BAZAAR 101: Who Was Kevyn Aucoin?

BY Jolie Wernette-Horn / Sep 5 2019 / 09:50 AM

Before there was Kylie cosmetics or Fenty Beauty, there was Kevyn Aucoin

BAZAAR 101: Who Was Kevyn Aucoin?
Image: Instagram/KevynAucoin

Kevyn Aucoin's meteoric career as a make-up artist is the stuff of fashion fairy tales. Shortly after his arrival in New York at age 20, he began working almost daily with legendary fashion photographer Steven Meisel. In 1983 at the age of 21, Aucoin was named a creative director for Revlon. A year later he launched The New Nakeds, a ground-breaking line of cosmetics that was designed to suit women of all skin tones.

Harper's Bazaar cover shot by Matthew Rolston, 1988

Harper's Bazaar cover shot by Patrick Demarchelier, 1992

His priority was to help women feel beautiful no matter what. “I work in an industry with some of the meanest people who have ever walked the face of the earth,” He once said. “But the way I see it, I have a responsibility to do the most I can do, the way I know how. Since I know how to apply make-up, that's what I do and use it as a platform.”

He would eventually become the highest paid celebrity make-up artist in history, commanding $6000 (Dhs22,000) per make-up session. He was the go to for everyone from Madonna, Gwyenth Paltrow and Janet Jackson.

After creating looks for countless magazine covers, he launched his own make-up line, Kevyn Aucoin Beauty.

Harper's Bazaar cover shot by Patrick Demarchelier, 1994

Harper's Bazaar cover shot by Peter Lindbergh, 1994

Aucoin, truly the OG of celebrity make-up artists, was immortalized in the 2018 documentary Larger Than Life: The Kevyn Aucoin Story now available on Netflix.