Watch Now: Charlotte Tilbury And Lana El Sahely In Conversation

BY Louise Nichol / Jun 20 2017 / 13:44 PM

As make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury prepares to launch her eponymous brand in the Gulf, she tells Bazaar of her mission to make every woman beautiful, one eye-flick at a time, starting with Lebanese style-setter Lana El Sahely

You know that buzz you get when you hand over your credit card for a new pair of shoes or spy a must-have dress in a magazine; that heart-quickening, breath-accelerating excitement? Well, being around Charlotte Tilbury is like receiving an injection of pure dopamine, the chemical that is released when we know a treat is forthcoming. And what a treat Charlotte has bestowed upon us. In her words, “My mission is to steal and recreate celebrities’ and supermodels’ DNA and give it to every woman.” In fact it’s impossible to walk away from an encounter with Charlotte and not immediately hit up Google and obsessively start scrolling through her eponymous make-up line with its star products such as Magic Foundation and Mini Miracle Eye Wand, about which she speaks with missionary-like zeal.  

To rewind 30 years, Charlotte was a 13-year-old at boarding school in the UK when she began harbouring dreams of a cosmetics line of her own. “I realised very quickly that make-up was a woman’s secret weapon. Depending on the way she looks, a woman entering a room can command huge power,” Charlotte says. As a young teen she obsessed over images of Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich and the supermodels of the time such as Marie Helvin and Jerry Hall. “Why do these women get more attention, why are these women more popular, what is it about them?” she pondered. “And I realised, it’s beauty. Beauty is power.”

Lana El Sahely

Lana wears: Dress, Dhs8,320, Lanvin at The Outnet; Earrings, Dhs28,500, Messika; Scent of a Dream by Charlotte Tilbury, from Dhs235 for 30ml.

It was while doing her classmates’ make-up, using products purloined from a beauty journalist friend of her mother, that Charlotte unwittingly conceptualised the vision for what would, nearly three decades later, become one of the fastest-growing beauty lines of all time. Serendipitously, Charlotte grew up to become one of the world’s most elite make-up artists and has gone on to fulfill her younger self’s yearning for make-up that is, as she prophesied, “Easy to choose and easy to use.” 

She began her career assisting Mary Greenwell, the make-up artist who has worked with the likes of Princess Diana, Cindy Crawford and Kate Moss. Like her mentor, Charlotte employs make-up to emphasise beauty rather than execute a conceptual vision. She joined the industry at the tail end of the supermodel era, when the Lindas, Christys and Naomis were being replaced by the grunge movement. 

Lana El Sahely

Lana wears: Dress, Dhs21,600, Gucci at Ounass; Earrings, Dhs28,500, Messika; Ring, her own; Chair and light, Chattles & More.

Charlotte Tilbury the brand debuted in 2013, the make-up artist drawing on her years of experience at the forefront of product creation: working as creative consultant for Helena Rubinstein, creating a line for Alexander McQueen and Mac, designing lipsticks for Giorgio Armani and working with Tom Ford Beauty. 

At 44, Charlotte’s is clearly a life well lived. “I have more energy than most, that’s for sure,” she smiles. “But I really believe that you can have it all. You can have a family, a great career, an amazing brand, you can be happily married and you can have a great social life. Sometimes I do feel like I’m super woman.” Try her Wonderglow and it’s just possible that you may feel that way too. 

Press play on the video above to see behind-the-scenes on our shoot with Charlotte and Lana, and to hear the pair talk all things beauty. 


Recreate the dialled-up 'Vintage Vamp' look Charlotte created on Lana

Charlotte Tilbury

1. Luxury Palette in Vintage Vamp, Dhs185. 2. Magic Foundation, Dhs145.3. K.I.S.S.I.N.G. lipstick in Night Crimson, Dhs115.  4. Charlotte's Magic Cream, Dhs335. 5. Filmstar Bronze & Glow in Medium to Dark, Dhs235.

Read the full article in the June 2017 issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia, in-store and on iPad now.

Styling: Katie Trotter

Set Design: Benn Robinson

Fashion Assistant: Malak Rabbat

Hair: Salah Masri at Belle Femme

Furniture: Kare Design, Chattels & More, Tribe Dubai, O'de Rose

Flowers: Maison Des Fleurs

Photographed at Cuadro Fine Art Gallery