Jazz up your looks

By Janetta Mackay

Updated 1920s-era styling is all the rage for modern-day glamour girls

Makeup designer Maurizio Silvi (with Carey Mulligan) created the glamorous look for the 'The Great Gatsby'. Photo / Supplied
Makeup designer Maurizio Silvi (with Carey Mulligan) created the glamorous look for the 'The Great Gatsby'. Photo / Supplied

They partied the decade away like it was one long New Year's Eve, now a new generation of bright young things is being drawn to the shiny style seen in The Great Gatsby.

Flapper-influenced beauty looks are an influential trend on the red carpet, thanks partly to the buzz created by the latest film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel, out here in cinemas from June 6. The film's makeup designer, Maurizio Silvi, told Viva he thought the film's release would only increase the 1920s "remarkable imprint" on fashion and beauty and its current comeback in popularity.

The era continues to echo because its spirit of optimism chimes well with modern women, he says. Its strong, classic beauty looks, as seen in the movie, work best as updates rather than period piece recreations. Silvi worked on set with M.A.C cosmetics, using both commercially available and professional products.

Viva asked him to explain a little more about the enduring appeal of the looks he fashioned for stars including Carey Mulligan (who plays Daisy Buchanan) Elizabeth Debicki (Jordan Baker) and Isla Fisher (Myrtle Wilson).

Why do you feel makeup looks from the 1920s are still popular?

Among the fashions that will remain forever in history, that of the 20s is the highest expression of class and beauty. This era encompassed years of revolution, unconventionality and renewal. The makeup is very refined and is based upon one of the most classic contrasts, red and black.

From my own experience over the years, I see how makeup follows fashion and cinema and how both of these elements come into play with how actresses look at the moment.

What is The Great Gatsby influence?

The 20s in the United States are characterised by a generalised euphoria, not only in the wealth of artistic and cultural ferment but also in how women expressed themselves. It was a time of full expression in literature, cinema, fashion, music and dance known as the jazz age.

Women began to wear more makeup than years prior. They celebrated the age of the "flapper girls" as a female declaration of independence. They also began to take more risk in their makeup: pale skin, smoky eyes, bolder lips, curvy eyebrows, lots of mascara and rosy cheeks.

This is the sixth film version of the novel. How have the makeup looks changed?

The looks have definitely transcended over the years because each of the six films was made during different time periods. When you see this version of the film you will notice the predominant taste and creativity of [director] Baz Luhrmann, and the contemporary approach he brings to the material.

Did Luhrmann and/or costume designer Catherine Martin have any specific creative direction for the makeup?

Baz approaches directing his films like a painter, giving strong priority to the looks of each character. In his mind, makeup is one of the key elements used to depict love, struggle, pain and romance. His vision for makeup is strictly linked to the harmonised costumes and light used throughout the film, giving each character a strong and powerful soul. During the first meetings we had with Baz and Catherine, we viewed several images and paintings that depicted the fashion, hair and makeup of that specific historical moment in time. We then carried out makeup tests with the main characters and extras.

Daisy Buchanan was played by the striking Mia Farrow in 1974 and now by Carey Mulligan, but can all women wear the Gatsby look?

Throughout the film you will see several different hair colour shades, from blond to red to black to brunette. I'm sure that everyone can adapt a Gatsby look that suits them best. The costumes in the film, designed by Catherine Martin and, most importantly, new cosmetic collections, propose classic and elegant lines and I think that will influence what will be a season characterised by beauty.

What are the key M.A.C products used to create the Gatsby looks?

When we started preparing for the film, my department and I had to choose which products to use for the two main parties: what we referred to as the "glam" party and the "sad and tawdry" party. We based each character's makeup looks around their costume and hair colour, using Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 foundation on those with paler skins and, for darker skins, Matchmaster foundation.

Eye makeup, we always started with Prep + Prime Eye in Light to keep the shadows vibrant and lasting. A custom eyeshadow palette was created with shades in Scene, Contrast, Nehru, and Club in various colour combination for most of the party looks. Pigments in Copper, Rose Gold and Antique Green were also used on the lids to pop the eyes. (The colours chosen were inspired by the cars of the period). Eyes were lined with Eye Kohl in Smolder and Feline and always blended out to appear "smudgy".

For the lips, we used different lipstick colours depending on the character: Cremsheen Lipstick in Hang-Up, Lipstick in Film Noir, Media, Ruby Woo, and Desire. Lip Pencils included Cherry, Half-Red and Currant. Chromagraphic Pencil (in NC15/NW20) was sometimes used to define the lip line and block out corners of the mouth to create the popular 20s shape.

Eyebrows were as important as the lip shapes to the makeup designs and were coloured and shaped in with pencils (try M.A.C Brow Pencil in Fling).

- VIVA

- NZ Herald

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