Wednesday 24 January 2018

Make it up

Photography by Barry McCall styling by Paula Hughes words by Andrea Byrne fashion edited by Constance Harris

Less holidays and fewer nights out are among the many things we have begrudgingly sacrificed in response to the downturn. However, one thing we women haven't been able to surrender is our make-up. You can't put a price on the instant pick-me-up that comes with buying a new lipstick or discovering a quality mascara. That's why, according to Paula Callan O'Keeffe, co-founder of Brown Sugar, beauty is more important than ever.

Brown Sugar is an award-winning, high-fashion hair and beauty salon, located in Dublin city centre and in Blackrock, Co Dublin. It's the brainchild of Paula, who worked for Mac on the International Pro Team, and Mark O'Keeffe, the former manager of Peter Mark in St Stephen's Green Shopping Centre.

The inspiration for this beautiful shoot is "heaven and hell or good versus evil", says Paula. The extreme Lady Gaga-esque hair, dark, smouldering eye-make-up and the clever use of accessories contribute to a high-end, couture-like feel.

Paula Callan O'Keeffe and stylist Paula Hughes share the same creative vision: a love of the striking and the very beautiful. For this shoot, Paula Hughes used mainly Irish designers. "Instead of using the high street or pieces that we're used to seeing every day, we wanted that unique, one-off feel to the shoot -- the likes of Eilis Boyle, Joanne Hynes and Tim Ryan and, of course, Peter O'Brien, did that," explains Paula Hughes. "We always want to keep it beautiful, and keep the model beautiful. With the clothes, I would always try not to take away from the make-up, but choose things that will enhance it, so I suppose the colours -- or lack of them, in this case -- were chosen for that reason."

Keeping the clothes soft and elegant allowed Paula to overplay the accessories, using strong, statement pieces from the likes of Merle O'Grady, whose star is ever on the up, with celebrities such as Cheryl Cole, Alexa Chung and Rihanna wearing her designs. "I would have chosen her pieces regardless of whether she was Irish or not. They're absolutely beautiful, with good prices too," explains Paula Hughes.

This party season, many of us will be forced to fall back on a long-standing black dress, but it's comforting to know that we can reinvent our look by simply changing our make-up. The key to flawless make-up is "good skin preparation", says Paula Callan O'Keeffe. "You have to make sure your skin isn't dry or flaky. Once everything is done in steps and looks perfect, then you can start thinking about colour. The thing is to take your time with it."


Sunday Independent

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