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  • creative, bohemian and sociable scene”. It was on Ibiza’s sister island, Formentera, at 11 years old, that she met makeup titan Mary Greenwell, who was to become her mentor and great friend. After Tilbury’s training at the Glauca Rossi School of Make Up, she did an apprenticeship with Greenwell, who was already a global star. “Mary opened doors for me,” Tilbury says. “She was part of the generation that made the makeup artist we know today.”

    Before the likes of Greenwell, models did their own makeup and hair. Now, makeup artists co-exist alongside photographers, stylists and hairstylists, and are part of the creative process. Tilbury’s trailblazing work – in particular with Moss, stylist Katie Grand and photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott – has contributed to this bond. “Working with Katie, Mert and Marcus was a defining moment,” Tilbury reveals. “It was the late ’90s and makeup wasn’t happening, it was mostly grungy. We pushed boundaries, with the intention of bringing back glamor.

    We wanted to celebrate women’s waists, boobs, hair and makeup.”

    Gregarious, great fun and with a deep, infectious laugh, Tilbury thrives backstage at the runway shows. Alexander McQueen’s 1990s shows are among her most memorable. “They were theater,” she says. “He would take me to his atelier, go through his references, drawings and books and submerge me in his world. And he was challenging, which I loved.”

    This sense of glamor and drama is also key to her own style. Tilbury works Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Saint Laurent. “I love nipped-in waists, heels and LBDs; I have about 350 black dresses,” she says. “And I can’t live without my made-up eyes. I would rather go naked than not have my eye makeup on.”


    Tilbury’s makeup obsession is visible in her own makeup line, which is so carefully edited that every one of its 100 products seems a necessity. The collection’s tagline is “Give a woman the right makeup, and she can conquer the world”, and was

    crafted with everyone, from the rebel and the bombshell to the ingénue and the rock chick, in mind. It includes Tilbury’s ‘magic formulas’: she has discovered the nourishing benefits of an elusive “lipstick tree” (she won’t tell me any more about it), the key to her long-stay, deeply pigmented lip colors. There is also Charlotte’s Magic Cream, the secret weapon behind her runway models’ dewy, healthy complexions. And who else

    could have created the covetable Rock & Kohl Iconic Liquid Eye Pencil? It is pure Tilbury. “I used that recently on Kate,” she reveals. “She and Stella [McCartney] were doing a TV appearance and I was doing their makeup. But as is often the way, there was only time to do one of them. Stella was mock boo- hoo because Kate got the ‘Tilbury Eye’ and she got the ‘BBC Eye’.”

     

     

    CHARLOTTE’S go-to pieces

    Tilbury backstage at Issa FW11

    “I LOVE ’50s-style nipped-in waists.”

    “DOLCE & Gabbana makes clothes for real women with curves.”

    “I ALWAYS WEAR heels.”

    The Edit
    credits

    Photograph: Camera Press/Anthea Simms

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