A new archive goes behind the scenes of the celebrity artist’s most famous shoots and collaborations
Long before Pinterest was a thing, artists used scrapbooks as their mood boards. And there are no hotter scrapbooks than right now than those of the late Kevyn Aucoin, makeup artist to the stars.
While many of us are slowly rediscovering their makeup bags after months of barefaced lockdown chic, New York’s Makeup Museum has been busy creating a digital archive of Aucoin’s journals. Festooned with notes, memorabilia, Polaroids and contact-sheets of A-list clients including Liza Minelli, Tina Turner, Barbra Streisand, Janet Jackson – and more supermodels than you can shake an Hervé Léger bandage dress at – the never-seen-before journals are expected to captivate as many photography fans as fashionistas, with heavyweight lensman including Irving Penn, Steven Meisel and Richard Avedon.
Aucoin complied the scrapbooks between 1983 and 1994, which now offer charmingly analogue insights into not only the fashion industry, but this small-town Louisiana boy whose fierce talent thrust him into the most gilded of circles before his untimely death in 2002 at the age of 40. His enthusiastic scribbles appear to jump off the pages, adding ever more layers to a legacy that includes an eponymous makeup line, self-authored makeup artistry books and the 2017 Netflix documentary Beauty and the Beast in Me.
The museum was meant to open on May 1, except, well, you know. Still, there’s plenty to enjoy on its Instagram page before it makes its postponed debut later this year, with the inaugural “Pink Jungle: 1950s Makeup in America” exhibition that explores the birth of the modern makeup industry though iconic ad campaigns and ruby-lipped Hollywood stars of the era.
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