Makeup Trends From Thom Walker
Thom Walker is a British make-up artist who is ushering Givenchy Make-up into a new era. At an early age, Walker was inspired by other people’s make-up rituals, but it wasn’t until a chance placement in Harvey Nichols’ beauty department that she was able to explore make-up as a vehicle for artistic expression.
Walker began working on editorials for various youth culture publications after ten years in beauty retail, and has since collaborated with world-renowned photographers Nick Knight, Richard Burbidge, and Paolo Roversi, as well as Maximilian Davis and Molly Goddard. He’ll will be in charge of everything from creative campaigns to product line development in his new role as creative director. Walker sat down with British Vogue to discuss his creative approach and ambition for Givenchy Make-up.
What is your earliest beauty memory?
My godmother is one of my earliest memories. She was stunning – a redhead with a glamorous demeanor. She was obsessed with make-up and fashion. I used to observe her getting ready in this almost ritualistic manner. I was maybe five or six years old. She would spend hours on it, not putting on make-up, but rather putting on her ablutions. It was simply fascinating.
When was the first time you actually got your hands on make-up in a creative way?
At university, I studied visual merchandising and interior design, and one of my work placements was at Harvey Nichols in Leeds, where I worked on the windows. I was given responsibility for the beauty department, which was my first introduction to the world. Then I became friends with the MAC crew and ended up working for them for ten years. I just grabbed a brush and started painting. MAC was fantastic for training. When you’ve worked with a wealthy Russian woman, you can handle a rough day with a photographer. And it was fantastic because MAC worked a lot on fashion shows, particularly local ones, which was a fantastic experience.
And how did you branch out into editorial work?
It was around 2008, during the Boombox era, that I began experimenting on myself and my friends. I’m not a club kid, but I had a lot of friends in that environment and would occasionally hang out with them. Thank goodness there aren’t any photos. I have dirty blonde hair with hints of red, which I colored black to express myself at the time, and I wore a lot of black make-up.
Tim Walker actually photographed me for an issue of W magazine. Because we all resided in East London, the shoot was called EastEnders. And it was because of this that I became known in the London fashion world. I began getting booked for jobs and working with different photographers, and things progressed to the point where I was able to leave MAC.
Fast-forward to now and you’ve landed this incredible role as creative director for Givenchy Make-up. Why is it such a perfect fit?
I knew I’d gotten the position in 2020, but I couldn’t talk about it until now because of Covid. So it’s wonderful to finally be able to discuss it. My work seems to have the same DNA as the brand. I’ve always attempted to preserve a timeless aspect of simplicity in my work. Even when I’m trying to push myself creatively, like with body painting, I’ve always tried to make it as simple as possible. I definitely want to incorporate that into the goods we’ll be developing.
What’s your vision for the brand?
To develop long-lasting, iconic, and unique items – clever colors, intelligent textures. However, they are truly timeless. Sustainability is also important to me. As a make-up artist, there is a lot of waste in our profession and even in our make-up kits, so I’m extremely interested in packaging and bringing sustainability to the brand.
I usually attempt to find an image, whether it’s in a book or on the internet. Then I’ll delve even deeper. I walk inside my studio and become lost in references, spending hours editing. It’s wonderful to have that time to gather ideas.
what is it that make-up does for you on an emotional level?
It’s all about confidence and escapism for me. It’s also really therapeutic. When you’re doing a model’s make-up, it can be a very bonding experience. And it always sets the tone for the rest of the day. Because we are the model’s initial point of contact, it is our goal as make-up artists to almost make the photographer’s job easier. As a result, we play a significant role in setting the tone.
What are some of your favourite colours, textures and trends at the moment?
I believe that there is always a lot of power in red lipstick. Because there are numerous colors of red: brownish, orangey, bluish, and pinkish. I really enjoy experimenting with different textures on the skin, whether matte or gloss.
And what about eyes? We’re still living in a world where everyone’s faces are obscured by masks…
That’s fascinating because that will be my first category for the brand, but it won’t be for a few years since these things take time.
Why do you think it’s happening now? And what do you think it says about the world we live in?
In general, I believe the globe has simply opened up. We’ve got Instagram and TikTok. There are so many various arts that are great to participate in; beauty has never been more inclusive. The world has expanded, but it has also shrunk because we are so much more linked and can share ideas.