Jillian Dempsey $20
The makeup artist of the moment explores soft ‘70s pastels in her new series for VIOLET GREY.
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.
When Martini met model Madison Headrick, she was struck by Headrick’s natural sun-kissed look, from her blond hair to her golden skin. It put her in the mind of Jan de Villeneuve, the model whose delicate beauty epitomized the early ‘70s (and who is still modeling today). Of course, this electric look is particularly suited to the Polaroid camera, Antonio Lopez’s tool of choice when capturing his muses, such as Jerry Hall, prior to illustrating.
Here, Morgane shares three looks that grow increasingly richer and more wild, just like the decade itself, to take you from day to night.
“In my head, Madison represents that classic, timeless beauty, in the vibe of Jan de Villeneuve. Blonde, golden skin, blue eyes, just super gorgeous.”—M.M.
“I was thinking Jane Birkin. I wanted it to be fresh and sunny with beautiful lashes. Something pastel-toned and referencing the early ‘70s. Madison is like that—the kind of beauty where she’s just so pretty, in a fresh way.”—M.M.
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Charlotte Tilbury $32
Charlotte Tilbury $53
“I used these very washed-out tones of pink and green on her eyes. It was very easy, just playing around with colors. I used a very thick brush, as the eyeshadow is all the way up to her brow, in a diffuse way. Nothing too heavy. I think the trick is to start with very little product, because you don’t want a painted feel.”—M.M.
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Charlotte Tilbury $32
La Prairie $70
TOM FORD $88
“I added a touch of purple in the eyelid and made the colors stronger.”—M.M.
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Tom Ford $46
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.”
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