Painting Faces
T Singapore: The New York Times Style Magazine|September 2020
Painting Faces
How the innovative makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench approached the creation of Byredo’s new cosmetics line with brand founder Ben Gorham.
Renée Batchelor

Niche swedish perfumery house Byredo was founded on the idea of the creative possibilities of scent. While the minimalist packaging and stark labels of each bottle are pleasingly uniform, the perfumes inside and their respective scent names are inspired by founder Ben Gorham’s exotic travels. When it came to expanding Byredo’s offerings to include makeup, Gorham was keen on what he deemed an “innovative, vibrant and emotional approach to colour.”

Enter Isamaya Ffrench, the British wunderkind responsible for such iconic makeup looks as Rihanna’s British Vogue cover in September 2018. Gorham wanted to collaborate with the artist, because of the way she pushes the boundaries between artistry and makeup with her daring and unconventional creations. “I’m a true believer in not telling people how to wear perfume. And Isamaya and I were in agreement that this Byredo makeup [range] would not be dictating in that manner either. It wasn’t about selling a look. It was about selling a series of tools to help people express themselves through colour,” says Gorham.

True to its ethos of not selling a look, even the campaign image for this makeup launch is not what you might typically expect — a famous face peddling a specific set of colours. Instead, Ffrench commissioned digital artist Jesse Kanda to create an almost alien-like image that reinforced the idea that this makeup line is not for any one specific person, but for anyone, while still emphasising human emotion in its purest form.

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September 2020