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Charlotte Tilbury On Her First Store, Beauty Line & Painting Famous Faces

It's only fitting that one of the world's most in-demand makeup artists and founder of her own beauty empire, Charlotte Tilbury, would open her first store right slap bang opposite Covent Garden Tube Station, one of the busiest shopping destinations in the world, with 45 million people passing by each year. Not that Tilbury needs any help attracting new customers as her beautiful, luxury products with equally beautiful packaging have been flying off the shelves of Selfridges, Fenwicks and Harrods since they launched two years ago.

The just-opened store is any makeup lover's paradise, with an inviting boudoir-inspired interior, artists to answer your every need, shiny products as far as the eye can see and a cocktail bar. We repeat, a cocktail bar. "I designed this shop – every little bit, down to the table leg. It really is an expression of me and this brand," Charlotte explained at the store launch. "I don’t want this to feel like a corporate experience, I want this to feel like you’re in my dressing room, you’re backstage; we could be at the Crazy Horse in Paris, you could go back in time and be Marlene Dietrich or Marilyn Monroe. [...] I find shops very draining and I want this to feel more like a fun experience where you don’t really want to leave. Somebody said to me 'this is going to be hen heaven.'" Hear, hear.

We caught up with the celebrity makeup artist and beauty pioneer to discuss her first store and her two new products that could revolutionise your skincare routine.
You’ve been working as a makeup artist for over 20 years but how does it feel to open your first stand-alone store?
I’m so proud of it! I think the design really transports you into a world of old Hollywood glamour meets art deco with a Rock ‘n’ Roll edge. Powerful, positive geometric lines and vintage furnishings give the shop a really positive feeling as you enter it. For me it’s about the power of transformation through makeup – I want everyone to feel touched by makeup magic as you enter and exit the shop.

The store is really technology first too – anywhere in the store you can engage with my social channels, watch one of my how-to tutorials from YouTube and be checked out on the spot to cut the queues. It fuses the decadence of a vintage era but fit for the convenience of a modern-day girl on the go!

You started off assisting Mary Greenwell. Who have been the biggest influences on your career?
I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the best and most inspiring photographers, models, designers, stylists and editors in the world – and they’ve all had a positive influence. Incredible people such as Mert & Marcus, Mario Testino, Katie Grand, Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford and Carine Roitfeld, among many others, have inspired me.

I’m also influenced and inspired by Helena Rubenstein, Estée Lauder, Coco Chanel – strong, powerful women who paved the way to access makeup today, and completely shook the industry.

Who are your favourite faces to make up and why?
It’s too hard to pick one! I’ve worked with some incredible women including Kate Moss, Amal Clooney, Blake Lively, Katie Holmes, Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Aniston, among many others.

Obviously you’re confident in your brilliant products but did you expect for your beauty empire to blow up this quickly, in just two years?
I feel really fortunate and proud at what I have been able to achieve with the help of my amazing team. It has been an incredible two years and I’m very grateful for the continued support of all my family and friends. I have been dreaming of creating my own makeup brand ever since I was at school – I was always the one doing makeovers on my friends, recommending the right makeup to wear with different outfits and how to style their hair – so this is literally a dream come true!
With your wealth of experience and expert training, how do feel about the new generation of beauty bloggers and vloggers who are speaking to and educating thousands, if not millions of followers?
In today’s world, social media is king and key to connecting people from every generation. We are so lucky these days to have these portals to the world – they are a new two-way dialogue with your consumer and it’s fascinating to learn about different women’s favourite tips, tricks and beauty inspirations.

& Instagram are my favourite channels, they’re a great way to speak to and educate people across the world – as well as learning from them! YouTube is amazing for building my profile directly with consumers, revealing all my expert secrets and creating a relationship with my consumer. Instagram allows me to develop a deeper relationship – here I’m able to tell the full story: this is the product, what’s in it, the inspiration, the campaign, behind the scenes on a shoot and show, my life…

Through these mediums you can have your own TV channel, your own magazine, your own dialogue. You are instantly communicating with the world in the palm of your hand – it’s powerful.

If someone was building up their makeup collection from nothing which three essential products from your line would you recommend first?

You can’t have a beautiful painting without a beautiful canvas and I can’t live without my miracle-working moisturiser, Magic Cream. It instantly turns around tired, dull, dehydrated skin and is packed with a secret mix of ingredients that I’ve been blending together for years. It’s incredibly soothing, like a comforting cashmere blanket for the skin.

I always follow this with Wonderglow, an instant soft-focus radiant skin elixir, which has a breakthrough ingredient called Fluorescent Core technology. It steals natural light from its surroundings and re-emits it through the skin, so you look lit from within. It’s the perfect base for makeup or if you’re going bare-faced and natural, it will even out your complexion and give you a fresh-faced radiant look. I call it Gisele-in-a-Jar!
I’m a mascara obsessive so my Full Fat Lashes mascara has to make the list. Before I developed my own line, I would cocktail up to five mascaras to get the result I can now get from my 5-star mascara. I went through thousands of brushes and formulas during the product development phase to create my perfect 5-in-1: it curls, lengthens, separates and adds volume and drama. I use lashings and lashings of it.

Filmstar Bronze & Glow is my ultimate compact for killer cheekbones. It’s the perfect natural tan shade for sculpting and a gorgeous, pearlescent highlight, which is like dripping candlelight on your face. Some women are afraid of contouring but it’s the best way to create Supermodel Killer Cheekbones – and it’s easy. You just suck in your cheeks, follow the hollow and remember to blend! I use this all the time on the red carpet. Jennifer Lopez is a huge fan.

What’s next for Charlotte Tilbury?
I want the power of my makeup revolution to reach every woman on every continent! I have an amazing new night cream and eye rescue coming out very soon too – I’m so excited as we’ve been working on the formulas for the last five years and now they’re ready – they’re miracle skin-savers for instantly younger-looking, plumped-up and glowing skin and my red carpet clients already love them.

Follow Charlotte Tilbury on Instagram @CTilburyMakeup