Morag Ross for Issue Seven
“My approach to the makeup was to start by ‘removing’ Cate’s features: bleaching her brows white and using only nude tones to begin the shoot and build the first Andy Warhol inspired look, keeping it androgynous, which can be so beautiful and fascinating.”
Photography CASPER SEJERSEN Beauty MORAG ROSS Interview JOHN WILLIAM
BP: What was the last beautiful thing you saw?
MR: The last beautiful thing I saw was my neighbour’s white cat who came in to my house today and sat on my white table in my white kitchen. She has yellow eyes.
BP: What was the idea or the inspiration behind your shoot for Beauty Papers?
MR: The idea was reinvention. Having created character looks for Cate Blanchett for twenty years, it was a challenge to have her looking very different yet again, with the added notion of ‘glamour.’ Casper Sejersen’s concept of basing the looks on various performance artists was a great springboard for the images we put together.
BP: How did you approach the make-up?
MR: My approach to the makeup was to start by ‘removing’ Cate’s features: bleaching her brows white and using only nude tones to begin the shoot and build the first Andy Warhol inspired look, keeping it androgynous, which can be so beautiful and fascinating. The consequent makeups each had one strong additional feature, which totally changed the person Cate transformed into. She was in a play later that evening and we worked up until the last second! I remember Maxine Leonard literally timing the final fifteen minutes on her phone until the cut off point when Casper had to stop shooting. Logistics as well as aesthetics have to be fine tuned in advance, in order to make the most of a few available hours and to capture a story.
BP: Tell us one of your favourite make up techniques.
MR: Bleached brows are one of my favourite make up techniques. I think seeing ‘bone’ rather than brow changes the structure and perception of the face enormously. And I love using ultra fine custom made veneers for teeth. Again, it alters the structure and the set of both the mouth and therefore the face, making changes that are seen almost subliminally… you can’t quite put your finger on what’s different.
BP: Current kit hero product?
MR: My current kit hero products are my hands! To do a Gankin facial massage before applying any makeup. Skin prep really is everything! But on this shoot it was Armani’s Signature Red 400 lipstick. Glamour!
BP: What is your favourite black?
MR: My go to black(s) are Serge Lutens Fard Khol Liner and his Powder Shadow. Great for both soft smudgy or intense dense black.
BP: What does the word glamour mean to you?
MR: To me, the word glamour (pertaining to a person) means someone who has a look that is so attractive it’s magical. Being Scottish, I’m aware that the origin of the word glamour was Scots and meant ‘enchantment.’
BP: What is your first memory of glamour?
MR: My first memories of glamour are of my mum having had her makeup done at a department store in Glasgow, and a shampoo and set, for a big works do. I was mesmerised by how transformed she was. When I was coming up to ten years old we had a lodger, I called her Aunty (even though we weren’t related) and every single evening she would hand wash and then hang her nylons on the pulley in our kitchen. The stockings were both glamorous and mysterious to me.
BP: What is the future of glamour?
MR: As far as the future of glamour goes, I think it’s going to be totally deconstructed; ‘anti- glamorous’ looks will overtake the traditional ideas, men and women will begin to adopt really similar makeup habits (it’s happening already) but makeup, hair and clothes will always be used as expressions of identity – aesthetically and politically. And we need escapism: glamour, enchantment, allure, magic – call it what you like, but it will always be used as personal or public statements.
BP: Living, dead, real or imaginary … who has the best make-up look?
MR: Who has the best make up look/s ever? David Bowie. Total respect for all the make up artists who worked with him.
Issue Seven is available here