One might know Gregory Arlt for his pin-up red carpet looks on Dita Von Teese, his vintage doll-like makeup on Katy Perry for her One of the Boys album cover, or his glamorous editorial work with Angelina Jolie for Vanity Fair. Make-up artist Gregory Arlt has had an expansive and successful 25-year career in the makeup industry. Luckily for us, Arlt dropped by our Burbank location for one of our MUD Talks to lend the students some red carpet tips, skin care recommendations, and stories from his work with the industry’s top stars and photographers.
When asked how he became interested in makeup, Arlt can point to a few distinct moments. Watching Culture Club on MV3 (what he called the “poor man’s MTV”), Arnt says his “whole life changed.” Not only was the star in makeup a man, something Arlt had never seen before, but also this was a moment in which Arlt’s suburban bubble of Westchester exploded to reveal a whole new world at his disposal. Arlt also points to the first time he saw his lipstick-loving mother come home from a department store makeover with eyeshadow for the first time, and flipping through Francesco Scavullo’s book Women. Inspired by the transformative power of makeup, Arlt went on to develop the distinctive glamorous style he is now known for.
But Arlt’s talk was not all about his own biography. Scrolling through a slideshow of his favorite makeup looks, Arlt sprinkled in advice and stories of moments shared with some of his favorite faces. Here are some of his top tips:
- First, focus on skin: Looking at a bold-lipped photo of six-year client Gwen Stefani, Arlt draws attention to her clear, glowy skin. “A lot of makeup artists want to go to the fun stuff” he said, but “my brain doesn’t even compute that. You can throw on mascara running down the hallway or a lip whereas if you go on with your skin not being done and there’s imperfections or discoloration, everything gets negated.” Advocating that a makeup artist should never rely on photoshop for anything, achieving perfect, flawless skin is always his primary emphasis for editorial work.
- Know your makeup history: “However important you think it is, it’s nowhere near how important” as it should be, Arlt says. Discussing 60s references in a Katy Perry makeup look, Arlt encourages makeup artists to ask questions, like “Is it Twiggy is it Edie Sedgwick is it Pamela Grier?” or just “where in the 60s are we?” Albeit fun, having good historical knowledge is also a necessity when references are the language of the industry.
- Make your model feel good: Discussing the intricacies of red carpet makeup, Arlt’s bottom line is that he wants the star to feel “like the A+ version of themselves.” When it comes to red carpet, this means doing a makeup that works not only for an image but also when the star is talking to people, or allowing there to be a little more attention on the dress for a change. One specific tip he had for red carpet is to still moisturize the skin: since the client will likely be showing more of it, make sure the skin moisturized and healthy before toning down the shine with foundation and powder
Thank you for taking the time to come to campus and speak with our students, Gregory!