Role Play: Makeup Artist Dick Page's Revelations

Makeup artist extraordinaire Dick Page creates the season's most compelling characters on his longtime muse, model Annie Morton.

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Special Issue
Beauty Inc issue 03/13/2009

A burly man who today is wearing jeans, a flannel shirt and a battered Helmut Lang leather jacket, Page speaks in a low tone in quick staccato sentences. A fashion world favorite (his show roster includes Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Michael Kors and Narciso Rodriguez, among others), he isn’t afraid to speak his mind about the circus surrounding today’s runway extravaganzas. “You have to be able to do your job, but backstage you’re fielding 500 different interviews and camera crews,” he says. “There’s something really insidious and weird in the way that models have become celebrities and celebrities have become models. You’re trying to get a girl out of hair into makeup and someone is interviewing her,” he continues. “I don’t want to put the girls down, but they’re being paid to do the shows. They don’t have to tell you how much they love the clothes.”

To that end, Page himself has no desire to go the celebrity makeup artist route (“I don’t like  the idea of being the figurehead and having my mug plastered all over everything,” he says), preferring instead his role as artistic director of Shiseido’s makeup range, overseeing product development and color creation. He’s been charged with revamping the line from the ground up. Named to the role in March, 2007, Page’s debut effort is currently launching, a 20-shade lipstick range called Perfect Rouge, to be followed next fall with eye shadows. He works out of a studio in New York, putting together mosaics of color swatches that are dispatched to Shiseido’s Japanese labs. As creative as he is, Page is also a keen student of the commercial. “There’s no point in doing it if no one buys it,” he says. “It’s never going to be a pure art.”

True to form, though, he’s doesn’t shy away from making bold statements. Take the very vivid fuchsia Page developed for Perfect Rouge, which has strong undertones of blue. “Fuchsia tends to be softened with red or brown. This one is very clear and hard core and it’s getting great editorial reaction,” he says excitedly. As of-the-moment and ephemeral as the nature of his work is, Page has set his sights clearly on the long term. “I’m evolving the line so that it’s  comprehensive and useful for many different women,” he says. “Beyond color, I know what makeup should be like, how highlights should work on skin, how blush colors should work, how foundation should look. I don’t believe in trends per se and I can’t respond to trends.”

Photographed by: Guy Aroch; Makeup by Dick Page; Hair by Dennis Lanni; Manicure by Sheril Bailey; Styled by Vanessa Moore; Model: Annie Morton


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