So randomly on the day I was scheduled to go check out a make-up academy in the city to enquire about their courses, I see a tweet from none other than Mary Greenwell herself saying that she was going to be at the popup Chanel store in Covent Garden, promoting the new Rouge Allure Moire collection, and to “come see me if you are nearby”. I tweeted her to ask what time she was there till not expecting a response but she tweeted back almost immediately and said she’d be there until 7pm. I was going to have to pay the Chanel store a visit, somewhere in between work and my visit to the makeup academy.
Now those of you that love makeup will most likely be familiar with Mary Greenwell. Her career may have started in the 80’s but she’s still one of the world’s most sought after artist today. She’s worked for the likes of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and with the original “Supermodels”, Cindy, Naomi, Kate, Linda and Christy to name but a few. She’s even had the pleasure of working with the late Princess of Wales. She’s collaborated with makeup powerhouses Laura Mercier, Bobby Brown, Aerin Lauder and Tom Ford and continues to work with the likes of Cate Blanchett, Amanda Seyfried and Kiera Knightly. In other words, she is makeup royalty to the celebrities.
After what was a successful visit to the make academy, I waltzed down to Covent Garden which was luckily less than a 10 minute walk. I kind of expected mass hysteria, a jam packed store full of Chanel worshippers, tourists and fans of Mary herself. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I must have chosen the right time to go because the store was relatively quiet (compared to the usual mass of shoppers and tourists hovering around Covent Garden). I was approached by a lovely assistant who immediately complimented me on my make up (very flattered, I told her I was wearing Nars Sheer Glow and Benefit Watts Up highlight). I told her I was there to see Mary and at the very same time realised it was her in the corner of the shop finishing off a job (her job happened to be that of Jenny Palmer- Editor of sparklestyle.co.uk). She looked up and I said “hello Mary, I tweeted you earlier”. Such a geek! But her face lit up and said “yes you did”.
I had not even realised that you could book an appointment to have your make up done by Mary and when she asked me if I had one, feeling a bit deflated I said no. The lovely assistant went to check if there were any appointments available and unsurprisingly there weren’t. So I cheekily asked if I could have a photo with Mary (mega geek), and they said yes! Mary then asked me to come over whilst she finished tending to her emails on her phone. I told her that I had just been to a make-up academy to enquire about doing a make-up course next year and whether she had any advice for a budding make-up artist. I appreciated the fact that she kept it real and told me what I knew but maybe didn’t want to believe. Her advice? To work really, really hard and to practice, practice, practice. Even then, it’s an extremely competitive industry and chances of being very successful are not very favourable. “Do it as a hobby” she said. I think I will and if I can get work from it then I think that’s a bonus. Sound advice and even got some advice from the assistants in the store who were freelance makeup artists and all so friendly and helpful. Mary was an incredibly lovely lady and was so kind to give me the time of day even though I didn’t have an appointment.
I think my next port of call is to book myself in for an “Ultimate Make-Up Lesson” to learn how to recreate the Chanel look at home. I’d love to explore the new Rouge Allure Moire collection which consists of 9 new shades of Rouge Allure inspired by the play of light on fabrics. It costs £50 which is redeemable against any Chanel purchase on the day. That will be another blog in itself so watch this space. In the meantime you can check out Lisa Eldridge’s interpretation of the new collection here.