Beauty Test: French Chic With Morgane Martini
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The makeup artist revisits two iconic beauty looks—one for day, one for night—worn by Catherine Deneuve.
- Makeup By
- MORGANE MARTINI
- Photography By
- MORGANE MARTINI
- Hair By
- ALEKSADNDRA SASHA NESTERCHUK
- Art Direction By
- VICEN AKINA
With her experimental take on color and the exquisite snaps she takes to document her work, Morgane Martini is the makeup artist of the moment. From her collaborations with Ashley Graham to her cover of Vogue Brazil with Bella Hadid, Martini’s name (it’s her real one) is becoming synonymous with a new kind of beauty that recalls the revolutionary work of Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton rather than a less-is-more aesthetic. Here, she documents an array of bold, chromatic looks on her friends, accompanied by her trusted Polaroid camera.
The most amazing thing about French women is not that they don’t get fat; it’s that they don’t get sucked in by faddish beauty trends. Which is why makeup artist Morgane Martini—herself a very chic French woman—is spot-on in her assessment that “classic, timeless makeup is, to me, very French.” The statement may apply broadly, but Morgane was referring in particular to the beauty look worn by Catherine Deneuve in 1967’s Belle de Jour. Deneuve’s deliberate liner, subtle contour and nude lip look equally at-home in 2020 as they did a half-century ago.
The same goes for the October 1974 cover of Vogue Paris, a Helmut Newton photograph of Deneuve in an after-dark-ready crimson lip and kohl-rimmed eye. “That picture is such a classic for me,” says Martini. “It’s something that one hundred percent works now, was working back then, and will work in the future. Who doesn’t look good with a red lip and a bit of an eye?” For her remix of Deneuve’s Vogue Paris makeup, Martini chose model Alisa Ahmann. “She looks a bit aristocratic in a way—perfect lips, beautiful eyes, hair that is so shiny and beautiful. She doesn’t look like Catherine Deneuve, but she was giving me those same vibes.”
THE ARTIST: Morgane Martini | @morgane_martini
THE GIRL: Alisa Ahmann | @alisaahmann
LOOK 1: BELLE DE JOUR
“Catherine Deneuve was always wearing this type of makeup, where she’d just have a very simple, gorgeous liner, lots of lashes and that super-fresh, beautiful skin. It’s easy to wear.” – M.M.
LOOK 2: BELLE DE NUIT
“When people tell me you have to choose between the eye and the lip, I’m like, why? It looks great if you do both, you don’t have to choose! This is the example of what you can do with both.” – M.M.
Name: Morgane Martini
Where to Find Her: New York City
Represented by: The Wall Group/BEL
“I don’t recommend going to beauty school,” laughs Morgane Martini of her start in the industry. As a young woman growing up on the French island of Corsica, Martini has always been artistically inclined, so her aunt suggested she could put her talents to practical use and paint faces instead. “I had a lot of friends who were learning photography at the time, so we were all playing around and trying out stuff. I went to school for only three months, three months of learning the basics of beauty and fashion makeup—which was actually really terrible, because everything you’re learning you have to forget and start over again!”
Fortunately, she landed on the team of one of the greats – Lloyd Simmons, whom she assisted for three years, and who she credits with making her the precise and technical artist she is today (creativity is nothing if not backed up with expertise). He also introduced her to the incredible Pat McGrath, another makeup genius from whom she was lucky to learn. “So,” she laughs, “that was major.” From this beginning Martini began a journey upward through the editorial beauty world that four years ago brought her to New York. “And a year ago, that’s when I started doing my Polaroids,” she says of the landmarks that have defined her career.
If haven’t seen them, Martini’s Polaroids, which populate her Instagram, are a thing of beauty. As with just about any visual profession, she says, mock horrified, “People were telling me to do more selfies, to post more of myself—you know, post a bikini picture here and there. That’s not me; it didn’t feel genuine.” After she started shooting beauty tests on her friends using a macro Polaroid camera, she quickly became obsessed and starting posting the results on her feed. “There’s no post production whatsoever; it’s pretty raw,” she says of what drew her to the little photographs. “And I’m obsessed with Antonio Lopez. I just think his work is so amazing, and all his Polaroid work is really fun.”
Martini’s bold shapes and color choices, inspired by Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton, have caught the attention of a certain bold female, the one and only Ashley Graham. “One day my agent called me and said Ashley Graham is requesting you. I was very lucky that her hairstylist at the time, who I had worked with, recommended me.” It seems to be the perfect match. “What’s fun with her,” says Martini, “is she’s in control, but she’s really open to letting go. She told me how she decided one day to embrace herself to the fullest, and not compromise—you know what, take it or leave it, this is what I am.”
Martini has taken Graham’s words to heart, and perhaps bolstered by her belief in what makes her work unique, she did the makeup for her first Vogue cover, Bella Hadid for Vogue Brazil. “In some ways, I think I tried for a while to fit in,” she opines. “At a certain point, makeup was not a cool thing to do, because people just wanted natural. I tried to fit into that box. But I kept telling my agent, I’m getting so bored.” She smiles. “I just can’t. It’s a great lesson, to just do you. And I think everybody should do that.”