California Beauty: Katie Hughes
Photo Credit: Stefanie Keenan
Photo Credit: Stefanie Keenan
Makeup artist Katie Hughes, Seattle-based Butter London’s Global Colour Ambassador, has spent years masterminding face and nail looks for fashion week runway shows in London and New York. This past fall, she mixed polishes for spring/summer 2013 presentations by The Row, Erin Fetherston, Altuzarra, and Band of Outsiders. This spring, she applied stage makeup for the xx and other artists at Coachella. Now the London-based creative is moving to New York, just as Butter London debuts its first color collection including eye pencils, mascaras, cream shadows and blush colors. Before beginning her East Coast apartment search, Hughes stopped in L.A. for dinner at the Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood. Over fish and chips, she shared her tips for innovative eyes, lips, cheeks and nails, and her favorite looks of the moment.
By Elizabeth Varnell
Butter London started as a nail polish line, why did you decide to saturate your first makeup collection with color?
We’re a nail brand and nail polish is about color. So we really wanted to come on the scene with a lot of color, brights, bolds, crazies, because it should be fun at the end of the day and this is who we are.
But these wild colors have multiple purposes, there are also enhancers and useful neutrals.
There’s a golden yellow that I use as a highlighter on cheeks, just mix up a tiny little five-cent piece of it and apply. Also, the pencils and the cream eyeshadows work really well together, you can get a different effect by layering one on top of the other or vice versa. So if you use pencil first and the cream eyeshadow on top, you get a deeper version of the cream eyeshadow, and you get the finish of the cream eyeshadow, because it’s shimmery. If you put the cream eyeshadow on and then the pencil on top, you get a matte, but bolder. So you’ve got the option to be soft, medium, or full with using just two products.
The line has such cheeky names for polishes. Tell us one of the origin stories for a color.
We create some of our shades backstage, so we’ll chat with the designer, then I’ll mix up what we’ve discussed. I created a color for Nicole Miller, which we call Bobby Dazzler, which is British slang for guy who probably wears a bit too much bling. A Bobbly Dazzler would be like this friend of my husband who wears a velour jacket with a skull on the back. That’s a Bobbly Dazzler. He’s lives in Miami, so that’s his excuse. So Bobby Dazzler was created for Nicole Miller, because we wanted a real metallic, liquid metal, so it kind of emulates studs.
What inspires you when you’re here in L.A.?
The first time I visited, I walked down the street and saw hummingbirds. You don’t see hummingbirds floating around in England. I didn’t even know they were real, I mean, I knew they were real, but I wondered if they still existed because I’d never seen them. I thought they might be extinct or something, but they’re here.
What summer makeup looks outlast heat waves?
Real paired down makeup, a good brow and a strong lip. It’s simple, pair one thing down, pair the other up—eyes or lips. I think skin is definitely something to watch out for here, I mean, I can already feel my foundation sliding off my face, so keep it simple. Less is more, for here, definitely. Summer makeup here can be a little bit plainer, a little bit fresher.
What do you wear for an evening out in London?
A smoky look on the bottom lashes. Everything else can be clean, and then I create a big, heavy lash on the bottom. It looks really, really cool because it just draws the attention to the eye more, somehow, and it’s just a newer way of creating drama. I mean why do we always do something on the top, why not on the bottom? It’s very Kate Moss inspired, it’s very British.
The nail line has always been free of formaldehyde, toluene and DBP, what about the makeup?
We’ve kept really true to that, it’s free from parabens, nothing is animal tested, we’re just being very conscious of how we make it.
Pictured: Katie Hughes
Photo by Stephanie Keenan