Isamaya Ffrench is a makeup artist. She is also a genius. A genius! It is not an exaggeration to say that she has taken the form to entirely new and unexpected places. In her capable hands, the term "makeup artist" itself is as elastic as the impossible faces she pulls.
Ffrench has worked with major companies like YSL and Tom Ford, but she may be best known for her editorial work, which she showcases on her gleefully psychotic Instagram (she only follows five people, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Nathan Fielder). And she's had quite the fashion month so far.
In New York, Ffrench did the makeup at Eckhaus Latta, turning models' faces into something equivalent to a mixed-up painter's palette. She unveiled her work for Kylie Jenner's cover of Dazed Beauty, in which Jenner's face appears to be smudged away by a computer program.
But she's really hitting her stride in London, her home base. Over the weekend, Ffrench did the makeup for both Vivienne Westwood and Ashish's fall 2019 shows, creating singular looks for both. Westwood's show centered on themes of sustainability, including a monologue from Rose McGowan about the scarily warming Earth (which is vaguely hilarious considering that the fashion industry, no matter how sustainable the line, is horrifically damaging to the environment). Ffrench was free to play. To signify plastic's chokehold over our planet, she created masks covering models' faces. It looked like saran wrap that washed up on the beach. She also used prosthetics to create different characters — notably Pinocchio. I guess it's a metaphor for our many leaders who seem to be lying about the impact of global warming? Who knows!
Ashish is also a designer concerned about consumer culture and global politics. He also loves a sequin. And so for the makeup, Ffrench dug into the sparkles, creating disco ball lids and lips that stretch beyond even the possibilities of Kira Kira (one of the models to sport the look is PAPER favorite Uglyworldwide). So shiny! This video she posted of model Aweng Chuol dancing while painted in gold glitter is pretty iconic.
And she made these spectacular gold foil cat eyes for disco lover Michael Halpern.
What a visionary!
Photo via Imaxtree