Monday, February 14, 2011

In Memoriam: Kevyn Aucoin

Of all the purveyors of beauty in recent memory, Kevyn Aucoin was one of the first to emphasize the beauty within; this refreshing lack of misogyny toward the female face made his early death in May 2002 from a pituitary tumour all the more grievous...

PhotobucketBorn on this day in 1962, Aucoin was adopted as an infant in Shreveport; aware that he was gay from an early age, he wasted no time in hot-footing it to Manhattan. After a requisite (if brief) time of struggle, he was discovered by Vogue, and within a short period of time he became the highest paid makeup artist in history.

The most interesting aspect of Aucoin's work (at least in terms of the Pop Culture Institute) was the number of celebrity transformations he undertook, even going so far as to publish them in book form; turning Christina Ricci into Édith Piaf, Tionne 'T-Boz' Watkins into Josephine Baker, and Winona Ryder into Elizabeth Taylor would have been enough on their own to make him famous, but seeing as he was already famous when he did them they actually represent his desire to continue improving his skills. Given that he'd attained the sort of pinnacle in his career normally inducive to laurel-resting makes his already impressive achievement even more so.

Aucoin's legacy rests in the three books he published - The Art of Makeup, Making Faces, and Face Forward - which continue to serve as inspiration to aspiring makeup artists everywhere.
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