Black Swan

 Directed by Darren Aronofsky, ‘Black Swan’ is a psychological thriller featuring Natalie Portman as a ‘Nina’, a ballerina consumed with perfecting her role as ‘The Black Swan’ in ‘Swan Lake’.  Portman’s role in the film sees her entering in to a dark world of hallucinations and self-harm, as well as developing severe paranoia about her understudy, ‘Lilly’ played by Mila Kunis, taking over her role.  As dark and twisted as the film is, it is the make-up that has caught my eye, and it seems I’m not the only one. Bloggers, designers and beauty writers alike have been just as compelled by the look. 

The make-up has influenced artists to do a dramatic eye with a bold lip. “The look created is a modern take on classical ballet lines,” says David Horne, director of product development at Illamasqua. “The black and silver illustrative style and deep burgundy lip is a perfect look for villainous glamour”. Being the film of the moment, ‘Black Swan’ has also influenced fashion trends to have a ‘ballet moment’, with Glamour magazine recently releasing a ‘Black Swan ballet trend’ line up of the best  tutu  inspired garments available on the high street. Make-up influences have also leaked out on to the runway, as seen here at Temperley.

The Make-up artist’s behind the magic, Judy Chin and Margie Durand, and were keen to share the ‘behind the camera’ secrets with ‘Bella Sugar’. It’s clear that this must have been a massive challenge for the artists; not only did the make-up have to be other-worldly and beautiful, it also had to be sweat and smudge resistant as the physical work behind ballet would take it’s toll on the make-up. “The look was inspired by the story, and by the director, Darren Aronofsky,” Chin said of the imaginative makeup. “I felt that he was looking for something dramatic and visually striking, so all of the intensity was focused in the eyes.”

Judy Chin explained how she went about creating the look,

“As I read the script, I try to envision the characters, taking into account their background (age, personal history, affluence, profession). As I see the plot develop in the story, I make note of how these events might affect their appearance. When I’m designing the looks for a film, it’s very important to consider the director’s (Darren Aronofsky) visual style and tastes,”.

MAC make-up was used in the film, and is surprisingly easy to re-create at home.

“The look is intense, alluring, and sexy with a bit of danger mixed in,” explained Judy.
  • Complexion: First, the makeup artists applied a pale ivory foundation, using a white cream highlight on the forehead and cheekbones.
  • Eyes: MAC’s Chromaline in Black was used to outline the eyes. Then, a silver shade from the brand’s Pigment line was combined with Mixing Medium and applied over the eyes in feather-like strokes. For even more drama, the under-eyes were lined with Chromaline in Red.
  • LipsVino lip pencil was used as a base, followed by Dubonnet lipstick .

As the main focus was keeping the actresses make-up sweat-free, Judy explained that touch-ups were frequent during filming, and using the right products to keep the make-up matte was essential. Here’s what helped them keep shine-free:

  • “Most people are a bit intimidated by pancake makeup and they dismiss it as ‘old fashioned,’ but it can be really beautiful if done properly,” explained Judy. A spray sealant was used on top of the pancake makeup to set it.
  • MAC’s Paint Pots, Powerpoint Eye Pencils , and Pigments were also used for long-wearing results, and can easily be used in the “real world,” too.

To make the look wearable for everyday, Margie explained how :

  • Create a smoky eye by drawing on a fine line of silver under black wingtip liner. Waterline the eyes with a black liner and then add slight wisps of silver liner over the lid, as well. Top off with a matte foundation, contoured cheeks, a shimmery blush on the apples of the cheeks, and a dark eggplant or wine-colored gloss or lipstick (any finish will do).

Here’s a taster of what we can expect from this masterful film.


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