Bringing quirk to Bollywood


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No high-end lipsticks, vibrant hair extensions or glitzy cosmetics… interestingly, the first few looks created by celebrity make-up artiste Donald Simrock banked purely on art store supplies. Sometimes, he used objects as bizarre as candles or cigarettes to fashion a new hairstyle.

It all started when 19-year-old Donald landed his first job as a host in clubs in Europe and New York. “I tried the looks on myself. I didn’t have formal training, but started creating theatrical make-up,” says Donald.

This was a great way for him to apply himself creatively, make some money and travel the world.Things began looking up after he moved from the Big Apple to Los Angeles in 2002 to work on his own. “That was the end of the supermodel era and the rise of celebrity-driven projects. It was good timing for me to be there, and that’s when I got my first big client — Madonna,” he narrates.

Donald did the diva’s make-up for her birthday, and for all her press events for the movie Swept Away. Soon, his client list grew to include Ashley Judd, Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, Eva Mendes and Cindy Crawford, and he even did some macabre looks for Marilyn Manson.

Remember Lady Gaga’s music video for ‘Just Dance’ with a shiny blue lightning bolt on her cheek with elongated eyeliner, or Nicki Minaj and her candy-pink lipstick and her shocking coloured hair in ‘Starships’? That was all him. Driven by unconventional aesthetics, Donald’s works have a trademark quirky look. And, this edition of the Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2016 will get to experience that quirk, since he is the event’s official make-up expert.

Slated to begin on August 24 in Mumbai, the fashion extravaganza will see Donald collaborate with designers such as Sabyasachi and Manish Malhotra to give their models distinct looks as they hit the runway. “The idea is to incorporate a fresh approach to what we saw in the Western Hemisphere. I’ll be working on 15 different shows,” he says and, with a laugh, adds, “No pressure there!”

After working on 60-70 shows a season for designer houses such as D&G, Armani, Valentino and Dior, among others, he’s almost got used to the crazy schedules. “The schedule can be very demanding. Sometimes, it’s 12 hours per day, and that’s not counting the hours of research,” he says.

Make-up is a growing industry with rapidly changing trends. But, the expert himself suggests you don’t go by popularity; if you can wear it well, by all means, go ahead and sport it.

“Personally, I’m not a big fan of contouring,” he admits. A top trend he recommends is illuminating. Right from smoky eyes and modern goth to classic chic and contemporary western Hollywood, all these looks on runways have an aspect of luminosity, he says. To get the look, he suggests a dewy foundation, that doesn’t have a matte finish, and some shimmering shadows to help create a silky reflective texture.

Donald also seems excited at the prospect of working with Bollywood actors. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with Shraddha Kapoor for a magazine shoot, and if the rest of the people in Bollywood are half as nice as her, it’s going to be a wonderful experience,” he signs off.Read more at: |

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