Francesca Tolot, Makeup Artist to Legendary Stars, Talks Her Striking Photography Book
If you've been entranced by Beyoncé’s most exquisite looks onstage or on magazine covers, chances are you've admired the artistry of makeup artist Francesca Tolot. Tolot's handiwork has adorned the faces of not only the music megastar and supermodels like Cindy Crawford, but her list of most-loyal clientele also includes one of Hollywood's greatest legends: Elizabeth Taylor. In her new book One Woman, 100 Faces (available tomorrow, Sept. 11), readers are in for an exquisite visual experience emblematic of Tolot's creative expression: the collection chronicles a photographic journey of two decades working with model Mitzi Martin, one that Tolot tells InStyle.com was free from any outside pressure to achieve a certain look but instead was purely "creative and fun."
"When you work with a celebrity, there is so much involved. First of all, the celebrity—they own their face, and so they have to be happy. And there is also the photographer, the art director, the creative director, the agency—so many people involved, and everybody has opinions, so when I do my job in those kinds of situations, you have to please everybody," says Tolot. "This book is all about freedom of creativity."
Readers can catch a glimpse of the Italian-born artist's resourcefulness within the images, particularly in the photograph Tolot calls her favorite and "most iconic" in the book (below) of Martin wearing extended eyelashes made of, believe it or not, quite an everyday product.
"Those were just [made of] paper," says Tolot. "I quietly and in a meditative state—just kidding!—sat down and cut out these little strings of paper and created the piece."
What else can we learn from the woman who's worked with Elizabeth Taylor, Helmut Newton, and Queen Bey? Plenty, not the least of which is how to organize our products. Tolot carries a makeup bag that weighs more than 50 pounds, she says, and it's very compact. For her, toting every kind of item in multiple brands is an on-the-job necessity so she can be ready for any idea borne of creative inspiration or even, say, a celebrity's allergy to a specific brand.
So how does she do it? "I take everything out of the original containers, so instead of having space for 20 lipsticks, I can have a hundred lipsticks in the same space. Same with eye shadows," Tolot tells us. (Are you listening, ladies?)
As for what's hot on the runways, Tolot has the perfect answer to being au courant while remaining true to her creative instincts. "If red lipstick is in fashion, then yes, if the situation is right, I will use red lipstick. Maybe I’ll try to mix different colors and come up with my own shade," says Tolot. "But I don’t let the trends dictate to me what I do every day."
"There are no mistakes," she tells InStyle.com. "It’s all a matter of opinion, but I would say for regular women, the least amount of makeup is probably the best. But even still with small amounts, you can experiment! If you always do it one way, just try it another way. It all washes off, after all. You don’t have to go to the extreme or (do) some of the looks in my book!" Still, Tolot hopes her book inspires women to have more fun with their makeup and feel freer to experiment to try as many different looks as they choose—paper eyelashes optional.
See more exclusive photos from Tolot's new book: