Before there were vloggers and YouTube stars and Instagram beauty gurus, there was Kevyn Aucoin. The legendary makeup artist was the brainpower behind nearly every modern makeup trend (including modern contouring). He invented the skinny brow trend, whether you liked it or not. He was the man behind the curtain of the beauty looks for every major ’90s supermodel and even Cher. His books Making Faces, The Art of Makeup, and became New York Times bestsellers, and his work developing cosmetics for companies like Shiseido and Revlon single-handedly changed the industry. When he passed away in 2002, his absence left a void in the beauty world. A void that—no matter how many followers or likes one gets—can never be replaced.
This month, a new documentary about Aucoin’s life is being released. Larger Than Life: The Kevyn Aucoin story, paints a picture of the man who painted so many famous faces through one-on-one interviews with Naomi Campbell, Cher, Christy Turlington, Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, among others. “I was not going to go anywhere else but Kevyn’s chair,” Campbell recalls. “There was always a line, but I am not going to go anywhere else.”
Aucoin’s tactics weren’t always orthodox. “He had like a dentist chair, and he would lie me down and pin me and then pluck out all my eyebrows,” Moss recalls with a smile. Though he was arguably the most influential makeup artist in the world, behind-the-scenes Aucoin’s life wasn’t as glamorous or beautiful. “We went into like Make Up For Ever, and it was like, I don’t know, Brad Pitt walked in,” Cher recalls of the makeup artist’s fame.
The Larger Than Life documentary mixes archival video footage with interviews to tell Aucoin’s story in a way it’s never been told before. “There was something in him that felt ugly and felt judged and he wanted everyone else who was misunderstood or on the fringes to know that they were beautiful and they belonged, too,” says Linda Wells, founder of Allure and Flesh Beauty.
The film opens Friday, June 29 at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, Friday, July 20 at the Laemmle Monica Film Center in Los Angeles, and goes digital and on demand on July 31. www.kevynaucoinfilm.com
From: Harper’s BAZAAR US