For better or worse, brighter eyes, a snatched face, juicer pout, and radiant, airbrushed skin are just some of the siren calls of Instagram and Tiktok’s beauty filters today. Face filters offer the fantasy and instant gratification minus the commitment of experimental make-up and hair transformations.
“Filters are such a fun way of experimenting with make-up and they mean that everyone can try out bold looks, even if they don’t have access to materials, time or expertise. They can also inspire you to be a little bolder and more experimental in real life too,” says make-up artist, Verity Cumming on the merits of face filters in a season where beauty has effectively been in lockdown. And with in-store testing banned thanks to the pandemic, AR face filters have also been a way for pivoting beauty brands to phygitally connect with audiences who love virtually trying-on lipsticks, hair dyes, foundations, and more. But what if we took these wild and wonderful looks offline, bringing back textures and the art of making up?
“I really enjoyed bringing these looks to life for Vogue Singapore, and I wanted to bring a playful approach to the process,” says Cumming on the striking looks she created with photographer Johanna Nyholm. “I used a huge variety of materials, textures and techniques to create a diverse set of looks; finger painting, layering tissue, fresh flowers and latex—really using the face as a canvas. It is such a great way to experiment and see the joy, fun and humour in make-up, which to me is what it’s all about.”
Create an above-the-mask eye statement with wet-look latex adornments, seen here. Cumming used a special effects gel to fashion wavy accents and paired them with exuberant anthuriums.
“I love the texture of latex and how it looks almost wet on the skin,” shares Cumming. “I was interested in the idea of combining this with the anthurium, a flower whose waxy texture makes it look almost artificial. I used a gel product typically used in special effects makeup to create the little wavy pieces. You can melt and shape this product and it then sets very quickly and retains this amazing shiny texture. I mixed in red and white pigments to the gel while it was in liquid form to achieve the marbled effect, and placed them around Jay Jay’s eye once dried.”
Organic shapes, swirling motifs… with pearl accents rife on social media, Vogue Singapore returns to the source with this nacre-accented cheek, as studded pearls frame the face.
“I wanted to use pearls in this look we created for Xalan, and when thinking about them, I was reminded of the fascinating patterns you find inside shells. The colours and swirling motifs are so beautiful, and I wanted to incorporate this to create a look which was organic but also very striking. I used foils which are usually intended for nail art to create the shell pattern on the face, and studded the pearls around almost as though they were piercings,” says Cumming.
“I had recently been looking at a series of photographs of deep space, and they were so mesmerising. I wanted to achieve a spattering of stars all over Jay Jay’s face, and I did this very freely just building up the look as I went and creating clusters in some areas, more sparsity in others—just feeling it out as I went. I used a combination of different sized crystals and dots of Danessa Myricks Colorfix paints in gold and silver.”
Toile and Trouble
Toile de Jouy, but make it au courant. Cummings remixed the 18th century pastoral print with translucent pops of colour that appear to wash over the face.
“The toile look was actually created using tissue paper, which I cut into patterns and adhered using a special prosthesis glue which is similar in consistency to PVA,” says Cumming. “It was almost like papier-mâché for the face. I was inspired by collage techniques and I loved the way in which the glue turned the tissue transparent and produced an interesting coloured layered effect on the skin.”
Photographer: Johanna Nyholm
Make-up artist: Verity Cumming
Beauty director: Alli Sim
Art director: Henry Thomas Lloyd
Hair: Declan Sheils
Make-up artist assistant: Faye Bluff
Casting director: Miro Raynov
Retouching: Noonchi Studio
Models: Jay Jay Bol / Wilhelmina, Kat Wu / Premier, Xalan E / Wilhelmina, Olivia Shelton / Models1