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Skin is Canvas for Mehron UK

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Creating beautiful images on someone’s skin for a canvas is nothing new for talented body painters Sarah Ashleigh and Branka Vorkapic.  They’ve been doing this for years.Mehron UK back skyline

Recently invited to body paint some British themed artwork for Mehron UK, Sarah and Branka created a look to depict the ‘Best of British’ and then painted their human canvasses using the fabulous Mehron Paradise AQ makeup.  Designing a scene of the London skyline on the backs of the girls was the first part of the image, using a number of the fabulous metallic colours. Mehron Body Paint Creation On the front, Branka suggested (in perfect timing with the vote to keep Scotland part of the UK, the Union Jack was painted.  Male model Sam was the body painted up as one of the Queen’s Guards – and later on that day posed in London’s famous Carnaby Street for a few photos too.

“I’ve loved face painting since I was a little girl and always been arty” Sarah told me.  She completed a degree in specialist make up at West Thames College, where she went on to discover more about the world of body painting.  At that point, you can pretty much say she fell in love with it.

Since then, Sarah’s amazing creative work has seen her body painting and providing make up for fancy dress, parties, corporate events and advertising as well as appearing in magazines.  She’s even (despite being embarrassed about her appearance) been on ITV’s This Morning with Alan Titchmarsh!  “I love visiting the World Body Painting Festival in Austria every year and came 2nd in the student category when I was studying”.

Meeting up with her ‘co pilot’ Branka, Sarah says was a lucky move for her.  The two now frequently work together, their skills complimenting each other perfectly.   Last year they entered the World body painting festival competition and placed 23rd in the world for brush and sponge category.  The girls were our only British finalists!

I’ve seen Sarah and Branka in action and both are amazing in their work.  Their use of colour and detail and creativity is clear to see, and it’s also obvious why they work so well together.  I can’t wait to see their next project!

And Mehron – How did it all start for Mehron?
Mehron Melik founded Mehron Inc. in 1927 in New York City, just off Broadway, right in the heart of the theatre district. Mehron Body PaintPerfectly located, Mehron catered for the makeup needs of the artists and performers in theatre, vaudeville, burlesque, opera, ballet, and silent films.  Slightly later, after the start of WWII, Mehron devoted his talents and expertise to helping severely disfigured soldiers learn how to use makeup products to camouflage their scars, wounds and burns.

During the 1950’s and 1960’s, the entertainment business began to migrate across the United States. In order to keep pace, the distribution of professional quality makeup products shifted to retail outlets and hundreds of stores became Mehron dealers  In 1971, Mehron’s son, Martin Melik, assumed control of the family business. He implemented new methods of promotion and distribution, expanded and improved the Mehron product line, and ushered in a new era of aggressive growth and customer service.

2012 marked the 85th year of operation for Mehron, and today, a diverse group of over 3,000 retail specialty stores carries the Mehron brand of products, worldwide. Brand distribution is supported by a select group of full-line, full-service stocking distributors in the United States, U.K., Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Germany, France, Switzerland, Australia, Malaysia, Korea and Hong Kong.Mehron Palette

The UK stockist – Mehron UK commissioned this British themed body paint shoot using Paradise Makeup AQ.  The body paint is semi-soft, water activated moist cake makeup co-created with Mehron by Jinny Houle, World Renowned Body Painting Artist. Paradise is the makeup that thrust body painting into a new dimension with its wide selection of dynamic colours. Because it is water activated, the hues of the colours can be controlled by the artist. Professional body painters and face painters love the ease of application and the ability to fully control the depth of the colours.  With a huge colour range that goes from bold, striking matt to brilliant metallic sheens, and the well known coconut scent, Mehron’s Paradise Makeup AQ is world famous.  As a brand, Mehron makes products specifically for commercial theatrical, educational, motion picture, television, video, opera, clowning, Halloween, and face painting markets, with their products sold in over 25 countries worldwide.  Today, many large productions including Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil, The Metropolitan Opera, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and The American Ballet Theatre depend on Mehron products to look their best and performers such as the Black Eyed Peas, Hilary Duff and Pink are brand fans.


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Can’t Live Without – NUDESTIX Magnetic Eye Pencil

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It’s an essential in my own makeup bag! 

I love eye shadows that actually last throughout the day.  Creamy pencils that blend easily but stay in place and don’t crease.  And, after trying it out, I love this one – NUDESTIX Magnetic Eye Color Pencil

“A long wearing eye shadow pencil that highlights, provides intense colour, precise lining and primes lids for all day wear.”NUDESTIX Magnetic Eye Colour Pencil

I’ve been usng Twilight – a nude, natural soft shade as a base eye shadow colour on it’s own for a daytime look, or blended with shimmers and darker shades for a more smoky night time look .

It applies perfectly and blends so easily.  It comes in a cute little tin and the jumbo size pencil also comes with it’s own pencil sharpener too.

NUDESTIX Available from Amazon Beauty – £24

Backstage with Bora Aksu SS15

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“The buzz around Bora Aksu is ever-growing; it’s easy to see why.” Vogue


Bora Aksu SS15 Katrina Stamp“All that romantic poetry, painting and music could express, she could express in her dancing.”

From Queen Victoria’s collection of paper dolls, the one she called Madame Taglioni, in honour of ballerina Marie Taglioni, struck the right note with Bora Aksu.  The young Queen was in awe of Marie’s talent and grace and it’s her rise to celebrated dancer that has choreographed Bora Aksu’s Spring Summer 2015 collection.

Initially disregarded as a potential ballerina, Marie’s father was angered by the rejection of his young daughter.  He vowed she would become the most beautiful dancer the world had ever seen, and so, under her father’s tutelage she became the first to dance ‘en pointe’ and become universally celebrated.Bora Aksu Collection SS15

The background for this collection was based on white to keep the lightness in accordance with Marie’s dance. Cottons, silks and organza have been manipulated together to create softness and transparency.  Shades of peach and pink reference classic ballerina tones, while even darker shades of black, cobalt and lilac blues have been used, their light, feather-weight feel is kept.

Despite her glamorous stage appearance, a life of isolation and hardship remained for Marie and this contrast is brought through with textures.  Crochet in white tones creates purity, while the knotted techniques recreate the heavy presence of her private demons.  Throughout the hand-made embroideries and crochets a dragon fly motif is used to represent the transformation of beauty in Marie’s life. This also carries through to the first collection of Bora Aksu eyewear designed by TD Tom Davies.

Bora Aksu Halo & CoThere is lightness and innocence to this collection with fluid movements of silks, tulles and organza.  Separates are mixed with playful dresses and protective layers of cotton embroidery.

Fitting to an inspiration of a Queen, Halo & Co have created a bespoke collection of handcrafted jewellery featuring sparkling Swarovski crystals and delicate fabrics from the collection, perfectly matching and enhancing his work.

Bora Aksu’s Spring Summer 2015 collection is a tribute to the delicacy of Queen Victoria’s paper dolls, and the grace and power of Marie Taglioni.  In a light and fresh collection, Bora’s own ballerina takes flight.Bora Aksu


London based, Turkish designer Bora Aksu received his first acclaim when he graduated from Central St Martin’s MA in 2002. Hailed as ‘the star of the show’ by The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent, Bora’s collection also attracted the eye of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana who purchased pieces to use as inspiration.  Not a bad start!

Building on this, he made his debut off-schedule show at London Fashion Week in February 2003, and again The Guardian recognised his talent, naming him as ‘one of the top five shows’.  He was awarded the New Generation Award, placing him on the official London Fashion Week schedule the very next season.  And, after four consecutive New Generation Awards were given to Bora, he has remained on the official London Fashion Week schedule, with a very distinct signature – Romantic but always with a darker twist; his demi-couture pieces are full of elegance, intrigue and seduction.

During his career Bora Aksu has collaborated with other international brands like Topshop, Nike, Converse and Anthropologie. He has also created costumes for singers Tori Amos and Little Boots as well as dressing Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller.

Always happier in the background and rarely giving interviews Bora prefers to let his designs do the talking but I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of the London Fashion Week backstage teams twice with him now.  I’ve got to see just what it’s like when he’s preparing for the runway, how polite and friendly he is, and just how calm he remains throughout.  But it’s that small smile of satisfaction on his face when he sees his collection displayed in its full glory that really makes it all worthwhile for me.

Both times, I’ve been working with the makeup sponsor, Mehron UK and The Academy of Freelance Makeup (AOFM) Makeup Designer / Head Makeup Artist, Yin Lee. Yin Lee London based Yin is a Dutch/Korean makeup artist, who works worldwide for international magazines, fashion shows, and advertising.  Creating the right look for Bora Aksu’s collection is all part of her job as well as managing the Pro makeup team, supplied by AOFM.Yin Lee for Mehron UK

AOFM Pro is a London based freelance makeup academy and Pro also has makeup schools in Paris and New York.  AOFM Pro has close ties to London, New York, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks and does the backstage makeup for several on-schedule and off-schedule shows. Over the seasons, the AOFM Pro Backstage Team has designed and executed looks for some of the world’s most renowned designers including DAKS, Moncler, Duchamp, Viktor & Rolf, DKNY, Max Mara, Dior, Pucci, Roland Mouret and more.  With AOFM Pro Yin has designed the makeup for shows including Lie Sang Bong and Haizhen Wang and London Fashion Week SS15 sees her collaborate again with Bora Aksu.

With her versatile skills and natural flair for detail and perfection, she is in high demand.  Her work has enabled her to collaborate with some of the industry’s leading photographers and high profile global publications.  Yin is also the Chef de Cabine for fashion shows in New York, London and Paris.

BoraAksu SS15 Face ChartThis season’s collection for Bora Aksu was married with an illuminated and fresh makeup look.  Skin carefully prepared using Mehron’s Celebre Pro HD Foundation.  The eyes were shaded with Mehron Cinnamon E.Y.E. Powder eye shadow, also applied underneath the bottom lashes in a slightly darker application, to bring out the shape.  Strong lashes, top and bottom and E.Y.E. Liner Pencil – Auguste applied to the bottom water line to give the idea of big innocent eyes.  The whole look was completed with L.I.P Color Cream – Zinnia.

Mehron Melik founded Mehron Inc. in 1927 in New York City, just off Broadway. Perfectly located, Mehron catered for the makeup needs of the artists and performers in theatre, opera, ballet, and silent films.  2012 marked the 85th year of operation for Mehron, and today, a diverse group of over 3,000 retail stores carries the Mehron brand of products, worldwide.

A clever makeup look, using fabulous Mehron makeup products, subtly designed by Yin Lee to compliment the beautiful pieces created by Bora Aksu, allowing his designs to dance and shine.

The talented KMS California hair team were also back stage this season for Bora.  Hair was tied in a loose ‘worn in look’ side pony tail – the effect as if the model had been dancing already.  Bora Aksu Model a SS15The hair was then wrapped with black elastic to show discipline and strength and to give the impression of the leg ribbons from ballet shoes.  KMS California was founded in 1976 by Jamie Mazzotta.

Each model’s nails were delicately painted by the UK Jessica Nails backstage team.  Bora had selected ‘Enchantress’ as the colour to match the collection and tie in to the makeup look.  Jessica Nails was started in the 1970s by Jessica Vartoughian, who developed her range of Jessica nail products in America, which has now grown to be a worldwide nail care brand.  Movie stars, models and VIPs regularly have their nails manicured at the renowned Jessica Clinic on Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles, as well as being avid users of the Jessica Nail products

Overall, a stunning Spring Summer 2015 collection and a top performance again by Bora Aksu.  I look forward to his next season’s runway show and being welcomed back stage again to be part of that ‘ever growing buzz’.

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Create This Look

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Using Mehron Makeup, first I used Celebre Pro HD Foundation to create a high quality base for the model’s skin.  Then to show you how I created this look on her eyes, I’ve detailed what colours and products I used and where I used them

JC Hermier Bruja Estrella Howe Katrina Stamp1 – Eyebrows; brushed gently and shaped then defined by filling in with E.Y.E. Powder Cocoa

2 – The brow bone is highlighted subtly with Precious Gems in Diamond

3 – Into the corner of the eye, Precious Gems Diamond is blended with Precious Gems Citrine

4 – E.Y.E. Powder Espresso is a base to the socket area, blended into E.Y.E. Powder colour Black over the base colour

5 – E.Y.E. Powder Black is applied under the bottom lashes and blended above into section 4Eye

Here’s how to do this:

Ibiza gets us #TenFeetHigh

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And we’re now back in the UK and back to reality!clapper board #TenFeetHigh

What a great few days we just had filming with the exceptionally talented Sheila Gordhan for her latest music video on her track – Ten Feet High.

I had no idea when I met Sheila in London at the British Film Institute just how switched on and lovely this artist really is.  As well as beautiful looks (and, yes, she’s a dream to makeup), with a song bird voice, she also writes her own songs and speaks SIX languages! Sheila Gordhan Ibiza #TenFeetHigh She even composes some of her lyrics in French.  And boy is she unbelievably dedicated to and passionate about her goal and her career.

Introduced to Sheila by Billy Freedom (Joe Barboza), the Music Producer whom she collaborated with for this track – Ten Feet High, I worked with Redskin Media as the Line Producer (and Makeup Artist) for the music video.  I worked alongside a small but great crew of:
Director and Director of Photography – Owen A Smith
1st Assistant Director – Steven Cholerton
1st Assistant Camera Operator – Josh Levine

Working with Sheila, Owen started to compile the storyboard for the track, so we could plan out the shooting schedule and locations for filming in Ibiza.  Karl Kula #TenFeetHigh Karl Kula, whose rap features on the track, couldn’t make it overseas at the same time so we worked with him separately in the UK, filming at the RS Club in Woodford before we left.Sheila Gordhan Katrina Stamp #TenFeetHigh

Once flights were sorted, car hire and accommodation all booked, we flew out to Ibiza, heavily loaded with full camera kit, and off on location hunts.  Sheila Gordhan #TenFeetHigh IbizaDriving round Ibiza you really do get to see how beautiful the island is – there is SO much more to it.  Forget the drunkenness and vile images portrayed by hyped up programmes designed to grab the viewers and boost their ratings.  Instead you see beautiful beaches, cliffs and blue seas, stunning white villas on tree covered and green hill sides and the fabulous Dalt Vila in the Old Town of Ibiza.  I really got to understand why this island is so popular and loved by so many, returning year after year.

Ibiza Sa Caleta #TenFeetHighWe picked Sa Caleta beach at sunset for one location; the cliffs perfectly fitting into the #TenFeetHigh theme.  And a private villa hired by Sheila for another location.  Balconies, stunning views, an infinity pool and everything you imagine about warm sunny days, cool villas and blue skies.  Sheila Gordhan #TenFeetHigh Ibiza Aug 14The Ocean Beach Club in San Antonio also provided a very beautiful and private location with fantastic hospitality – kindly allowing us to film before they opened the doors to the public.

I have to admit working with Sheila and this crew was superb.  Being able to do my job (Head of Production) for her on this music video, in Ibiza – well that just made it WOW!

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Sounding Off with FrenzyHouse

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I now really understand just how powerful and how useful social media can be.  FrenzyHouse logoThanks to my constant obsession with Tweeting and Twitter, I got contacted by Lisa Rouse, Director of FrenzyHouse to arrange a meeting and I’m really glad I did.  Not only have I now got a great friendship with Lisa, but I’ve also seen (and own) their fabulous Sound Wave card messages and canvas prints they do.

Not got a clue what I mean??  Neither did I until Lisa showed me something pretty cool.

Lisa’s partner, Steve (as described, in her own Blog on her site, as ‘Mr Frenzy’) is a Voice Over Artist. You’ll have heard him on adverts, You Tube Clips, voice books and the radio; his voice recorded in his studio. Frenzy House Soundwave ImageShowing that his job really is a passion, he decided to create something unique and really special as a surprise birthday present for Lisa. That surprise present has now transformed into a new business venture for FrenzyHouse.

Using his sound recording equipment, Steve recorded a message for Lisa. The sound waves from his voice speaking the message were then compiled with the words underneath and printed onto a canvas.

As well as being a very personal gift to Lisa, they realised just how special these messages could be for their clients. You see, Lisa and Steve told me that everyone’s voice pattern is totally unique, like a fingerprint. A print of your voice pattern saying your own message is a one off.

But this is the best part – You can record your OWN message into your phone or laptop, e-mail it over and FrenzyHouse will create a canvas or print from the patterns of your voice!  It is a simple and as personal as that.

It’s amazing and I didn’t initially realise how much you can do but the options are immense.  Think about a weddings – I’ve seen them capture the ‘I Do’ moment (both voices on one print with Mr & Mrs and the wedding date printed on it too!), the heartbeat of a baby for a baby shower, your kids telling you that they love you or a cheeky message for someone you love.  But it was the cheeky messages that Lisa made just for me and got us thinking together.  I loved the idea of small cards already made with a fun message on, and so did Lisa.  FrenzyHouse now make them as gift cards!

Get ya coat… Keep ya pecker up!     Tasty bird!       Bobs ya uncle!      Keep Smiling!        Oi Oi Sexy!

And loads more – all here:

But they don’t just do Sound Wave Prints.  FrenzyHouse is an online shop that brings together and showcases local and UK talent.  They sell unusual gifts, gimmicks, cards and treats, lots with a hint of humour and definitely bags of style.  Having spent many years in the suited corporate world of retail, Lisa took the plunge in April 2014 to go out alone and set up her own business.  Thrilled by the wealth of talent on her doorstep (Hampshire) she decided to create a platform for small producers to sell and shout about their creations – and so FrenzyHouse was born.  She’s clearly spent hours of time researching for products to sell on her site.  With brands such as Lily and Mae for stunning mugs, Stuart Gardiner for fabulous kitchen textiles and Lily and Olli’s luxury scented candles.  The product the range is growing daily but all with a very unique handwriting that is synonymous with FrenzyHouse.

Well worth a peek – http://www.frenzyhouse.com

Can’t Live Without – St Tropez Luxe Dry Oil

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It’s an essential in my own makeup bag! 

I’m an addict to any makeup product that gives me a fabulous colour and a healthy glow without the dangers of sun exposure!  And I love this one – St Tropez Luxe Dry Oil
“Our most luxurious tan yet for the ultimate natural-looking, luminous glow that lasts for days. This Brazilian-inspired indulgent dry oil is suitable for all skin tones with a quick-drying formula that is clinically proven to moisturise for up to 7 days.”

St Tropez Luxe Dry OilI use this fake tanning dry oil when I want an extra bit of colour and a lovely shimmery finish – it contains tiny golden particles that give you a fabulous sheen and, even better, it doesn’t smell of fake tan!

Use a gloves or a mitt and gently blend into dry skin, then wait til it’s dry before getting dressed – and wait at least 4 hours before getting wet!

St Tropez – £25