Give a woman the right make-up and she can conquer the world,” legendary make-up artist to the stars, Charlotte Tilbury tells us. We really couldn’t agree more. She, for one, is living, breathing proof of her motto; 25 years and counting as fashion’s most sought-after make-up artist, and now helming a global beauty empire to boot. She’s a powerhouse, seemingly unstoppable, so when we sat down with her we made sure to thoroughly pick her brain about her afﬁnity for business, how to empower women through make-up, her new Hollywood Collection, and why she’s decided now is the time to expand into the Middle East.
From painting the faces of everyone from Kate Moss and Gisele Bündchen backstage at Fashion Week, to glamming up Hollywood’s ﬁnest for the red carpet, to say that Charlotte has been privy to an industry secret or two is an understatement. Renowned on the beauty scene for her ultra-feminine, sultry make-up – think smokey, winged eyes and sculpted cheekbones – and a portfolio of luxurious fashion campaigns photographed by fashion’s elite, it was her foray into beauty retail that really made her a household name, skyrocketing her career even further. Launched in the UK in 2013, Charlotte’s eponymous cosmetics line is now ﬁrmly ensconced in every true beauty lover’s make-up bag, but we in the Middle East have been made to not-so-patiently wait for it to launch here. Until now, that is.
Launching her ﬁrst bricks-and-mortar store outside the UK, Beauty Wonderland has recently landed in Kuwait, to be closely followed by her Dubai boutique at the end of the year. So why are we the chosen ones, we ask? “My beauty brand is growing every single day and I can’t think of a better way to continue this amazing journey than to expand into the Middle East. The mesmerising women there are demanding it, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone – from 18 to 80!” she tells us with characteristic charm.
Appropriately called Beauty Wonderland, Charlotte’s stores are fabulousness made real; deep crimson velvet sofas, ornate, rose-gold Art Deco light ﬁttings, an edgy rock’n’roll zone, and old Hollywood-style vanity tables complete with interactive make-up stations including the ﬁrst-of-its-kind, Magic Mirror that morphs your face into each of Charlotte’s ten iconic looks in order for you to see which style suits you the best. Whatever your age, the brand and stores have the right tools, tricks, and expert tips to make you look and feel your most beautiful, she explains. “With my Beauty Wonderland in Kuwait, I wanted to create an interactive store where daughters, sisters, mothers, grandmothers, and friends would all love to shop. It’s make-up made easy, but it’s also fun and engaging,” she insists. “My stores are all about making makeup easy-to-use, easy-to-choose, and easy-to-shop in a luxurious, theatrical, sensory environment. It’s a real playground – a world that’s designed to make you dream, and make your beauty dreams come true.’’
We’re not surprised this is Charlotte’s philosophy. After all, she’s experienced it herself, creating cult cosmetics that happen to belong to the fastest-growing make-up brand of all time. It’s banked a mammoth 100-plus beauty awards in just four years, earning her a place in the 2017 Business of Fashion 500; an annual announcement of the industry’s top movers and shakers. But it’s achieving her main goal – empowering women – that she’s most passionate about. “My brand [allows] women everywhere to look and feel their most beautiful – that’s the reason I launched it – and it’s so exciting to branch into a region that truly celebrates that,” she reveals. “I am so passionate about empowering every woman – it’s exhilarating and I think this brand has become so huge because it was made by a real woman for the needs of real women,” she continues.
It’s impossible to disagree. But does she really believe it can help us conquer the world, as she proclaims? Can make-up really, truly, change your life, we ask? “Make-up has this incredible power to transform and boost every woman’s conﬁdence. I call it the psychology of make-up – if you look good, you feel good, and the whole world responds to you in a more positive way.”
At a time when it’s difﬁcult to ignore the celebrity backlash, the jaded response to social-media stars, and the increasing resistance to the pressures women feel to look perfectly madeup at all times, Charlotte takes the opposite approach. “Ever since I was a little girl, I’d always been fascinated by the power a beautiful woman has when she enters a room and I wanted to understand that type of beauty and how its magnetic pull can command attention,” she reveals. Charlotte started to wear make-up at the tender age of 13 and discovered the transformative power of it – something which she says changed her life forever.
“I started wearing mascara and overnight, everyone reacted to me in a more positive way,” she laughs. “I instantly felt more conﬁdent, more magnetic, and more attractive – basically, more empowered.” It’s turning the argument on its head, painting it in a far more positive light. Of course, one could argue that someone who has built her entire career on make-up is bound to take this stance. But as a woman, if you’ve ever looked in the mirror and felt more confident as a result of flawless, foundationaided skin, or face-framing killer brows, then you’ve proved her point. And if you’ve paid that feeling forward, spreading positivity, it all adds up to success. But it all has to start with you, she tells us. “Since then [from the age of 13], I have wanted to give every woman the power to be the most beautiful version of themselves. And that is why I created my make-up revolution – so I could share the power of make-up and show everyone how easy it is to look and feel like the most beautiful versions of themselves every single day.”
It is a sign of both Charlotte’s belief in the power of makeup and, more signiﬁcantly, the world’s fascination with the A-list that her latest cosmetics line – entitled the Hollywood Collection, naturally – is speciﬁcally aimed at recreating her work on the red carpet on celebrated glamazons including Amal Clooney, Sienna Miller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez and Penélope Cruz for the public. “Hollywood has this really special DNA and I wanted to bottle it. Take the enchanting, bedazzling beauty of all those celebrity stars and combine it with my years of red-carpet beauty secrets and then share it – so everyone could look and feel like their dream Hollywood self,” Charlotte describes in typically whimsical style. But what does she think we’ll love most about her new celebrity-driven collection? “Middle Eastern women love a fabulous bold lip so this is perfect as it includes ten instantly glamorous liquidmatte lipsticks to contour the lips for a fuller, wider Hollywood pout.” Show us where to sign.
Besides offering a range entirely inspired by celebrities and making that red-carpet look a reality, Charlotte tells us that more than anything, women look to her for real-life solutions to their make-up problems. And no one can say she hasn’t achieved it – the oodles of awards and even more fans speak for themselves. “Ultimately, when I say, ‘Give a woman the right make-up and she can conquer the world,’ what I really mean is, whatever your world is, you can conquer it.”
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