Written by: Michael Jodha
Pulling off a sexy number is only half the battle models face during Toronto Fashion Week. The other half is fought by Grace Lee, lead make-up artist for the models during the festival.
Working with her parent company, Maybelline, its Lee’s responsibility to make sure the theme of each designer’s runway is reflected on the face of every woman walking across the stage. And it’s a battle she wins every time!
“I’m pretty fast,” Lee says with a smile. “I probably did this look (on the current model seated in front of her) in 15 minutes. I work like a ninja… (or) Edward Scissorhands. I have to be in this job. It’s an occupational hazard if you’re slow!”
Even as we chatted, she was hard at work on a model in designer Melissa Nepton’s runway, and she walked us through every step of the process.
“What (designer) Melissa Nepton said was ‘I wanted something a little bit colourful.’” Lee described. “Her collection is a lot of black and white…and really clean lines of light oranges and mint green and beiges.”
Lee used her magic and added Maybelline’s brand of Colour Tattoos to the model’s eyelids, choosing shades to match Nepton’s runway palette.
“On the eyes, I basically did two different colour tattoos,” Lee says. “I did a double liner. I used colour tattoos because I didn’t want them to bleed into each other. So the first one is anchored with ‘Painted Purple,’ and then the ‘Edgy Emerald’ is right on top. It just gives a really nice colourful eye, but it’s not screaming “Oh My God!”
And it’s a look Lee insists any woman can achieve in front of a mirror. “It’s pretty easy honestly, because the colour tattoos don’t bleed,” she says. “So when you apply it, it just sets, and then you can literally just trace over the other one.”
But it’s not just about the eyes. Nothing completes a look like fully glossed lips. And for Lee, it’s also a chance to use a new produce she’s excited to talk about.
“On the lips, is a new colour, and it’s called ‘Orange Attitude,’” she says excitedly. “And it’s a ‘Colour Whisper’ so it’s very sheer.
“It’s twenty shades and it comes out in January. They’re genius. They go on (like a regular lipstick) but then if you rub your lip – super sheer! And they’re super hydrating too.”
After we saw Lee paint eyelids and lips, we had to ask, as an experienced make-up artist what is the one facial feature someone should highlight the most?
“Skin, I always think is key. If you don’t have good skin, then everything else is not going to look good,” Lee says.
But then she quickly adds, “I also think that its little things, like curling your eyelashes. A lot of women still don’t curl their eyelashes. They’re like ‘Oh, I don’t bother.’ But it makes a huge difference. Curling your eyelashes really opens up the eyes, and then when you apply mascara on top of that, it makes the eye look bigger.
“And that’s like a 100% guarantee. So curl your eyelashes!”