In Tokyo, you can wear these every night – in other cities, there will soon be Carnival. How about false eyelashes by Kakuyasu Uchiide! The brilliant Japanese head make-up artist of renowned Shu Uemura cosmetics will give you beauty obsessed people a tour through his current false eyelash collection for instant transformation into a mysterious Egyptian princess, an extravagant bird or a magical wood elf… We are not being silly here. PingMag spoke also to Uchiide about the perfectionist standards of beauty in Japan.
Written by Sabrina Morrison
What is your earliest memory of wanting to be a make-up artist?
Originally I wanted to be more a part of the fashion industry. However, when I entered the company and met Mr. Shu Uemura, it changed. His business style was unique, unconventional and different from others at that time. He always wanted to capture not only one side of beauty but also the whole picture, including fashion.
What is so special to you about a woman’s eyelashes ?
False eyelashes are one of the easiest ways to bring out a woman’s attractiveness.
No, it’s not a haute couture caterpillar: it’s a set of long volume false eyelashes. Aw! © Shu Uemura.
Such a small accessory like feather lashes seem to give a woman’s face a kind of creature-like aura – transform her into a bird…
Of course! The feather lashes would make you change dramatically. Our lash collection can be applied to any situation – from natural to dramatic.
Interesting what that might also imply about our perception of beauty – are we drawn to an image of beauty that resembles us of archaic nature, possibly?
I like more the idea that cosmetics or make-up is an art of daily life. And there are many things we get impressed of in everyday life – everything surrounding me can be inspiration.
Then, what would be your definition of beauty?
Simple but dramatic. Something everybody can feel.
By applying make-up on a face, you transform it into something new. Is that the exciting part for you – and why?
Make-up is to bring out the individual beauty, not to create a different person. Discovering new facets of the face is exciting for me as a treasure hunt.
Close. When I was young, I was inspired by Japanese lacquer, the so-called Wajima-nuri. I used to live in the Ishikawa prefecture and Wajima-nuri is one of the specialties there.
Abba’s disko glimmer delight: “Blunt Blue” for a bit of 70′s chic to your eyes. © Shu Uemura
Turn around, fluffy eyes… for a soft touch to your face. © Shu Uemura
Interesting! Also, I love your “Lucent Sunshine” clear orange lashes! [see main pic] How original to suggest make-up under the eyes but without applying any!
I got the idea at the shooting when I saw the shadows of the eyelashes underneath the model’s eyes. Even while applying the actual make-up, I always try to find a beautiful moment on the face.
It may be no coincidence that these lashes compliment this season’s collections that continue 60’s retro glamour. How much did this era influence you?
I have an impression that this was the era of young power: We could see many experimental approaches in the fashion industry. In this sense, I have the same spirit now.
Regarding the Japanese market which aims especially on men as well: Will you be developing men`s lines in the future?
We don’t have a specific line for men’s cosmetics at the moment because all of our products are unisex. But in the future…
What is your perception: Did the ideals of beauty in Japan change since you started? Especially since you work overseas and can view Japanese society from the outside…
It seems Japanese always try to create the perfect beauty and this sometimes looks too artificial. In this point, there was no change since I started working. For me, Japanese need more incompleteness.
Japanese youth culture is a powerful market well watched overseas. How do you see the Japanese youth and their fashion obsession today?
Being an extreme thing is not so good. I like young people who are trying to find their originality through fashion and make-up that is suitable for their income.
In an ageing society, how will fashion change in the future?
I really look forward to people in their 40s to 50s, they know how to enjoy fashion. And I also look forward to people over 60 for inspiration.
We would love to hear an anecdote of your great work experience: What was a very interesting moment while working overseas at fashion shows, with the likes of Lagerfeld and Gaultier?
I was really impressed by Mr. Armani. Now it’s a known fact that he is very strict in every detail, but I didn’t know that before. Being backstage, I understood that fashion designers’ assistants organise everything in time. However, I was interested in how Giorgio Armani did it all. And of course, he directly checked the model’s make-up that I had done.
The next logical step from the glitter make-up of the 1990′s, tiny Swarovski crystals can definitely add a magical, pixie dust effect to your eyes. © Shu Uemura
What make-up technology would you like someone to create?
As this eyelash collection is so artful: Would you like to collaborate with any artist or musician or painter in the future?
I can’t tell you yet, but we’re preparing something exciting for 2008.
Thank you, Kakuyasu Uchiide of Shu Uemura. For all of you stylish folks, now get in touch with your inner bird!