There are very few makeup artists that not only receive international acclaim and also have a documentary that is shown at international film festivals. Kevyn Aucoin is one of them. Last night at the Cleveland International Film Festival, I had the thrill of getting to see one of my idols back at work on the screen when Tiffany Bartok created the documentary "Larger Than Life" about the life and career of Kevyn Aucoin. I remember first seeing his work in every fashion publication I owned along with getting to work with Ultima II Cosmetics when his Nakeds collection took American makeup by storm by showing women that makeup could be very natural and still be elegant. Like a little kid in a candy shop, I waited in line at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chicago for Kevyn to sign his book "The Art of Makeup" which he did with excitement and in usual Kevyn style he went above and beyond what you wanted him to write. Meeting him only validated what I believed about women and makeup: Makeup isn't used to change a woman, it is used to enhance what she already has.
"Larger Than Life" did not disappoint. Over sixty interviews were done to capture who Kevyn Aucoin was from the intimate memories of his family to the models, fellow makeup artists, stylists, friends and countless celebrities whom had the chance to be a part of his magical work and his world in which he believed that anyone he touched should be treated with perfection and love. Bartok was able to tell his story which unfortunately ended in 2002 due to a long term brain illness in a manner that the audience could see his successes, love for people and his career and the self esteem issues that ultimately drove him to be a genius with his makeup brushes ,but took a toll on his ability to see how gifted he was with an uplifted view of how one person can make a difference in many lives.
I was in awe of all of the people in Kevyn's life that were interviewed and shared their memories for the documentary and the honesty that they shared. Cher, Tori Amos, Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Isabella Rossellini were just a few of the biggest names of their time that brought back the 90's celebrity and supermodel makeup explosion to a poignant interview with today's top artist Mario Dedivanovic who counts Kim Kardashian as one of his top clients. Dedivanovic shared how much of his inspiration was built from watching Kevyn's videos and by using his book "Making Faces" as a tool to build his own career. Like that little kid in line at Saks Fifth Avenue, I sat with my eyes peeled to the screen getting to see the countless covers and fashion spread pages that I have in at least fifteen big binders that sit with all my makeup books. My only wish from the movie that will be released for sale on July 31 is extra hours of outtakes that had to be pared for the original.