Liza! Barbra! The Supers! We can’t get enough of Kevyn Aucoin’s scrapbook journals

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.

 

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Photos courtesy of the Makeup Museum/ Kevyn Aucoin's Journals. Header photo: interior spread from March 1993 with images of Kevyn Aucoin with Janet Jackson, Tina Turner, and Aucoin's niece Samantha; above, red exterior of Kevyn Aucoin's 1984 Journal (with Animal Rights Activists sticker and personal photos affixed)

 

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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"Kevyn's journals reveal that none of the extraordinary experiences in his life were taken for granted," says @troysurratt who is the Protégé of Kevyn Aucoin and Advisor to the Makeup Museum. "The journals are beautifully detailed documentation of days filled with a lot of gratitude, and I've always believed that Kevyn was fully aware of the importance and magnitude of the work that he was doing. He was thrilled and proud of all that he had accomplished." In this sweet behind-the-scenes image, Aucoin is hand in hand with the one and only @tinaturner at her photoshoot for @vanityfair in 1993 in Los Angeles. Follow along here, and with the Makeup Museum’s new iOS app, for all of the exclusive images from the enthralling new Kevyn Aucoin digital archive, lovingly preserved in partnership with the family of Kevyn Aucoin.

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