup artist.’ Born in London and based in New York, Kabuki has worked with some seriously major names, beginning with the first two series of Sex and the City (and if you don’t remember changing your makeup routine to emulate Carrie Bradshaw’s noughties gorgeousness, you must have been living in a yurt in Tibet). Since then he has created memorable looks for Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani and Madonna, and is still a regular contributor to Italian Vogue as well as US Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Allure and Numero.

His incredible use of colour and theatrical take on fantasy make his work both opulent and unmissable, but he can also create an understated modern beauty look for clients like Gwyneth Paltrow when required. He has recently been appointed the Creative Director of myface.cosmetics (one of MM’s favourite brands!)

I was very lucky to get a moment with him.Here is his interview:


1 – What are you working on at the moment?

I just finished shows for New York and Paris fashion week so first on my list of things to do:  regain sanity. I’m working on my paintings in my upstate New York home while my agent fills in my schedule for the winter.

2 – Favorite makeup job ever?

Michael Jackson. He was lovely to be around and we had some great conversations about the legendary people he knew. Sadly, the Matthew Rolston and Bruce Weber shoots with him turned out to be the final shoots he ever did.

3 – Top 5 Products

  1. Myface Blingtones
  2. Dior Show Mascara
  3. Nars Aqua Gel Hydrator
  4. Myface Mymix Foundation
  5. MAC #33 Lashes

Kabuki Make-up

4 – Best Makeup tip ever

Apply your makeup at a table so you can rest your elbows and have a steady hand. Make sure you have enough light to see properly. If you make mistakes, clear them with pointed Q-tips dipped in a non-oily remover, such as Crealine.  Even if you’re wearing just a little makeup, it looks bad if it’s not cleanly applied. Not the most exciting answer but, honestly, it will improve your result more than anything else I could tell you.

4 – How did you get started in the business?

I wasn’t unknown in the New York City club scene of the 1990’s so I was on designer/stylist Patricia Field ‘s radar. She plucked me out of the crowd to paint Sarah Jessica Parker’s face for a new TV show called SEX AND THE CITY. Then I worked on some movies, including PARTY MONSTER. Then Steven Klein saw that and called me for an Italian Vogue shoot. Then Madonna saw the Italian Vogue shoot and called.  And the ball was officially rolling.

5 – How is it different to when you started?

The longer you’re around, the more relationships you acquire. In the beginning, I think maybe some people were unsure about me for whatever reason: maybe my name sounded odd, maybe some of my over-the-top looks made them nervous. But after they meet me and work with me, they know I’m professional and just there to create a beautiful make-up that fits within their context.

Kylie - Makeup by Kabuki

6 – What do you do in your spare time?

Drawing and painting mostly.  I always bring a sketchbook and mechanical pencil with me when I travel, and I travel pretty often.

7 – What are your favorite looks for the coming Autumn/Winter season?

I like the trend towards more bold and glamorous make-up for the coming season that I’ve seen at the shows.  Clean and fresh is nice too, but nothing says “glamour” and “sexy” like a strong makeup look.

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4 Replies to “The Interview – Kabuki”

    1. The products are amazing – unfortunately they don’t ship to Australia as yet. When I organise myself I will have some video reviews coming up.

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