Yves Saint Laurent $34
VIOLET GREY explores a sharp, slick take on the eternal classic.
Written ByJACK SUNNUCKS
Photography ByMORGANE MARTINI
Makeup ByMORGANE MARTINI
Art Direction ByVICEN AKINA
With her experimental take on color and the exquisite Polaroids she snaps to document her work, Morgane Martini is the makeup artist of the moment, both on Instagram and in print. 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 French chic that recalls the revolutionary work of Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton rather than a less-is-more aesthetic. In a new series for VIOLET GREY, she channels the famed ‘70s illustrator Antonio Lopez by documenting an array of free-spirited looks on her friends, accompanied by her trusted Polaroid camera.
“She was fun to shoot because she was really giving it,” laughs Morgane Martini of Charlotte Carey, the muse for this series of Polaroids. “The whole idea was to play with burgundy tones, and I wanted something graphic.” Of course, if you’re feeling daring, you could always go without brows—either by bleaching or shaving them off entirely—as the artist points out, “Charlotte doesn’t have brows, which I love, it makes the look stronger.” Martini’s sensual but defined cat eye puts one in mind of the powerful women of photographer Helmut Newton, shot in striking black and white in Monaco or the South of France.
Here, Morgane shares two looks that perfectly illustrate her subject’s playful and, yes, rather fierce nature—perfect for a night at Newton’s favorite venue, the Chateau Marmont.
“It was definitely more about her personality because Charlotte is bold. When you meet her, she’s the kind of model who will give you looks, attitude—she’s not afraid to play and have fun.” —M.M.
LOOK 1—THE EXAGGERATED WING
“I started with a pencil to draw a banana shape—a burgundy banana. Next, with a brush, I blended it in to make it soft. I created that cat eye because she’s kind of feline, then went in with a lip—she has this rock feel, she’s a tough girl. She’s fun to hang out with, that’s for sure!” —M.M.
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Charlotte Tilbury $22
Charlotte Tilbury $32
Giorgio Armani $38
LOOK 2—THE TECHNICOLOR CAT EYE
“With this one, I kept the same pencil and roughly drew in the shape I wanted. Then I applied a cream eyeshadow on it, and, with a cotton swab, perfected the line with makeup remover to make it super graphic. I think that’s the easiest way to get the look, if you try and make it perfect from the start it just takes longer.”—M.M.
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Charlotte Tilbury $22
Charlotte Tilbury $32
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.”
Joanna Vargas $75
Eau Thermale Avène $14