Creative Direction: Sarah Bassett
Photo: Conan Thai
Makeup: Colleen Runne
Hair: Cash Lawless
It’s always such a treat to work with Cash and Colleen who together have an unspoken sense for transgressions in beauty standards that can yield romantically dark and outworldly results.
We came from a variety of sources ranging from sharkmouth paint jobs on fighter jets, clowns from the 1920s, Kubrickian stares, and Glasgow grins (sometimes known as Chelsea or Cheshire smiles). Blended together, we arrived at a strange new world, exciting and frightening at the same time.
Everything circles back to youth – the days spent running around in capes or facepaint are days well spent. It’s always a welcome break from risk-averse creatives who default back to simplistic “bold, red lips and dewy skin” for beauty imagery.
My creativity comes from someone, in this case Conan, creating restraints and having walls to work within. Conan is great at bringing inspiring imagery to set up those restraints. Sometimes the vision is really clear beforehand but the day of the shoot can throw curve balls, which it did. When we found out we had only 3 hours to shoot, things changed drastically. I loved the abstract but didn’t want the hair to be the primary element that defined this character. The way it came to together was just getting my hands moving and not really consciously knowing where I was going with it. Under pressure, it removes me from the real world and becomes kind of a trip to look at the final images not really understanding what happened.
For the shoot, I drew from several inspirational references I had pulled: WWII Flying Tiger war planes, Perou’s extreme clown portraits, Tim Burton illustrations, ancient pagan armour and war paint to the masks for Alexander McQueen’s SS 15 show. I wanted the makeup to have a beautiful weirdness to it, surreal with an element of off-beat warrior paint armour using the stocking face and mask. I carved & lacquered the black mask from a plastic mold. I used MAC’s Chromaline pencils, Paint Stick and Acrylics for my medium to execute the rest of the looks.