Makeup a work of art

Backstage magic at Wellington Fashion Week

HANNAH MCKEE
Last updated 05:00 09/04/2014
makeup

BEHIND THE SCENES: Olivia Wild, Wellington Fashion Week's makeup director, manages a team of artists working on 12-30 models before a show. "It's a lot of work." Fashion Week kicks off today.

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Wellington Fashion Week shows off its public face today, but as makeup director Olivia Wild knows, there's just as much excitement and hard work backstage as there is on the catwalk.

Wild's interest in the industry began while growing up in Alexandra – a place she admits is hardly known for its high fashion. "I was always looking at fashion magazines and being inspired by different creative people and what they were doing."

She took it upon herself to use the title makeup director for the first time in Stage Challenge at high school, before leaving for Denmark.

"I came back and it had really ignited a passion for makeup artistry after seeing fashion in Europe. I have been doing it for 11 years now and worked in all facets of the industry, from music videos to shows, and I also teach at a polytech. I've done it all, basically."

Wild, who has lived in Wellington for five years, has been directing makeup at Wellington Fashion Week since its inception in 2012.

This year she has delegated most of the shows to freelance artists and past students, acting as their mentor.

Directing the makeup side of a show includes managing a team of artists working on 12-30 models before a show, making sure it all runs to time and that each one looks the same.

"It's a lot of work. The longest look would have been the Swarovski lip for last year's World show, which involved individually sticking crystals on, and they're quite expensive, so you can't drop them on the floor."

The makeup director has a big impact on how hectic backstage can be. "It also depends on your team. If you're working with professionals, which I do, and everyone's very focused, then it can be as calm as possible."

So what are the upcoming makeup trends? Bold lips? Thick brows? Ghost-like?

"There's definitely trends with makeup, but you don't want to follow all trends. They're not going to suit every skin type and age. Go with what makes you look and feel the best, that's the best thing to do."

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