We reveal one of retail’s most unusual jobs…
Yes this job actually does exist! When our creative and visual team mentioned that Richard the mannequin make up artist was coming into HO for the day to give our Christmas mannequins a full festive overhaul we couldn’t wait to catch up with him for a quick Q&A. I mean where do you start with the questions? First and foremost- how on earth do you get into mannequin make-up? We reveal all below…
Laura Ashley: The obvious question springs to mind…How did you get into mannequin make-up?!
Richard: By accident really. I used to work for Hindsgaul (Danish Mannequin Company) doing interior design back in the late 1970’s when they first asked me to give it a go and here I am years later! There is no ‘official training’ or courses in mannequin make-up so you learn on the job. I went to art college and studied graphics before I went into interior design so I have a creative eye which always helps.
Laura Ashley: How long does it take to complete one mannequin make-over?
Richard: Anywhere between 40 mins – 1hr 30mins
Laura Ashley: What is the thinking behind the Laura Ashley Christmas make-up?
Richard: Today we are going for a very glamorous 1950’s silver screen inspired look (for Christmas). The creative team have pulled some magazine clippings for inspiration and we’re referencing Lauren Bacall as our muse. Think ‘larger than life’ stage make up!
Laura Ashley: What materials do you use for the mannequin make-up?
Richard: I use a lot of oil paints- doing mannequin make-up is a bit like painting a portrait only the canvas isn’t flat! The benefit of using oil paints is that if you make a mistake you can simply wipe it off and start again. I also use human cosmetics such as glitter and fake eye-lashes. Except I source the eye lashes from China where they are just £2 for an entire box!
Laura Ashley: What is the most unusual mannequin make-up you have ever been asked to do?
Richard: A fashion brand once asked me to paint an entire mannequin in a red and pink Damien Hirst camouflage pattern. It took me 5 days to complete!
Laura Ashley: What is the hardest thing about mannequin make-up?
Richard: Symmetry. Without a doubt. If you are painting mannequins for a brand they all need to look the same- otherwise they would look strange when grouped together instore or within window schemes.
Laura Ashley: Do you ever do make-overs on real people?
Richard: No – they twitch and move too much for me! I have done face paint at my kid’s schools before though.
THE BEFORE AND AFTER SHOT…
You can see Richard’s fully made up mannequins in our London Westfield store now.