Fashion 101: Val Garland

She’s just worked on your favourite shows at London Fashion Week; from Vivienne Westwood to Erdem to Anya Hindmarch. She’s the woman behind the most original and striking looks from so many of our favourite front covers and fashion and beauty campaigns. She’s painted the faces of fashion’s biggest names from Kate Moss to Lady Gaga. She’s established herself as MAC’s first lady and is one of the most iconic figures in the industry. We present you Val Garland.


L-R: LFWSS16; Vivienne Westwood, Erdem, Julien McDonald, Gareth Pugh

A far cry from Bristol where she grew up, it was her first and very spontaneous shoot for a now discontinued Australian magazine Follow Me, working on Emma Balfour, which gave her the first images for her now iconic portfolio. Though it wasn’t straight forward as a beginner, Garland only continued improving stopping nowhere and trying everything. “I made a lot of mistakes because I’m self-taught, but it’s only by making mistakes that you learn. As time went by, I kind of refined and honed my craft” Garland has maintained.

She followed on to work with legendary designer John Galliano on Dior shoots alongside Nick Knight, creating glamorous looks as well as the eccentric. Adding Alexander McQueen under her belt, she also collaborated with the legendary designer for the London fashion shows. We saw invisible brows and red mascara (Joan, 1998), crystal and glitter adorned masks across the eyes (overlook, 1999), and dark and gothic clown makeup (what a merry go round, 2001). Garland was then appointed artistic advisor of Yves Saint Laurent makeup where she helped form the colours and formulations behind some of our favourite products. It was when she was showcasing the 2009 campaign she claimed, “makeup is making a comeback”. How right she was.


L-R: Christian Dior Fall 2001, Alexander McQueen What a merry go round, Garland & Coco Rocha for YSL A/W 09 campaign

In a generation where every other person is practicing perfecting their contour or smoky eye, the makeup artist has joined one of beauty’s biggest brands to ensure we’re getting the perfect products to follow though. Now, Garland is one of MAC’s most important figures, collaborating with them on shows from Temperley to Peter Pilotto most recently for LFW. In 2003 they presented her with a demonstration of her past work, celebrating her iconic work in the industry. She praises the technology the brand has as the reason why “people go back to it again and & again.”  Personally, she loves the Mineralise foundation for it’s easy use and counts the cream range as essential for her colourful and artistic looks.


L-R: Vogue Paris September 2015, Taylor Swift Vanity Fair, MAC Electric Cool Campaign

Garland has stated her love for shows, as she likes “working spontaneously” and “being under pressure”, continuously mentioning her dislike of routine, whilst also calling the, “luxury of a shoot fabulous”. No matter which one it is, one things for sure: her work is like no other. In fact she herself says, “she’s a bit bonkers” hence the often crazy and undeniably unique makeup looks. From dipping faces in glitter to drawing blue lines all over models faces to applying blush with a potato. However the one thing she won’t advocate is an unattractive, unnatural tan. At a time when the argument on copy vs imitation is such a big factor in the fashion and beauty industry, her take on it is ‘there’s always an element of referencing, but … we find a new way of interpreting it.” Hence, why her work is so unconventional, avant grand and refreshing at a time when everybody looks the same with the robotically orchestrated makeup.

Garland epitomises the fact that makeup is an art form. She’s an experimenter, innovator and creative genius.

Rukaiyah Dadhiwala

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