Goss With The Boss : Illamasqua Founder Julian Kynaston

We have so many exciting brands here at HQhair and Illamasqua, founded by Julian Kynaston, is one of the most exciting. With theatrical artistry and individuality at the heart of the brand, Illamasqua gives you the ability and tools to transform yourself into any character, exaggerate your best features, break the rules and try something new.

When we launched Illamasqua at HQhair, we learned a lot about the brand, its back story and the brand founder Julian. We found the whole concept and vision that fascinating that we had to share it with you and ask Julian Kynaston the burning questions we had, like where the wild shade names come from or what inspires the collections…

Take a look at our Q&A with Illamasqua founder Julian Kynaston, no holds barred!

Julian Kynaston lllamasqua Interview | HQHAIR BLOG

Julian Kynaston: Exclusive Interview

Question: What does Illamasqua stand for as a brand and how did it all begin?

Illamasqua stands for the freedom to self express. To actively reject the prescribed looks from the large and dictatorial make up brands, Illamasqua is about encouraging women to wear their make up in a more creative way and is also about giving men the permission to wear make up.

The idea of Illamasqua came to me at the Whitby Gothic weekend where I remember myself being in awe at the sheer levels of beauty and creativity that were proudly being displayed, the energy in the room was electric and there was no doubt that makeup was the spark.

Question: Tell us about your background.

I built my own branding agency 21 years ago called Propaganda. It has been responsible for working alongside and building brands such as ghd, Cloud 9, St Tropez, Tangle Teezer and Ann Summers.

I suppose it is true to say that having built a number of successful brands for other people a part of me wanted to do it for myself.

Question: Julian Kynaston, what inspires you and your new collections?

We take influence from the most diverse of places, ‘Toxic Nature‘ for example was a pointed attack at the ever increasing genetically modified world that we live. A real favourite of mine was called ‘Art of Darkness‘ – which was a celebration based around a fictitious place where the lines between the real and the mythical, the living and the dead became blurred.

Perhaps most importantly for us was our ‘Generation Q‘ collection, where we declared to the world that beauty at Illamasqua is inclusive and not exclusive. We sent a clear message to everybody that beauty is neither young nor old, neither black nor white, male or female. Beauty is anything, everything and everyone.

Question: What is a defining moment for you in your own success?

I am incredibly self critical and suffer from an inability to give myself praise so it’s a tough question. Sometimes I will read some customer feedback that tells me how our makeup or a makeover we have done has given someone the confidence they had been lacking. This is the kind of thing which I suppose makes me feel successful.

Question: Describe Illamasqua in 3 words.

Illusion, Masquerade, Professional.

Question: What is your favourite Illamasqua product and why?

Although Illamasqua is a contemporary pro colour brand I would have to say the sheer brilliance and technical innovation that went into Hydra Veil makes that a real favourite of mine.

Question: Out of all the collections you have created, which was your favourite and why?

Art of Darkness. Simply a beautiful and stunning collection at every level.

Question: We’ve noticed a lot of your products and shades have really interesting names, some of the shades in the Vanitas Rose Gold Palette got us talking! How do you come up with the names that underpin your colour cosmetics?

I have always been really close to the naming process, it is something I really enjoy. For me, the process involves looking in particular through old novels related to the subject matter of the collection. I think it is fair to say that over the years many a classic vampire story has been poured over in search of the unusual.

Question: Tell us why being PETA accredited is important to you and Illamasqua.

Animal cruelty is rightfully a hugely important subject matter and I find it truly despicable that people are unwittingly buying from brands (often some of the biggest) who in choosing to retail in China have all had to have their product ranges tested on animals. This is something they do not tell you and in my opinion that is unacceptable.

That said, the responsibility for buying ethically should always sit with the buyer, and I would ask anybody to check on the PETA website to see if the brand they are buying is cruelty-free or otherwise. I think often many people are surprised by which brands are not cruelty-free.

Question: What do you think the next big trends in beauty will be?

I hate to say it but the big trends will be driven by the Kardashians or something equally bland. We have no interest in big trends and have always been stimulated and excited by the underground trends.

Illamasqua was ultimately inspired by the underground trends of 1920’s Berlin and to this day we draw our trends from the sub cultures. Many of them emerge from within the UK, which is something I am very proud of.

Question: What’s next for Illamasqua and what can we look forward to in the coming months?

I think our Autumn/Winter collection sees Illamasqua return to its roots but even bigger and better. As ever it contains an important message but for me the level of creativity in the looks we are pushing is uncharted.

It’s clear to see that Illamasqua founder Julian Kynaston is still heavily involved in the creation of new products, collections and visions for the brand, keeping the brand fresh, unique and true to its roots!

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