Among fashion and Hollywood insiders, one of the biggest names in makeup is Gucci – not the iconic Italian fashion brand, but Gucci Westman, Revlon’s global artistic director. She has worked with celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz (her best friend and her son’s godmother) and was responsible for the spring makeup looks on the catwalks of designers such as J.Mendel, Rag & Bone and Antonio Berardi. Westman first gained international recognition in 1999 for an improbable feat – turning bombshell Diaz into a frumpy store clerk for her role in Being John Malkovich – and has since worked on movies and music videos as well as alongside iconic photographers Bruce Weber and Annie Leibovitz. On the phone from New York not long ago, Westman spoke about her favourite spring makeup trends, the rise of the sporty look and how a particular pop star’s liberties with her work almost caused her to pack up her brushes.
What’s the predominant look in makeup this season?
Spring beauty is sporty, effortless and elegant. I call it sporty glamour.
What’s the hot colour?
Greens, blues and vibrant colours are really big, but green is my favourite.
It’s an optimistic colour and wearing it is a great way to welcome the season. My favourite shades are sea foam and algae. I also like a combination of the two because, when you add sea foam, which is light, to a darker algae green, it adds dimension and a luminous quality.
How can women incorporate green into their beauty look?
You can do a basic eye – say, a black or brown liner with mascara – and go over your liner with a bit of green shadow on a sponge applicator. You can also cover your lid up to the socket with green shadow and blend it for a gorgeous smoky eye. If you keep the rest of your face golden and sheer, the green will add a sporty feel.
What’s the dominant trend for skin?
A sporty look calls for a creamier texture on cheeks. You want the skin to look superfresh and not powdery or heavy. Choose a luminous bronzer – especially if you’re doing a colourful eye – that gives skin a rosy or peachy hue. It will look fresh and sun-kissed, like you’ve just been outside, and it works great from day to night.
What are the top colours for lips?
Shades of pink like grapefruit and fuchsia or tomato red paired with mascara and fresh skin.
Any favourite looks for nails?
I think nail art is fun and any age group can go for it. My mom might even consider [nail art], if it’s not too crazy [a look]. My favourite is still the Cherry Blossom Stencil I did for Revlon’s Cherry Blossom collection in fall 2012. It’s really sweet and understated.
What’s the one item you can’t do without?
A good moisturizer. I love the éminence skin-care line; I’m big into organic products.
What’s the best Revlon innovation for spring?
The texture of the Baby Stick For Lips & Cheeks is awesome and comes in three colours. My favourite shade is Tahitian [light pink].
Do you have a favourite Revlon spokesmodel?
I love all of them for different reasons.
I love Emma [Stone] – I suggested her – for her personality. And Halle [Berry] is a legend. You don’t need to say anything about her. She’s the coolest, most gorgeous chick.
Have you ever had a bad celebrity experience?
Yes – Shakira. It was an awful day.
I had never worked with her, but she specifically requested me. She kept telling everyone she was a makeup artist and would continuously go into the bathroom and change the makeup I was doing. The photographer wouldn’t like it and would look at me like I did it. At one point, I said, “I don’t think you need me because everyone knows that you’re a makeup artist,” then I started packing up my bag. She was like, “You can’t leave!” So I stayed and she behaved herself.
What was your best celebrity makeup moment?
Doing Madonna’s makeup for the first time [for the May 2008 cover of Vanity Fair]. She was the one person I had always dreamed about working with. When I got asked to do it, I couldn’t believe my luck.
This interview has been edited and condensed.