From sparkle-infused style picks for day to our Q&A with Oscar-winning costume designer Catherine Martin, we’re gaga for all things Gatsby this week. Maurizio Silvi, the Oscar- and BAFTA-nominated make-up designer has been in the business for nearly 40 years. He’s worked with Baz Luhrman on Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge! and Australia, as well as on Gangs of New York, The Tourist and the HBO series Rome. For The Great Gatsby, he uses his skill with traditional make-up once more to create looks for a diverse cast of characters from delicate Daisy to sporty Jordan to showy Myrtle. In the interview below, he reveals the MAC products used on set and how the film influences beauty trends.
What are the key MAC products used to create each Gatsby look: the roaring ‘20s flapper look as seen in the party scene and the more everyday look?
When we started preparing for the film, my department and I had to choose which products to use for the two main parties: what we referred to as the Glam party and the Sad and Tawdry party. We based each character’s makeup looks around their costume and hair color. For lighter skin shades we used Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 in shades such as NW15 and NC20. For darker skin shades we used Matchmaster SPF 15 in shades such as 8 and 9.
For the eye makeup, we always started with Prep + Prime Eye in Light to keep the shadows vibrant and last all day. A MAC custom eyeshadow palette was created with shades in Scene, Contrast, Nehru, and Club. A variation of colour combinations was used on the majority of the party looks. Pigments in Copper, Rose Gold and Antique Green were also used on the lids to pop the eyes. The colours chosen were inspired by the cars of the period.
Eyes were lined with Eye Kohl in Smolder and Feline and always blended out to appear “smudgy.” For the lips, we used different lipstick colors depending on the character: Cremsheen Lipstick in Hang-Up, Lipstick in Film Noir, Media, Ruby Woo, and Desire. Lip Pencils included Cherry, Half-Red and Currant. Chromagraphic Pencil in NC15/NW20 was sometimes used to define the lip line and block out corners of the mouth to create the popular ‘20s shape. The eyebrows were as important as the lip shapes to the makeup designs. Eyebrows were coloured and shaped in with MAC Brow Pencils.
The story of Gatsby takes place in the 1920s. Why do you feel these makeup looks are still popular today?
Among the fashions that will remain forever in history, that of the ’20s is certainly the highest expression of class and beauty. This era encompassed years of revolution, unconventionality and renewal. The makeup is very refined and is based upon one of the most classic contrasts, red and black. From my own experience over the years I see how makeup follows fashion and cinema and how both of these elements come into play with how actresses look at the moment.
Daisy Buchanan was played by the legendary Mia Farrow in 1974. For this film, Daisy was also played by a fair-skinned blonde woman. Can all women wear the “Gatsby” look?
I think the ‘20s look is having a comeback. The costumes in the film, designed by Catherine Martin, and, most importantly, new cosmetic collections, propose classic and elegant makeup lines and I think that will influence what will be a season characterized by beauty. Professionally I see how the use of makeup is so popular now and how the ‘20s look is predominant. All women can wear a look inspired by this film. Throughout the film you will see several different hair color shades from blonde to red to black to brunette. I’m sure that everyone can adapt a Gatsby look that suits them best.
How has The Great Gatsby look influenced the way women wear makeup?
The ‘20s in the United States are characterized by a generalized euphoria, not only in the wealth of artistic and cultural ferment, but also in how women expressed themselves and their own bodies. It was a time of full expression in literature, cinema, fashion, music and dance known as the “Jazz Age.” Since the roaring ‘20s was a time of great economic growth, women began to wear more makeup than years prior. Women celebrated the age of the “flapper girls” as a female declaration of independence. They also began to take more risk in their makeup: Pale skin, smokey eyes, bolder lips, curvy eyebrows, lots of mascara and rosy cheeks. Women were also not afraid to make a statement and they used makeup to express themselves.