Bold Strokes: High-Glamour Makeup For The Festive Season

M.A.C senior artist Kiekie Stanners makes a convincing case for high-octane beauty looks that make us want to experiement and simply have fun

Photography / Guy Coombes for Ensemble

This story and shoot was originally published on Ensemble

"We've seen a trend towards natural, fresh makeup that always starts in fashion and follows through into street styling.  A trend for barely there, luxe-looking skin as a beauty statement within itself. However after this tumultuous year the need for self-expression and heightened beauty in an artistic way seems to be even more favoured.

After time at home and not having the opportunity to glam up to go out, it feels so right to take inspiration from the high-glamour eras of the past as a celebration for makeup. I think we're ready for some fun and fabulousness in makeup application, and the confidence to use it in a fashionable self-expressive way. I embrace a comeback that sees a return to sophisticated elegance, potentially a mood that feels a bit more mature and grown-up.

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Why not experiment with some heightened makeup application just for fun? I figure the whole point of crafting your makeup look is to be an extension of your personal styling statement. And in these times and after this year, why not be a little more light-hearted/less contrived in your application and try something new!"

What's your advice for someone who wants to experiment with playful makeup but hasn’t necessarily worn it much?

"Start with baby steps! Keep it to one focus feature on the face to begin with. Ease into colour by wearing a bold lip to begin with. Then start to play with creating a colourful eye as an alternative.

The easiest playful colours to introduce on the eyes are tones that sit harmoniously on the skin – think pinks, peaches, oranges and yellows, that way they will never look harsh and blend more seamlessly than cooler colours. Ensure you have prepped your skin so it’s even and your colour tones don’t look out of place.

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And give yourself some time! Don’t try and experiment with colourful makeup when you are rushing out the door for an important event. Allow time to play, blend and watch a tutorial in the process if need be!"

Photography / Guy Coombes for Ensemble

"I wanted to create a full noise, disco glam look on Sabina - Studio 54/Antonio Lopez vibes.

On her eyes she wears the M.A.C Dazzleshadow Liquid in Panthertized with Powder Kiss Soft Matte eye shadow in Fall In Love and So Haute Right Now. On the cheeks is an expert blend of M.A.C Pro Face Palette in Bright Blush and Pro Face Palette: IlluminateM.A.C Clear Lipglass is applied over the bold Retro Matte Liquid Lip in Feels So Grand."

Photography / Guy Coombes for Ensemble

Let's talk about blush - do you see it making a comeback?

"Blush can be fun – a quick easy way to add healthiness to the face and a shot of colour if you are feeling slightly flat. While I’m not sure a strong '80s blush contour will be hitting the streets anytime soon, a natural sweep of coloured blush along the apples is a staple in lifting the face.

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I’m a huge fan of always applying blush – contour or bronzing is nice at giving the face dimension however the pop of colour from a blush does wonders to give a warmth and radiance. For something fool-proof to use try M.A.C Glow Play Blush in Cheeky Devil."

Photography / Guy Coombes for Ensemble

"The inspiration for Rainer swings between a glam Siouxsie Sioux and Motley Crue does disco.

The ultra shiny statement eye is a blend of M.A.C Dazzleshadow Liquid in Rayon RaysDazzleshadow Extreme eyeshadow in Kiss of KlimtBrushstroke 24-Hour Liner and a classic M.A.C eyeshadow in Carbon. On the cheeks is the Pro Face Palette in Bright Blush, and on the lips are mix of Retro Matte Liquid Lip Colour in Fashion Legacy and Clear Lipglass."

Photography / Guy Coombes for Ensemble

What’s the appeal of shiny, glossy red lips - and what would your tips be for translating this at home?

"A glossy, juicy, vinyl-red lip is my absolute favourite beauty statement – a look that will forever transpire a particularly powerful mood. Of course it isn’t the easiest to maintain but there are tricks to use to ensure the best wearability.

Prep the lips with a primer (M.A.C Prep + Prime Lip) for a smooth canvas. Use a long-wear red lip product to minimise transfer (M.A.C Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Fashion Legacy). Apply a clear gloss over the top, focussing more thru the centre of the lips to keep it in place over the course of the evening. By using a clear gloss, even if it does transfer slightly there isn’t a pigment within it to create red feathering around the lips."

How should you prep skin for a full-on makeup look?

"Creating a perfect base is key for any makeup application – when skin looks good anything that is added over top is going to work. Take the time to perfect your foundation. Don’t skip on the skincare and primer, and even out skin tone with a foundation/concealer to minimise any discolouration.

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To ensure your high-octane makeup look is carried well it’s best to apply a bit of coverage, even if you don’t normally wear it so natural warmth/redness in skin tone is minimised and the vibrant eye makeup/lipstick colours applied can be the standout feature."

Photography / Guy Coombes for Ensemble

"It was all about jewelled toned eyes for Isabella - something that strikes up a reference of early Jerry Hall exuding supermodel qualities way before her time.

On the eyes is the M.A.C Dazzleshadow Extreme Eye Shadow in Emerald Cut, classic Eye Shadow in In the Shadows and Powder Blush in Saucy Miss. The M.A.C Pro Face Palette in Bright Blush is on the cheeks, with Retro Matte Liquid Lip Colour in Dance With Me and Clear Lipglass."

Fun shimmery eyeshadow - how should one approach it for evening, vs. day?

"A shimmer eye is always perfect for evening, especially coming up to the holiday season, and a time when you can wear it full noise. But for day wear, try wearing a high-intensity version just along the lashline as a liner – this way you can celebrate all things sparkly and glamorous but as a feature it doesn’t over-power the rest of the face or feel too out of place in natural day light.

Experiment with M.A.C Dazzleshadow Liquid Eyeshadows – a paint on metallic shadow that works equally well all over the eyelid or concentrated as a liner. Try Pantherized (midnight purple) or Rayon Rays (bronze shimmer)."

Makeup artist and creative directorr  / Kiekie Stanners for M.A.C Cosmetics. Photographer / Guy Coombes. Hair / Sean Mahoney from Colleen
Models / Sabina at 62 Management, Rainer at N Model Management, Isabella at Unique Model Management

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