LÉONARD MÉCHINEAU photography
I don’t like anything about perfection, perfection doesn’t exist! Beauty is all about details and subtlety, I always avoid perfection.
UM You recently launched your agency, Open Talent, what are your goals and vision through this agency?
KR Open Talent is a fruit of my instinct... When I turned forty, I suddenly realised that I had lived half my life. So, very naturally and healthily, I started questioning myself, about what the rest of my life should be about. Everything was going smoothly. My career was well established, so what next? Do I just keep going? Will I progress, still? How? Should I evolve? My instinct told me that I needed a new challenge and that it was time for me to use my experience and share my expertise in a new way. At this stage of my career, I was feeling a bit lonely too, professionally-speaking... I have nothing negative to say about my ex-agents, but I always thought that it would be great if a different kind of agency existed, one that would not just guide the talents on a career and business level, but one that would also accompany them on a more personal level, with more sensitivity. We wanted a kind of agency that would create more opportunities, collaboration, sharing, learning, growing... One that would not only represent make-up artists, but also sound designers, casting directors, set designers... We wanted an inspirational agency, that would support artists in the most complete way, to really help them blossom, evolve, feel stronger and more confident, so that they can be at their best on the job! These were our goals and vision when we launched the agency, and that's what Open Talent is all about today. The Open Talent team is amazing!
UM As a make-up artist, what is your relationship with color? How do you work with it?
KR To me, color is as important as food and drink, it's a question of survival, I feed off it. Color has a huge impact on my mood, I feel great when I wake up surrounded by beautiful flowers, paintings, prints... It’s also a huge source of inspiration. Wherever I am, my eye is drawn to color. I observe and register colors constantly and I instantly project them it into my work, it's very powerful. I know instinctively how to use color but I also love to create accidents on purpose. I love to be enchanted by an unlikely combination or surprised by a new mix. Color is of paramount importance to me, in my work and in my life.
UM Has your perspective of beauty changed over the years?
KR No, not at all. Beauty is timeless, women are timeless. It’s my approach to make up that has changed with the availability of new products, new techniques and the rise of digital technology. Obviously, I don’t work today as I did 20 years ago. Digital technology changed everything. I remember working with artistic directors in the past, looking at Polaroid pictures with a magnifying glass and suddenly massive screens appeared and you could just zoom in on the tiniest of detail! It was amazing and really helped me progress and develop my technique. My perspective on beauty hasn’t changed, though: a beautiful woman is a beautiful woman, a beautiful make-up is a beautiful make-up and beauty is beauty, it’s everything. I loved black eyes and red lips twenty years ago and yes, I still love black eyes and red lips today.
UM What are the new beauty professions that you think will appear in the next years?
KR Digital make-up experts and programmers for state-of-the-art Maquillage headsets and robots! Yes, I can easily imagine close collaborations between brands, famous make-up artists and start-ups, that would finally bring to women all other the world, the ultimate technical tool that would enable them to recreate on a daily bases, the exact make-up that they want to wear... I would love to play an active role in such a project! Also, obviously, as more and more attention is paid to healthiness, well-being and sustainability, I think that we will see the emergence of Beauty Historians and Worldwide Herbalists, whose advice could bring back to us long-forgotten beauty ingredients and rituals. I see bespoke/customisation, becoming more and more important, also. We might see more and more truly Exclusive Salons de Beauté, Haut-Maquillage places, where women will be able to get exclusive colors and products made specifically for them.
UM What do you think about the trend of “weird beauty”?
KR I love it! Uncanny beauty has always been an inspiration for me. I recall many times when I stopped older women in the street to compliment them and to ask them where they got their unusual shade of lipstick from. Weird beauty is a new playground to explore and a great source of inspiration.
UM What is naturality for you in a woman?
KR I’m not quite sure of what you mean with “naturality in a woman”... But I can tell you that in my eyes, natural beauty is all about allure and movement. It’s when a woman moves and behaves naturally and confidently, when she doesn’t feel uneasy or masked in any way, when she is herself, her best self: it’s amazing and beyond you.
UM What do you like in perfection?
KR I don’t like anything about perfection, perfection doesn’t exist! Beauty is all about details and subtlety, I always avoid perfection.
UM What are your observations on the current state of the beauty industry?
KR I think the industry is at a turning point... On one hand, many brands are approaching young targets in a way that I find quite disturbing... They invest a lot in digital media, wisely or not, to promote a message that I disagree with: hide yourself, use a lot of make-up and you will be beautiful... No, I can’t adhere to that! On the other hand, many brands, pushed by innovative start-ups, have realised that there is no other choice, naturalness is the future and they are now developing products that are more and more natural. Also, at last, we see diversity in the world of beauty. Not only skinny, not only white, it was long overdue and feels great to me, given my half Yemenite-half French origins, that's really positive and important.
UM What progress would you like to see in cosmetics? What technological advances?
KR I’d liked more and more natural products, of course. Obviously, with no harmful ingredients or animal testing but also products with superior benefits and easier to use. It’s slowly changing now, but until recently, it was very hard to find natural products that were good to work with, with the right texture, the right pigments, easy to blend...
UM At the time of Instagram and social networks, what is your relationship to the immediacy and exposure of your work?
KR I love it! It was so frustrating in the past to have to wait up to five months to see the result of your work printed in a magazine. I love and respect photography, so it’s still important to me to see my work beautifully printed, but now with Instagram, it’s really gratifying to be able to instantly assess your own work and get feedback. It helps you progress faster. The immediacy and exposure can comfort you that your new ideas are interesting ones and they also feed your creativity instantly. You go faster, you go further. They are great for business too, as clients can see the result of your work immediately and if they like it, there is a fast impact on your bookings. At Open Talent, we love to generate content for the digital media with our artists, they are a great communication tool.
UM Are there new areas of expression that you would like to explore?
KR I am always exploring new grounds, and the agency Open Talent and the Bande Organisée artistic collective that we have created, are great means to do so. Our first work was a fanzine, where we invited very talented people with different backgrounds to collaborate with us. We created fantastic new connections. I worked with a architect, someone teamed up with a set designer, someone else with a florist... It was so interesting to mix our different areas of expertise. It pushed us in surprising directions and the result was amazing. For our second collaboration, we created clothes and cushions with the Brand Ikou Tschuss. I discovered how inks and colors are used in silkscreen printing and it had a big impact on me. I know that I will use what I learned then, in my work in the future. The next collaboration might be with a street artist, a painter or a ceramist, there are no boundaries to the artistic grounds and areas of expression that I want to explore.
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