An exclusive interview with the makeup maestro.
Whenever I interview people I admire, I tend to ramble. A lot. See: my recent conversation with makeup artist Kabuki about Kabuki Magic Collection, his upcoming collabo with M.A.C Cosmetics. During our chat, I was in full-on first-date mode, stumbling over my words and talking over him.
Lucky for me, not only does the New York-based Brit have the patience of a kindergarten teacher, he thoughtfully answered all my questions, even checking in with me if they were “good enough” answers. (They were.)
Kabuki Magic is his first official collection with M.A.C. – even though he's worked on their campaigns and has been using their products backstage at fashion week for ages – and he’s in good company. The iconic makeup brand also enlisted best-of-the-best makeup artists James Kaliardos and Diane Kendal to design their own must-have products as part of the Makeup Art Cosmetics Collection, available online Jan. 19 and in stores January 26.
Kabuki’s roster of lipsticks, shadows and blushes is super playful – think richly pigmented lip colour and vivid eye paints – but also super practical. Here, he talks about his vision and how Kendall Jenner inspired a VIS – very important shade.
Kabuki backstage with Gigi Hadid at Jeremy Scott's Spring/Summer 2016.
What inspired the Kabuki Magic collection? These are products I wanted that didn't exist – either the colours or the formula. Like Fallen Angel Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour (below, left). It’s a deep berry. I have to do that colour all the time when I’m on a shoot. It’s such a pain because I have to combine three different colours to get something to look the way I want it. So now it’s just a one-step thing. I also wanted a natural matte pink that was like a real lip colour rather than something that looked “lipstick-y.” I was working with Kendall Jenner and I created this colour by mixing [a few] pinky nude shades together. I brought that sample from the shoot to M.A.C and that's how we created Sweet Thing Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour (below, right). I wanted these products to be very practical—things that people would really need, and not just more stuff.
M.A.C. Cosmetics Fallen Angle Retro Matte Liquid Lip Colour and Sweet Thing Retro Matte Liquid Lip Colour ($25, at maccosmetics.com).
The names of the products are so fun – “Johnny Guitar” and “Sense Of Doubt” (both eyeshadow palettes) and “Ice Follies” (a gloss). How did you come up with them? I made three categories. One was made-up names, the other was Joan Crawford movies and the other was David Bowie references. So I suppose in my subconscious, maybe there are elements of Bowie and Crawford’s careers? Just because I’m a fan so maybe there is something to distil from that into my approach to self-creation.
Do you remember the first time you used a M.A.C product? My first break was in production, [I did makeup for] Sex and the City and then movies afterwards and M.A.C was always very generous in helping with the makeup. Plus, they have real makeup artists working for them and the artists are people I’d be friends with. There is always the feeling of community and sharing tips and, “oh what’s that product?” so it was always like Aladdin’s cave of beauty items.
Let’s talk about spring makeup. Are there any trends you are totally over? I kind of have immediate responses to trends. The ones that I’m over I was never into in the first place. I don't like it when there are a lot of people all doing the same thing. For example, I don't really like when they put that white in the inner corner of their eyes to create a glow. Because we know it’s a trick. I guess I’d rather be challenged and see something new. This surprise is always more exciting than seeing something you’ve seen a million times.
“I use the paints as an eye primer. There is nothing worse than a perfectly blended, precise eye that melts. I wanted these in very bright colours and in white so you could mix them together and created different colours. I tend to use a flat brush to put them on and if I need to blend them out I use like a fluffy brush. But if you’re doing it on yourself, it would be easier to use your finger.” M.A.C. Cosmetics Paints in Cracked Emerald, Holy Holy Overnight Sensation and Win and ($26 each, at maccosmetics.com).
What about "Instagram makeup"? Are you for or against? Mediums create their own style so in a way it’s almost like it works in the medium. I wouldn't say anything bad about it because they’re having fun. It’s like self-publishing. And you can learn from things that are exaggerated. I like going the whole distance [into a look] because it’s easy to pull back and just take an element from that. You can always make something more mild, so to me it’s more interesting to see somebody do all the tricks because it’s more information on one face.
And finally, I’ve always wondered how long it actually takes to make a makeup collection? I think it was about a year and a half! There were a lot of meetings, but they were spaced apart. But it was very enjoyable and I would do it all over again if I could.
Editor's note: We can only hope.
Kabuki created the Precision Brush – in his words “ a really small soft eye shadow brush” – because he found “that a lot of the brushes when they get smaller, they are also firmer so they weren’t good for blending.” M.A.C. Cosmetics Precision Brush ($30, at maccosmetics.com).
Barack and Michelle Obama at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Phoenix Awards in September 2016. Image by: Getty
"That's my boo. Mom jeans and all."
If you're eyes are still a little moist after Barack Obama's farewell address, let Michelle Obama dry those tears.
The FLOTUS appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon for her last appearance as First Lady, and took part in Fallon's hilarious "Thank You Notes" skit. Our fave part? When she penned a letter to her "silver fox" Barack.
Perhaps she has a future in broadcast? "I like this side of the desk," she joked to Fallon, who looked legit worried. (As he should be.)
Don't know your TFSA from your RRSP? Confused about whether you should save or pay back your debt? Trying to save for the future but feel like you never have anything left over after your bills, bills, bills?
Us too. Which is why we turned to finance expert and Amex spokesperson Rubina Ahmed-Haq for a little personal finance question-and-answer session.
And welcome to 2017, turmeric. We've heard so much about you.
The vivid spice, which is thousands of years old and a staple in curry dishes, is having a moment in the coffee space. At Toronto's adorable and health-minded nutbar cafe—which is less than a month old—turmeric lattes are as delicious as they are beautiful. But do they benefit your bod? Nutbar founder Kate Taylor Martin says yes.
"As a health-focused cafe, we were drawn to incorporating turmeric into our menu because of its powerful nutritional properties," she says. "It's one of the most potent anti-inflammatories on the planet." Taylor Martin is also a registered holistic nutritionist, hence the impressively healthy menu, which spans kelp noodle bowls to power balls and moringa-laced smoothies. Nutbar's turmeric latte costs $6 and contains black pepper (which helps with turmeric absorption), cinnamon, vanilla, nutbar nutmilk and raw honey.
But how does it taste? When I visited the adorable cafe a few days before Christmas, I took a trepidatious sip of my friend's Laura's nutty drink, expecting an unknown overpowering bouquet. But I was delighted—it was vibrant and creamy, and paired extremely well with the housemade "nutbar nutmilk", a custom blend of organic cashew, almond and coconut milks. Laura described it as "a more densely flavoured chai latte."
"The customer response has been incredible," says Taylor Martin, who names the dense spicy drink as one of her top sellers. And we're sure it has nothing to do with how the mustard hue pairs with the cafe's gorgeous, spice-splattered paper cups. Latte art fanatics, gird your loins.