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The Art of M·A·C: Fall Collection Draws Inspiration From Art


“Every Face is a Canvas.”

That is what James Gager, Senior Vice President/Creative Director at M·A·C said. I can’t help but think of how true this is, especially with MAC makeup. MAC Cosmetics is an innovator when it comes to treating makeup application as art. Faces and bodies are clean canvases waiting for the artist’s brushstroke, the detail and color that paint a lovely picture. The makeup artists at MAC get to express their vision through makeup on walking, talking, living, breathing canvases.

Artists are often influenced by other artists, in all mediums – so it makes perfect sense for MAC to team up with three great artists for their Fall ’09 collection: painter Richard Phillips, illustrator Maira Kalman, and photographer Marilyn Minter. “We are M·A·C … Make-Up Art Cosmetics. Every face is a canvas to us, a glorious chance for spectacular transformation. It’s nice to be pretty, but it’s so much more fabulous and interesting to be a persona, something once out-of-grasp that has, through the power of art, become thrillingly real,” Gager said. “In keeping with our art heritage, it made sense to ask these three artists to participate in a unique collaboration with us for fall. Working in their individual mediums – drawing, photography and painting – each applied a different colour palette to a portrait, with inspired results.”

Gordon Espinet, Vice President, Makeup Artistry adds, “Art has no boundaries. Art appeals to ‘all ages, all races, all sexes! Art is ultimately all about individual expression. M·A·C makes no distinction between the fine artist and the makeup artist and gives every artist the power to tell their story with makeup.”

MACRichardPhillipsPainter Richard Phillips

Richard Phillips surprised even himself with this project. Using the expert skills of a photo-retoucher, he subjected his own painting to a M·A·C makeover with the new eye shadows, blushes and lipsticks. Andy Warhol did a cameo on The Love Boat in 1985…and in the same spirit, Richard Phillips’ 1998 painting, Spectrum, made its debut on an episode of the scandalous Gossip Girl – a sign of the times! Recycled and re-imagined ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s advertisements and images, and every colourful issue ever considered when pondering the question of “identity” is what Richard Phillips is all about. His bold and beautiful portraits are highly technical, a refinement of precise, academic painting, so relevant to everything M·A·C artistry is all about. A collection of Eye Shadow quads, Lipsticks, Lipglass, and The Perfect Cheek Blush just leap off the canvas!

I had the chance to check out some of the colors in the Richard Phillips collection for M·A·C. You can check out the looks on at, where it is described as, “Racy, hyper-glam images revved-up in a modern take on vintage magazine pages, transformed into a super-vixen collection of colour for eyes, lips and cheeks. Paint it bigger-than-life with style and sensuality.”

For lips, I tried the Lustre Lipstick in “Lovin It,” and there are no better words to describe the color. It’s a great match for my skin tone and has just the right amount of sparkle. Like all MAC Lipsticks, it goes on easily and doesn’t dry out your lips. I also tried the Lipglass in “New Spirit” and “On Display.” New Spirit is a great color to transition into Fall with. I love Lipglass because it stays on and I love this fresh color. What I loved about On Display is that it’s a purple color, which is so hot for cosmetics this Fall, but also that you can put on a light coat for just a bit of color, or layer more on for a real punch of purple. It looks so sexy on! Lipglass also goes great over the Lipstick. I liked New Spirit over Lovin It to add even more shine!

Also in the Richard Phillips color collection is Powder Blush. I tried “Notable,” which is a warm brownish red that goes well on my light but olive-toned skin. With MAC’s Powder Blush, a little goes a long way, and I loved how easily and evenly it went on my skin. It’s also blend-able, which is great if you need or want to do some contouring.

The Eye Shadow X 4 I sampled in “Notoriety” which was rich browns and bronze-y colors, and “In the Gallery,” a study in purple. (I love the names!) I love having MAC Eye Shadow in colors that are coordinated with each other. These tones are also so hot for fall and Notoriety coordinates great with the New Spirit Lipglass and On Display goes great with the In the Gallery quad.

Maira KalmanIllustrator Maira Kalman

Famous for her whimsical visual diaries, illustrator Maira Kalman performed some magic with her contribution to this collection with new Technakohl Eye Liners and Eye Shadows in eye-popping shades. MAC Make-Up Art Cosmetics Fall ‘09 As Seen by Maira Kalman is “Cheeky, witty, always amusing, Maira’s style is cute and colourful, wonderfully child-like…and sophisticated all at once. Technakohl Liners and magical Eye Shadows full of cock-eyed optimism, with just the tiniest smidge of city-girl-snobbism. Simply sublime!” In one word? FUN!

The bright colors in this collection put an immediate smile on your face! At first I was hesitant to try the new Technakohl in “Obviously Orange.” I like it on either the top or bottom lash line – not both. The result is so fun and artistic and strikingly high fashion.

The Eye Shadows I tried in “Violet Trance” and “Maira’s Mood” are highly-pigmented powder. An intense violet and fuchsia pink, they are fun and bright. The color applies evenly and blends well, but you can apply it in varying degrees. For just a hint of color, I applied with a loose dry brush. To bump up the intensity, I applied it wet with a flat brush and blended.

Marilyn MinterPhotographer Marilyn Minter

Marilyn Minter, equally at home in art and fashion, has a penchant for iridescence that made her a perfect candidate for MAC’s glitter pigments, putting them to utterly seductive use. Minter’s erotic imagery zooms in on a succulently wet, red lip, a dappled, sequined eye, or a silverized stiletto splashing in the mud. The Whitney Biennial Artist says she’s “Never met a model who actually thinks she’s beautiful,” and that observation goes a long way to explain how she connects to what M·A·C wants to say about all-inclusiveness – we’re ALL beautiful sometimes. Minter’s collection for MAC includes Pigments in Push the Edge and Copper or Gold Glitter have the power to make anyone feel like they WILL be seen – and desired.

Minter says, “The glamour industry is the central source for my art. I feed off it like a parasite!” I felt that when I tried pigment in “Push the Edge.” Instant. Glamour. (Yup, glamoUr with a U.)

Pigment is a highly concentrated loose color powder that contains ingredients to help it adhere to the skin. Create a subtle wash of color or an intense effect. You can also apply them wet, but I recommend tapping some of the powder out onto a clean palette or using one of MAC’s travel jars to mix it, as you don’t want to ruin your whole jar. I love this deep purple color!

Celebrating the Artist

MAC is all about the artist and everything at MAC is built around the idea that anything is possible when self-expression is honored, exalted, allowed to rise to its ultimate aria. This season M·A·C celebrates the idea of the Artist in every shade and stripe…makeup as art form. MAC has selected three individuals who exemplify this idea through both the subjects they choose, and the wildly individual styles and colours used to convey them. Bold, heroic, big; giggly, playful, clever; dramatic, original, abstract: Fall ’09 as seen by Richard Phillips, Maira Kalman, and Marilyn Minter.

The MAC Fall ’09 collection is available in stores August 20, 2009. Be inspired!

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Jordan Walker Says:

    These ads are so cool! I love vibrant colors- especially when it comes to my art. Great job!

  2. Amanda Says:

    Great article! I will definitely have to check out these new lines from my beloved MAC :)

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About the editor

Jennifer Long-Levy

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Jennifer Long-Levy is the Editor-in-Chief at Beyond Beauty Basics. She has worked as a interactive marketing professional specializing in search engine marketing and optimization for more than six years. Jennifer has worked with companies large and small, and as an independent consultant. Her passion for beauty & fashion and her experience in several marketing verticals including beauty, legal, retail, online education, campus education, real estate, IT and web design services, helps her manage the exciting content at Beyond Beauty Basics keeping her readers in mind. Jennifer helps oversee the contributions of the editorial team and works on building relationships with new readers, fans, and companies. A 2010 Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing candidate at The New School University in lower Manhattan, Jennifer also holds a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York. Jennifer has published short fiction, creative nonfiction, essays, web content, and manages the editorial direction of Beyond Beauty Basics. Follow my Twitter

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