Sunday, 18 September 2011

An interview with makeup legend Napoleon Perdis

Through the Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend (ABBW) and Polkadot PR who are promoting the International Makeup Artist Trade Show (IMATS), I was given the opportunity to interview a few of the presenters who are running classes at IMATS. One of these interviews was with keynote speaker Napoleon Perdis. Napoleon is well known in the makeup industry as both a makeup artist and for his Napoleon Perdis cosmetics range. He was born and bred in Sydney before relocating to LA To expand his empire. He launched his first concept store in Oxford St, Sydney in 1995 and now has 65 concept stores and over 4,500 point-of-sale locations in Australia and New Zealand. In addition, he has three concept stores in the US plus his cosmetics line is sold in Ulta stores in which there are over 300 across the US. 

I first discovered Napoleon Perdis cosmetics, in particular the loose eye dusts, back in 1998 with my best friend, Joy, when we would buy the shadows for each other for Christmas. It was only fitting that when Joy got married she would employ the services of a Napoleon Perdis trained makeup artist. I was blown away with their use of colour, in particular, my makeup in the second photo. I was wearing a pink and purple sari and so the makeup artist wanted to match those colours. I really didn't think that I could pull off pink eyeshadow but she proved otherwise. This experience really gave me the confidence to play around with colour.

Naturally, when it was my turn to get married, I also went with a Napoleon Perdis makeup artist and was stoked with the results. I have better photos but they are momentarily misplaced in the garage so I will have a hunt and update once they have been relocated!

So, without further ado, my interview with the man himself, Napoleon Perdis:

I first fell in love with your makeup back in 1998. I remember it being a time when all the makeup available was in natural and nude shades, so the bright colours of your brand really stood out to me. How did you know that such bright shades would become so popular?

I grew up in the 80s, which was a time when women were really embracing bold colour (it was the Dallas and Dynasty era). My mum was especially fond of brights so I was all about vivacious colour from the get-go.
I believe that a touch of confident colour is an instant mood lifter. People are always drawn to bright colours and I predict that this high-wattage colour trend will be around for a while!

Have all countries embraced your vibrant colour palette or do you find some countries to be more conservative than others?
I think it comes down to the individual more so than the country. The experimental type will try that tangerine lipstick, while the neutrals-only woman will stick to a sheer gloss. Regardless, I always try to get women to experiment with a new colour or application technique.

I am a scientist so am quite interested in how products are formulated. How do you go about creating an eye shadow colour? Do you start with a particular colour in mind and tweak until you reach it or do experiment by mixing pigments to see what colours you can create?
I work very closely with my Product Development team as well as our suppliers. Say I’m looking for a high-pigment, electric fuchsia eye shadow, the formula and wear are just as important as getting the shade just right.
We always have a starting point, and go back and forth several times. My team and I will select a couple of different formulations. We test the longevity, texture and finish of each one and then decide on the most superior. My Creative Team and I will also test it out at fashion shows and photo shoots to see if it holds up in creative conditions as we are a professional makeup artist brand. I’m a perfectionist so it really needs to be just right.

What is the biggest makeup crime that you witness women repeatedly committing?
A visible difference in colour between the neck and face is the crime I notice the most. I find it hard not to tell them that they need to update their foundation with a better colour match!

If someone only had 2 minutes to get ready, what makeup essentials would you suggest?
A volumizing mascara to open up the eyes and a luminizer palette to highlight your best features.

Napoleon Perdis will be speaking at IMATS from 4.00-5.00pm on Saturday 24th September. Tickets to IMATS are $40 for a one day pass or $65 for both days and can be purchased here.