jeudi 26 mars 2009

Heidi Morawetz

Heidi Morawetz has every make-up artist’s dream job. As creative director of Chanel’s make-up studio in Paris, she gets paid to play - her favourite word - with glitter and gloss, shimmer and shine in pursuit of beauty’s Next Big Thing.

Working closely with Dominique Moncourtois - international make-up director at Chanel since the introduction of its skincare and cosmetics ranges back in the Seventies - Morawetz is responsible for creating the “face” of each season, first glimpsed by the fashion and beauty pack on the ready to wear runway.

The same colours seen on the catwalk comprise the “Look Of The Show”, Chanel’s seasonal make-up collection, of which the star product is the edition ephémère - a one-off, catch-it-while-you-can lip gloss, eyeshadow palette or nail polish which routinely results in lengthy waiting lists and desperate phone calls to stores overseas.

It was Morawetz who created Chanel’s infamous Rouge Noir nail polish - otherwise known as Vamp - for the autumn/winter 1994 catwalk. The blood red shade which launched a thousand lookalikes - concocted moments before the start of the show by mixing black and red polish - remains the company’s bestselling colour and is credited as starting the whole nail-polish-as-fashion-accessory trend. ‘Rouge Noir was just the beginning,’ says Morawetz. ‘After that, everyone started doing crazy things with nail polish and now it is being worn in a different way - more like jewels. It’s become much more fun, for those wearing it and for us making it.’

Dubbed “The Autumn Of A Thousand And One Lights”, Chanel’s autumn/winter 2000 make-up collection won’t disappoint those hoping to sparkle or smoulder during the millennium celebrations. For the catwalk, no less than 80 models were transformed into pale-faced, futuristic rock chicks with heavy, smudgy kohl-rimmed eyes - ‘like The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde,’ laughs Morawetz - and glittery cheeks and lips, using the new season’s limited edition must-have, Eclats Cosmiques (£16), a creamy, coppery lip and cheek colour with a central core of silver glitter.

‘We try not to do exactly the same thing on every girl,’ explains Morawetz, who - with her team of backstage make-up artists - adapted the “Look Of The Show” to suit a flock of familiar faces, including Kirsty Hume, Stella Tennant, Esther Canadas, Gisele Bundchen, Bridget Hall, Trish Goff, Erin O’ Connor and Maggie Rizer. ‘Each girl has her own personality and we try to respect that. We decide what we are going to do before the show, at the fittings, and write everything down on lots of little pieces of paper - who looks better with stronger lips or heavier eyes ... This time, I had more notes than usual, and we had a 5.30 am start.’

While the new colours will not hit counters until September 6 - nail polish addicts should get their orders in now for Le Vernis (£11.50) in glittery Satellite and Lacque Reflet Immédiat (£11.50) in Opalin, a super-shimmery, light-reflective top coat - Morawetz, is already working with Dominique Moncourtois on their vision for spring/summer 2000.

‘I love going into the labs, trying out fun new stuff and playing with special effects,’ she enthuses. ‘Everything around me inspires me - plastic, metal, mirrors, leather - and I’m always working with the labs to try and translate a certain special effect into the make-up. I’ll take in a piece of fabric or plastic wrapping paper, for example, and see if we can do something great with it. The other day, I took in a piece of taffeta because I liked the way the colour changes depending on how you look at it. I’d like to do something with that for the spring nail colours. And the technology today is really wonderful, we have these incredible pigments now which are surrounded by moisturisers so they glide onto the skin and never feel heavy.’

Despite the fact that she has been with Chanel for 18 years - she was working as freelance make-up artist and stylist when Moncourtois snapped her up - Morawetz talks about make-up with all the passion and excitement of a teenager discovering it for the first time, smearing stripes of creamy colour on to the back of her hand and sprinkling it with glitter to demonstrate an “incredible texture” or “fun special effect” of an eyeshadow or lip shine.

‘I went to art school in Vienna and have always loved drawing and painting - I was always very bad at mathematics!’ she laughs. ‘Playing with make-up is like a game. If you’re good at it, you can make someone’s personality shine through.’

An impossibly youthful fiftysomething, Morawetz’s radiant looks are testament to Coco Chanel’s philosophy that “the real aim of make-up is not to adorn but to beautify; and whenever that goal is achieved, the face takes on the look of youth.”

What essentials wouldn’t she be without? ‘A black crayon for my eyes - I like it when it’s slightly smudged - and a very sheer foundation, our Teint Caresse in Radieux, with a little loose powder on the top.’ She has also been dipping into the new lip and cheek glitter. ‘I just put it on my lips for a little fun, although of course when you are young, everything is permitted,’ she laughs. ‘Whatever a woman’s age, make-up should be a pleasure to use, it shouldn’t be hard work or a question of thinking “Oh, I have to throw some make-up on”.’

Although Morawetz was not involved with the formulation of the company’s new state-of-the-art skincare range, Précision - launching worldwide on September 20 - she was given products to try during the development stages. ‘They get me to test everything because I have very sensitive skin,’ she says. ‘I also have to make sure that a moisturiser, for example, will work with foundation on top.’

The Demaquillant Biphase eye make-up remover - a must-have for autumn/winter rock chicks who don’t want to ruin their pillows - is a firm favourite. ‘In one second, everything’s gone - at the shows, I need something which is really good and really fast,’ she says.

So, along with two-tone, taffeta-inspired nail polishes, what else can we expect next year? ‘The year 2000 will be all about our earth and the opposites in our environment,’ offers Morawetz cryptically. ‘The North and South Pole, hot and cold ... it’s going to be very beautiful.’ And you just know you’ll have to have it.

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