London IMATS 2013

I attended my first ever IMATS (International Makeup Artist Trade Show) this weekend, and WOW, it was amazing! The Friday night was a Pro-only event, where we could network and shop before Saturday’s crowd arrived. There was also a special unveiling of a giant  Abraham Lincoln bust made by Kazuhiro Tsuji, and a screening of a film about his career. The skill and attention to detail that is inherent in his work, serves to inspire the rest of us mere mortals. There was also a collection of creatures and bust exhibited at the museum of makeup.

Saturday’s crowd

Museum of makeup

Museum of makeup

The unveiling of the bust by Kazuhiro Tsuji

Museum of makeup

Museum of makeup

Museum of makeup

The reason I could attend this weekend was due to my lovely friend Clinton Smith, he was nominated for a BAFTA alongside Neil Gorton for the makeup they did in Hitchcock, and invited me along as his guest. Below is the whole Cosmesis team that came all the way from South-Africa to attend the Trade show.


The team from Cosmesis who came all the way from South Africa

The first Demonstration on Saturday morning was given by Neil Gorton from Millennium FX . He showed how to apply a silicone ageing prosthetic, and it really was amazing to see the transformation. The prosthetics were beautifully cast with seams that just melted away into invisibility.

Neil Gorton demonstrating an ageing prosthetics application

Neil Gorton Ageing demonstration

Makeup for Women of Colour

I had to dash off to see the makeup demo for Women of colour, where I picked op a few handy tips, and just confirmed that I know a bit more than I thought. Makeup for darker skins is something that is daunting to many people, but if you know a bit about colours and how they work, it is not so complicated after all.

Founder of Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

I was so lucky to catch David Klasfeld, founder of OCC talking about the chemistry of makeup. Many a time people are unsatisfied with a brand of makeup, but they tend to combine it with incompatible products, so if you know a bit about the properties of ingredients and how they react, you get a better finish. Knowing as much as you can about your tools, will make you a better makeup artist.

Clinton from Cosmesis demonstrating a prosthetic application

Special FX application

One of my favourite demonstrations was by the inspirational Kabuki, he was born in the North of England, moved to America as a child and then made a name for himself on Sex and the City. The man is immensely creative, and has such flair, but I was a bit disappointed that, when given opportunity to ask him questions, the members of the audience only asked about the celebrities that he had worked on, and nothing about his creative processes.Many young girls seem to think that makeup artistry is glamorous and a way to meet famous people, when it is backbreaking work and long hours, with only a small percentage making it as top artists. It was interesting to see that he worked out of battered suitcases and ziplock bags, not glamorous at all!

Kabuki demonstration

Kabuki’s model without makeup

Kabuki works on kneepads, as it is not as hard on the back – a trick he picked up working with Kylie Minogue

Blocking eyebrows

Taking his inspiration for this look from the 40’s, Schiapirelli and Surrealism –  this man is my hero.

The finished look

On Sunday we arrived a bit later than planned, but still caught a few speakers. Karin Darnell’s demonstration was very well attended –  she showed us how to use products differently and how to create effect to make your work stand out. The look she created was a dramatic smoky cat-eye, with layers of colours to give it shimmering dimension. She must have used about five different products for the cheeks alone, and challenged us to push our boundaries. It is only makeup after all, and if it doesn’t work, you can always wipe it off and try again.

Music video makeup with Karin Darnell

By Sunday afternoon my brain was buzzing with all the new information and sensory overload from all the different products, I did pop in to see Mark Coulier discuss his career. It was lovely to see someone who has achieved such success, speak so humbly about his work – the most recent being World war Z, but he also worked on Harry Potter, X-men:first class, Star wars, and was nominated for an Oscar for the Iron Lady. You could see he just loves what he does.

Mark Coulier discussing his career



Such exitement! There was so much to see and do this weekend, and I haven’t even got to all the makeup. Be sure to check the second  instalment for my IMATS haul, and favourite products. I’m off to play with my new makeup!


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