Ross Burton brings his makeup to Glamorama
By Jennifer Berg
Paris Hilton is one of Ross Burton’s most laid-back clients. “I was doing her makeup [for an event] and I asked her what she wanted me to do, ” the celebrity makeup artist recalls. “She said, ‘I don’t know. What do you think? I just want to look beautiful.’” To a true artiste—and, as Lâncome’s National Artistic Director, Burton is just that—those words are license for a whole lot of fun. “I was like ‘I LOVE this woman!’” he exclaims.
A Michigan native, Burton moved to New York City (now his home base) upon graduating the University of Michigan circa “yearrrrs ago.” His mission: to become an actor. While studying at HB Studio, Burton enrolled in a class on theatrical makeup. “And of course,” he says, “makeup for the theater is very different from makeup for reality.” Suddenly, Burton understood makeup as “illusion, art and magic.”
Armed with his newfound interest, Burton “wandered into a little store called Macy’s Herald Square” and found work at the Lâncome counter. “I urge [blossoming] artists to venture into department stores and really learn their craft,” he says. “[At Macy’s,] I learned how to work with all skin tones, from chocolate to vanilla. I think if you can only work with fair skin, you’re not a real makeup artist.”
Needless to say, Burton hasn’t put down the makeup brush since the day he ventured into Herald Square, and he says that he’ll “always have a soft spot for Macy’s; it’s in my DNA.” So when he was approached about two months ago to develop a look for the models in this week’s Glamorama, his answer was “Absolutely.”
After accepting his glamorous mission, Burton met with Laura Schara (producer of Glamorama’s fashion segment) to discuss the looks that will be trotting down the runway on Friday. The fully choreographed show provides a peek at fall fashions from designers like Marc Jacobs, Moschino, Temperley London, Just Cavalli, Michael Kors and Alberta Ferretti. Models don’t have their makeup changed to go with each outfit, so Burton says he purposely created a look that “can look good with everything, from jeans to basic black to winter wear.”
The look Burton cooked up starts with the skin. But “not dewy skin,” he’s quick to say. “Matte skin is the perfect backdrop for the rich, beautiful fall trends. That way, there’s no competition between the skin and the textures.” Burton identifies those trendy textures as, “Creamy, wet blushes, metallic eyes, outrageous lashes” and, for lipsticks, both nude and red. On the runway, he says, “lips will be nude, nude, nude—then pop! Red!”
Though Glamorama is all about fantasy and spectacle, Burton had the “real woman” in mind when he designed the models’ makeup look. He says that “every woman can aspire to create” the faces they’ll see at Glamorama, and he has a few tips on the right products to pick up:
First, find a nude, creamy lipstick (or gloss) that lets the natural lip-color shine through. When it comes to swiping on that show-stopping red, Burton knows some women will be shy. On that, he says confidently, “There is a red for every woman. I tell women to let their fingers be their guide. Dip your finger into lipstick, trace it onto your lips, and use [the red] as a kind of stain at first.” After women have adorned themselves with that “burst of color,” Burton says they inevitably get compliments that have them applying straight from the tube in no time. (For those who want to get the exact Glamorama look, some of the products Burton will be using include Lâncome’s Le Khôl Liner in Black Ebony; Deep Black Hypnôse Mascara, nude Color Fervor Gloss in Engaging and Juicy Tube Smoothie in Cherry Burst.)
Beyond scoping out the Chicago Theatre’s runway for inspiration, Burton recommends looking through magazines. “Tear out the pages of looks that you like,” he advises. “Once you see something in print that you relate to, you can elevate yourself to that. Bring the pages into a store and work with a makeup artist one-on-one. It can be intimidating at first, but women should never be afraid to ask for help.”
Glamorama hits the Chicago Theatre, 175 North State, (312)902-1500, August 24, at 8pm. $50-$1000.