Behind the scenes: Keying the fashion shows

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Behind the scenes: Keying the fashion shows

Fashion week is an organized chaos, where powder and tempers fly in equal measure and having a zen like ability to turn it to your advantage and use it as an energy source is a must.

This is why I love keying and being part of fashion shows, and why being surrounded by panicked designers, late models, fashion disasters and all other (to us) natural occurrences is something that becomes part of the rhythm of this awesome dance.

We, as the creative team, are there to offer the designer our support and that is not the time to fall apart. Fashion shows are not for weak of heart.
When I say make up “key”, I often get a sideways “huh?” from non industry folk, so to clarify the term, “key” means the person in charge of the Makeup team, helping the designer create the make up look for the show.
A Makeup designer of sorts, followed with a team of make up artists who help re-create the already decided on look.

I still chuckle at my first assistants’ declaration after our first make up test with a designer “Please promise me I never have to do this, I thought this is just showing up and doing make up”.

You see, you have to know the art of compromise, be a great politician, and be able to absorb all of the information, opinions, worry and translate it all into a final look that is perfect for the collection, and keep your integrity intact at the same time.

Early in my career, out of a desire to please, I would sometimes do everything that was asked of me, and I did not follow my instinct, the results were disastrous.

I have learned my lesson and now and I’m confident that I was hired on a job for my skill and talent, and if I know, as a professional, that something will not work right that was asked of me, I will speak up.
Being the great Key Makeup Artist is knowing how to convey your message and not get flustered or be offensive in the process.

You will often be asked to change things, sometimes drastically away from your original ideas, at this point, understanding team dynamic and taking other people’s creative ideas and incorporating them in the final look is big part of the process (unless you are working with your husband, then you just pout until you get your way :)).

You have to have ability to deal with that in professional and diplomatic manner. Just in everyday life, importance of communication is crucial.

After looks are decided, you have to take that communication further and be able to successfully lead team of makeup artists  that will support you in this great journey.
Your team is your heart.  Even one negative energy can throw the balance off.  Your make up crew/team is a reflection of you, it can ultimately make you look bad.
There is a saying,  “You only get invited once”, so assembling a good team is a process that takes few turns, but once you get it right, it is golden. I am so grateful to them.

When I was on the makeup teams myself I never forgot I was there to support the Key, and I took pride in it. It is a great time to bond with your peers and great learning moment as well.

Doing your homework, organizing, making face charts and being prepared its crucial to smooth sailing.
When you know your stuff, and your base core is solid, there is nothing that can scare you.
Things happen and ability to think on ones feet is dependent of how well you know what you’re doing.
You are not only representing the designer and yourself but also sometimes your makeup sponsor, so being knowledgeable about the product and who the company is – it’s a must.

So next time you see all of those gorgeous models strolling down the runway in their sleek and peaceful manner, remember, behind the scenes it is a hive of people making it happen.
Sleek and peaceful it is not, but if you are confident in your ability and have love for it as much as I do, all that noise and all that chaos becomes the melody for a great dance.

Here is little video behind the scenes of some of my shows



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