BY CLAIRE NAA
Native Canadian Lloyd Simmonds is one of today’s true emerging talents. The renowned makeup artist has been working for the past year to create a full makeup range for Yves Saint-Laurent. Simmonds first made a name for himself as a teenager dancing with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. An injury ended his prospects, opening doors to other realms.
“I started a job in a library and I discovered my passion for books on fashion and makeup. I became a model for a few brands and become increasingly curious about this world. I felt there was something to do as a hairdresser and a makeup artist. Because these fields weren’t trendy at the time, I quickly became a kind of star in the small city of Vancouver.” But Simmonds was ambitious. “I wanted more, so I went to Italy and of course I chose Milan, the town of fashion.”
In Milan, he was lucky enough to find an agent and be selected by Oliviero Toscani, the most famous photographer in Italy at the time. “I worked with him for 13 years, doing makeup for fashion brands including Benetton. He brought me a number of times to Paris and I felt my place was there. I decided to stay and make my own name. Yves Saint-Laurent fulfilled my dream in February last year when the company asked me to become their makeup artist. I think they chose me for my vision as well as my love and fascination for color.”
The brand was also aware that, for several years, Lloyd Simmons had been collaborating with the most prominent international magazines in France, the US, Italy, Germany, Japan, the UK and Russia, including Vogue, Numéro, Harper’s Bazaar, Citizen K, Amica and Flair, as well as The New York Times.
Top beauty and fashion photographers also celebrate Lloyd’s talent. He collaborates with Karl Lagerfeld, Patrick Demarchelier, Jean Paul Goude, Arthur Elgort, Miles Aldridge, Greg Kadel, Ben Hasset and more.
Simmonds’ enduring interest in the dramatic side of fashion led him to collaborate on the catwalk with Yves Saint-Laurent, Stella McCartney, Gucci, Lanvin, Dior Couture and ready-to-wear, Valentino Couture and ready-to- wear, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabanna, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto, among others. “It turns out I was perfect for this work. Not as famous as some others, but with enough experience to be the one. I know which makeup item to use for each event. The makeup for theatre actors has to be applied with generous gestures, as it has to be visible. Facial expressions have to be seen, instinctively. For models, it is a mix of theater and fashion.”
As for his inspiration, it “comes with the fashion and the style of the collection has to be linked with the makeup colors. For magazines, it is a one-shot makeup. I have to reveal the beauty in a single picture. It is static makeup. I’m not an artist, but an artisan, even if I do love art. My favorite artist is Mark Rothko for the tint area of his colors, and also all the painters of the Fauvist movement, for the strong colors. I love scarlet red.”
He has applied that love of color style to his latest collection. “You can see that through the first collection I have developed at home, in the 11th district of Paris. Since I have been working for YSL, I have created six lipstick colors that are already on display worldwide and all the others products are going to be launched this autumn. For this collection I used a lot of pigments, textures, to make cream and powder, and I worked closely with the lab to find the best combination. We try to use the latest technologies. The result is four different collections which each have a theme, but I can’t say anything more. It will be a surprise. I hope women will like it at first glance!”