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Give Her Good Tools, You'll Get a Good Face : A MOMENT WITH Trish McEvoy

September 19, 1996|LAURIE DRAKE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Like her gold-handled brushes and beveled black compacts, Trish McEvoy is impossibly chic. On a recent visit to Nordstrom, at the Westside Pavilion, the petite New York makeup artist and entrepreneur managed to stand out in the crowd, wearing a lime-green Gucci top, Prada khakis and an Hermes belt.

"But not everything I have on is new," she says, "and the same applies to makeup. Each season you learn a new technique or pick up a few new pieces to add to your cosmetics wardrobe."

McEvoy's connection with high fashion has been part of her appeal since 1975, when she became one of the first makeup artists to launch her own line, offering to the public cosmetics she had used on models. And while her current followers include Madonna, Whitney Houston, Sharon Stone and Stephanie Seymour, McEvoy's products also attract real people, because, she says, "they want to learn the tricks of the trade."

Getting the most from McEvoy means using the right tools and understanding something called pickup.

"If you use a brush that's very stiff, like sable, you'll get a lot of product pickup," she says. "A softer brush, like squirrel, gives you less pickup. It's not that one brush is better than the other, it's whether you want a sheer look [squirrel] or an opaque look [sable]."

Wait, it gets more complicated. McEvoy has more than 25 brushes from which to choose--long, short, stubby, tapered or angled--depending on the job (shading, blushing, lining, powdering, smudging, stippling) at hand.

Still, McEvoy considers ease of application a trademark, accomplished with fat tubs of eye shadow with see-through caps (no more mystery pots to sort through) and dual-purpose products, like the stubby Lip and Cheek Pencil.

"I like to be organized," she says, and to prove it she opens her Prada handbag and takes out her new Face Necessities Kit. As long as a checkbook and as slim as a cigarette case, it contains cream-powder foundation, blush and concealer.

Her techniques are equally efficient. To draw an indelible line on the lower lashes, her method is take brush No. 11, wipe it across a moist mascara wand, then fill in at the root of the lashes. "Mascara wears like lead! And I don't get any of that fading and smearing underneath the eye."

She coats only the top lashes in mascara during the day (bottom lashes get a swish of the waterproof kind, but only at night). More tips from the master: "My brush No. 20 is mistake-proof. It lets you put on blush without a mirror." (At least after one training session with a McEvoy artist.)

"Brushes apply, puffs remove," McEvoy says as she hovers over her team, plying their trade on a long row of Nordstrom shoppers. Some of them are probably thinking, "How can I leave without buying anything?"

What was that about the puffs?

"The finishing touch," explains McEvoy. "To remove any lingering powder from face and eyelids, I always buff everything with a velveteen powder puff. This is a must in any woman's routine. But I would say maybe one in a thousand use it."

We didn't know.

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