We talk to the make-up brand's creative director about the new beauty line and their recent Illamasqua talent competition
To describe Alex Box as a make up artist is only half the story. Once a Fine Art student at the Chelsea College of Art, Box - who regularly references science, nature and art in her work - treats a make-up kit like a paint palette, designing and constructing eye popping looks for publications such as Dazed, AnOther, Numero and Vogue. And when she’s not using make up, she’s helping to create it – Box is also the Creative Director of cult brand Illamasqua.
We unearthed many talents in the making, some further down the road than others, some who just didn't realise how good they were, it was a fantastic experience for all of us
Known for their theatrical approach to make up, Illamasqua's latest collection, 'Human Fundamentalism', looks set to be their boldest yet, having gathered colour inspiration from numerous contrasting cultures and cities around the world. Launching today, Dazed got in touch with Box to learn a bit more about the eclectic new line, and to discuss the competition for aspiring make up artists she launched with Dazed’s Katie Shillingford last year…
Dazed Digital: Many people find it difficult to build a career as a make-up artist. What do you think makes your work so distinctive and appealing to people?
Alex Box: To answer your question I think it boils down to ‘truth’. I’ve always strived to tell the truth in my work, be true to my heart and vision and stick to my aesthetic in the face of extreme apposition. Every door was closed to me when I started; 'too weird, freak, won’t work, assist someone famous, you’re in the wrong industry’ were all things said to me on a weekly basis'.
This kind of rejection actually just fanned my flames as it did as a little goth in a small town when being picked on for looking different. It’s an, 'I’ll show you' mentality, ' I’ll come back harder and you'll hear me louder'. I have my parents to thank for that. “Believe in yourself, be yourself, everyone else is taken ' is a sort of family motto.
DD: Last year Illamasqua launched a competition for aspiring make-up artists to work with yourself and Dazed’s Fashion Editor Katie Shillingford. Did you unearth much talent?
Alex Box: The standard was great, as were the entrants; all incredibly different and unique. It was an emotional experience to see people starting out, taking tentative steps into a world that can be brutal as well as rewarding.
To see people’s ground work, sketch books and pre photographs was fantastic because some of them were so young that you could see that they were destined not to be make-up artists but amazing illustrators or photographers, they just weren’t aware of their creative talents in those areas because they were concentrating on the make-up looks. We unearthed many talents in the making, some further down the road than others, some who just didn't realise how good they were, it was a fantastic experience for all of us.
DD: Illamasqua has forged a strong online presence for a make up brand. How have you achieved this and has it been difficult?
Alex Box: We championed the online community straight off the bat, we felt very strongly even 5 years ago that that’s where everything was heading and that experience mixed with the real time experience of our counters and stores would be a strong and holistic message and presence. The online communities, as we all are now; I see no segregation, also strive for the truth and will straight away spread the word if a product works or if they are being sold a turkey by a faceless corporation.
DD: The title of the new collection is 'Human Fundamentalism'. What does this mean exactly and how will it differ to previous collections?
Alex Box: Calling this collection Human Fundamentalism is taking people back into the heart of the brand, the ethos behind everything we do and our core message...you are a unique creation and we celebrate and support that.
DD: What does beauty mean to Illamasqua?
Alex Box: The individual spirit.
More info HERE