Exclusive! Behind-the-scenes secrets from make-up artist Alex Box

By Susannah Edwards


When we were invited to step behind the scenes at Illamasqua’s photo shoot for their a/w09 ad campaign, we jumped at the chance, particularly as it meant we’d get to pick the brains of world famous make-up artist, Alex Box. Known for her experimental approach to make-up, Alex was clearly the perfect choice to create the theatrics of Illamasqua’s new Dystopia make-up collection (an edgy infusion of hot pink, electric purple and slick silver).


As we arrived at the studio in Borough, London, the whole place was buzzing with energy. Renowned beauty photographer Matthew Shave, was shooting the first look of the day (angular, contoured, futuristic make-up) and hairdresser Guillaume Vappereau was slicking the model’s hair in between shots. As Alex set to work on another model, we stole a few moments to pick her brains…

What’s the inspiration behind today’s shoot?

‘I’ve always been inspired by Fritz Lang’s 1920’s film, Metropolis, and the eerie use of light to create shadows and twisted monochromatic tones influenced the Dystopia Collection. I wanted to create face architecture and I also wanted to create alter egos and the notion of good versus bad.’

Tell me about your favourite look from the a/w09 catwalks…

‘I loved the heavily structured, dark, sculpted eyes and eyebrows juxtaposed with a dirty, rock-chic complexion, seen at Versace and Marc Jacobs. Start with the eyes and layer heavy dark eyeliner with matte black eye shadow to create depth. For the brows, use a brush and gel liner to paint a more structured version of your natural brow line. And for rock-chick skin, try replacing your usual moisturiser with a face oil to give skin a little bit more glow, then apply a cream blusher directly on to cheeks.’

What’s your make-up ethos?

‘There are no rules – don’t be afraid to experiment with make-up. Guess what… it washes off!’

Can you share your top make-up tip?

‘Apply cream blusher using the fleshy part of your palm – press the blusher onto the cheekbone and you’ll create perfect contouring.’

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