HER WORK HAS LONG GRACED THE PAGES OF BLACK MAGAZINE BUT MORE RECENTLY AMBER D HAS BEEN SWEPT AWAY FOR A YEAR TRAVELLING THE GLOBE WITH OUR LORDE, AS PERSONAL MAKE-UP ARTIST, CONFIDANT AND DIRECT LINK BETWEEN M.A.C COSMETICS AND THE KIWI SUPERSTAR. STEFAN KNIGHT DISCOVERS THAT SHE
MISSES US ALMOST AS MUCH AS WE MISS HER...
Stefan Knight: Hi Amber, how are you doing? Amber D: I’m great! I really thought that touring would be exhausting but while the hours are long and unpredictable, it has been probably the most enjoyable thing I have done so far. I’m fulltime jetlagged but other than that... You're touring the world with Ella (Lorde) at the moment, I understand that you guys are in America right now, how’s that going? We have just finished the American tour which included 21 shows in the US, shows in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with Nirvana and two weekends at Coachella! Before that we were in Europe doing press and The Brits. It’s so hard to believe we have managed to tick all of those boxes! At the beginning it seems like you’ll be away forever and before you know it it’s all done and you have a million stories, new friends everywhere, and too much luggage! We have a little break for a couple of weeks now then we head back out again... ha ha my life in a suitcase is all too real! It must be very cool watching her incredible trajectory as a performer from the side of the stage, are you like a proud older sister loving the whole experience? Oh man, that’s exactly how I feel. We have spent all of our time together and along with the small tour team and Ella’s family we are a really tight unit. I feel so proud of her as she constantly accomplishes so many incredible things and we all freak out every now and then and say, "Oh my God... that just happened, what the hell?!" type stuff. There are days where I feel like I’m in a dream and I feel pretty proud for myself as well. This is a really big deal for me too. It’s amazing, we are all so proud if you here. Are you shooting along the way as you travel? Any amazing shoot stories to tell us about? We have done a couple of things along the way but mostly it’s all concerts and television. The amount of travel doesn't allow much time for anything else at the moment. Most days we have been at sound checks, playing shows or travelling somewhere and when there is a spare second we sleep! I bet! You’re making time to hit the shops though right, you're well known for your love of shoes, is the collection growing daily as you travel? Is there a favourite pair that we need to know about? Ha ha ha this is true! It’s amazing how efficient I can be when it comes to shopping. The luggage constraints have kept me from going too crazy but I did get a pair of Balenciaga ankle boots when I was in London and the new Proenza Schouler SS14 basket weave show shoes when we were in NY... so I’m happy. But there’s always more as you know! What's your top shopping highlight so far on the world tour? Always Barneys, I love Barneys... it’s a problem. Travelling is so great for creative inspiration, what are you feeling in the way of makeup trends right now? It’s funny because I am thinking so much more about texture and light at the moment, contrasting the two and thinking more about the structure of things from nature, architecture and obviously how this can be reflected in what I do and the work I produce. I tried to keep up with the AW14 shows while we were on the road as I was supposed to do Milan and Paris this season. I loved the clean minimalist looks that were coming through - anything too complicated or over the top just isn't resonating with me at the moment but probably because I’m not really shooting or doing shows! I am thinking a lot about avoiding typical celebrity beauty and trying to pull the clean catwalk looks I’m so used to into that world a little. Less glamour smoky eyes, more fresh faces. MAC is such a huge talent pool of artists, so many incredible people are associated with the brand including your lovely self, you get to work alongside so many of these greats, who do you find really inspiring as an artist working today? Oh for sure, I am beyond amazed at some of the incredible people I have had the chance to work alongside and learn from. Working on the international shows most seasons with so many incredible talents is like food for me. I’m always wanting to learn and develop and try and take it all in as much as I can. There are many experiences that have been so wonderful but I think the whole MAC team would agree that working on a team with Val Garland is always especially magical. She takes an idea, creates a brief and many times lets her team breathe their own life into the looks with unbelievable results and I feel so lucky to have been a part of that so many times. As Senior Artist for MAC you get to work with the products that are being created and formulated for the brand before anyone else, what’s coming up in terms of new things for us to play with? Oooh if I told you I would have to kill you! The MAC Senior Artists are always so giving with feedback and ideas on new things. It’s pretty great to be able to speak on behalf of other artists and also MAC Customers who let us know what they wish they could have and have those things listened to and put into development. We sat in a pretty mind blowing meeting at the beginning of the year with MAC Product Development where we tried a whole lot of cool things - but alas I cannot speak of what they were! As far as models go, who is your favourite beauty face at the moment? I think as far as Kiwis go we are so spoiled for amazing faces at the moment - Holly Rose Emery, Ashleigh Good, Anmari Botha - it’s so cool to have those delish faces in my portfolio and to see them at the shows. I’m really excited about the new MAC Prep + Prime range and the CC products, the formulations and colours are fantastic. Do you have any tips from the top about how best to work with these. I guess I’m
thinking about how these products are more than just your typical usual bases and primers. I love how MAC creates products that are a step up from the run of the mill type things that other brands offer, they really understand that their customers have a sophisticated knowledge of products and how to use them. I agree!! The CC thing can seem quite overwhelming at first but it's really so simple and vital for a makeup artists kit especially. When you break it down I think any good makeup artist is always looking to make skin look brighter and more alive so the Prep & Prime CC products make that easy: what is the tone of the skin and which of the tones will bring it to life? Any beauty consumer surely wants that as well, to look the best you can without looking like you are wearing a tonne of makeup - these are game changers for sure. It’s quite a different experience working as a personal make-up artist for someone, are you looking forward to shooting editorial again and are you keeping an inspiration journal for when the tour is over and you’re back in the world of magazines and runway shows? I totally feel open to whatever might lie ahead but am always trying to keep what I do as a "celeb's makeup artist" relevant and more fashion focused so it doesn't feel like they are separate things for me at the moment if that makes sense? I am however secretly enjoying the whole one face at a time thing... the whole 50 girls in a catwalk show thing can be quite intense! How do you collaborate together with Ella? She has such a strong sense of herself and who she is style-wise, do you channel her vision or are you bringing a big slice of yourself to the make-up looks you’re creating together. How has working with such a visionary person inspired your ideas as an artist? I think that as our relationship has grown we are in sync with each other, more and more I am trying to think from her perspective you know? What would she want in this situation? How can we make this new? Ella totally respects my ideas - we are in collaboration all the time. We talk about fashion and style a lot in general so we work from very common ground to come up with new things together. As an artist I think the biggest thing I have learnt from her is to be authentic - I have a unique voice and skill and need to hone that. I'm definitely much more aware of my personal impact on things in every aspect of what I do and how I live my life. That’s so cool, this whole experience has been such a life changer for you, amazing. So what's coming up for you? More touring! Beyond that who knows? Every day of my life with MAC has been different so I'll just keep on this crazy roller coaster that is my career and see what comes up next! We miss you down here, when can we expect a visit back to NZ? Ha ha, I’ve just had an unofficial visit but I’ll most likely be back in a couple of months from now. I miss everyone a lot. I have a lot of FOMO at the thought of an issue of BLACK coming out without me in it! We feel the same way my darling, we're missing you too.desert Island time, if you had to choose 4 products as a capsule kit for a shoot what would they be? * Studio Finish Concealer Palettes - easy to correct and conceal plus these can be blended with moisturiser to make any foundation shade if needed. Also great as an emergency blush or cream eyeshadow - they are so essential! * Clear brow Set - I always say this is the most boring product ever but don't underestimate the power of a perfectly groomed brow. * Extended Play Mascara - the ultimate mascara. Its thin applicator gets to every lash and is great for lower lashes. It's all I use for everything at the moment and lasts a solid 16 hours! * Lipmix in Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and White - by having these 4 shades it is possible to make almost ANY lip shade at all. (they save my tour life daily!) Thank you so much Amber. Keep on being amazing!