Napoleon Perdis on the Bold, the Beautiful and the Brave

In the beauty world, there are women who rarely deviate from their natural look. There are others who cling religiously to their neutral palette, black liner or red lipstick. And then, god love them, there are those wide-eyed, fashion-obsessives who are up for almost anything. Gothic lips, neon eye shades, enormous lashes—you name it, this client is willing to make the leap from runway to surreality. Admittedly, it takes chutzpah to experiment at this level, and it takes even more skill on the part of the makeup artist to nail the execution. It’s up to us to ensure the client never resembles a caricature, that she looks like a lovable eccentric willing to take a walk on the wild side, at least when it comes to her makeup.

When looks are this strong, my advice is to focus on one part of the face. Adrian Villa, a senior trainer at the Napoleon Perdis Makeup Academy, loves a challenge, so I asked him to give us his take on three edgy new looks. His willing accomplice was Laura Yacoe, a young member of my team. Together they tackled three headturning trends: Concealed brows; glitter-encrusted lips; and crazy liner. Yacoe, who rides the metro to our office in Hollywood, received lots of feedback. “I got some quizzical looks on the subway owing to my green eyes,” she says. “And my friends raved about the graphic liner look.” The looks also proved an excellent icebreaker. “A guy at a party inquired why I had a leopard print on my eyelids!”

Minty Fresh: Marion Cotillard peers out from the September cover of French Vogue with bleached brows, green eyes and a dark plum mouth. The look inspired Adrian and Laura to replicate the eye statement. Yet while Cotillard looks sensational, bleaching someone’s brows is a little excessive for real life. Better to mimic the look by covering a client’s arches with foundation. Start by applying a sheer amount of eyelash glue like Ardell to the brow. Wait for two minutes to set, and then gently press the brows to create a flat surface for foundation. Apply a mint concealer over the entire eyelid. Then use an ocean blue eye shadow over the whole eye lid and the bottom lash line. Add a sea green shade into the crease and blend with your brush. Finish off with a white shadow on the brow bone and dust on the cheeks for a ghostly visage.

Graphic Fantastic: Makeup artists at the fall shows extended liner to exaggerated proportions, scribbling the eye area with dramatic lines and adorning faces with all manner of graphic sketches. At Chanel, artists scribbled designs from the house’s shoe and bag collections directly onto models lids. To remake, prep the eyes first with a primer or a small amount of concealer set with powder. Apply mascara first to the upper lashes, and let it slightly transfer on to the lower lashes. Using a black gel liner and angled liner brush, draw a line of inky color onto 3/4 of the length of your lash line, leaving the inner eye area bare. Extend slightly beyond the natural finishing point on the outer corner to elongate the eye. Switch to a small eye brush and draw graphic strokes on the lid. Have fun with it but contain the liner art to the outer lid where it can reach the brow. Restrict your art on the inner corner. Keep it simple. Sparkle Pout: From Lady Gaga to Givenchy, the glitter pout has been getting lots of play lately. If you ask me, it’s the perfect way to accent an otherwise bare face for a party or club outing. We gave Laura glitter-flecked, ruby-colored lips that recalled Dorothy’s famous heels in the Wizard Of Oz—now if only Hollywood Boulevard was a yellow-brick road. Start with a clean canvas by applying concealer around the lip line. Then, using a lip brush, fill in your client’s pout with a red lipstick like my DéVine Goddess in Aphrodite. Define your work with a red lip pencil, and accentuate the natural lip line for more drama. Add your red glitter—any costume shop variety will do—with a brush, making sure to use a tapping motion to set. The creamy texture of the lipstick will keep the glitter in place. Ask your client to tilt their head down and blow slightly to remove excess glitter. In a word: show-stopping.

In 1995, celebrity makeup artist Napoleon Perdis debuted his line of cosmetics and launched his first concept store and Makeup Academy in Sydney. Today, Napoleon Perdis has 59 stand-alone concept stores and more than 800 point-of-sale locations across Australia and New Zealand. In the U.S., the brand has three Napoleon Perdis stores and is sold in select independent retailers. Celebrity fans of the brand include Jessica Szohr, Lady Gaga, Becki Newton, Debra Messing, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, Shenae Grimes, Whitney Port, Adrienne Bailon and more.