Arabella London speaks to leading make-up artist Florrie White
At the top of her game, Florrie White’s creative flair shines within the folds of Vogue, i-D, Dazed & Confused, Pop & Another Magazine with photographers such as Ellen Von Unwerth, Boo George, Mel Bles and Benjamin Alexander Huseby. Florrie’s work extends beyond the editorial, with a client list that includes Mugler, Stella McCartney, Net-A-Porter, Missoni and Orla Kelly.
The diversity of Florrie’s talent – which perfects both leftfield and classic looks – is indicated by the red-carpet names who call upon her: Alexa Chung, Rosie Huntington Whiteley, Rosamund Pike and Emily Blunt.
Florrie saw that make-up was transformative from early on. Beauty potions mixed in her Scottish boarding school dorm were a far cry from her makeup course at Glauca Rossi in 2002, followed by a sought after position assisting Charlotte Tilbury. Florrie’s solo career kicked off in 2005, and her passion for working with some of today’s most style-feted glamorous women was inspired by a number of things, including childhood memories of her fashionable mother, Biba lip-gloss, headscarves, clouds of Opium perfume.
Arabella London sat down with Florrie to ask her about her career and the things that inspire her.
AL : How did you get into the industry and how long ago?
FW: Although I was enchanted by the supermodels on the front cover of Vogue in the early 90s I didn't do a make-up course until over a decade later. All my previous experiences such as studying languages and working in production have been beneficial to travelling around the world as a make-up artist.
AL: What are your make-up kit “must haves”?
FW: So many! I take special care of skin as I believe that if you look after and perfect your skin you can then have fun with make-up. Essentials would be Blistex, Clinique Moisture Surge, Elizabeth Arden Powder Pencils, Troy Surratt eyeshadows, MAC and Chanel lipsticks, Nars concealers, Cover FX highlighters and so the list goes on and on!
AL: What do you use for inspiration and where does it come from?
FW: Women. I love watching women, especially when they apply their make-up on the tube. I love watching films, ideally in French and Spanish with a female protagonist. Make-up can portray many emotions. I also like art exhibitions and recently enjoyed a great documentary on Howard Hodgkin and his use of colour.
AL: Who is your industry hero?
FW: I really admire Rosie Huntingdon-Whitely and Alexa Chung who have both grown from successful models to business women. They are so professional and work so very hard.
AL: What is your favourite season professionally?
FW: Impossible to choose. I love the change of light within seasons and I like make-up to reflect the light and nature, dark warm berry tones in winter and bright hot colours in summer. The bridging seasons are ideal to adapt your look.
AL: Do you have a favourite venue where you have worked and where is still on your wish list?
FW: I have been lucky to travel to so many locations with my work; palaces in India, a glacier in Alaska, Yves Saint Laurent's riad in Marrakesh. I am always curious and ready for a new adventure. Last night I returned from Cork where we were shooting in a castle, I am now on my way to the airport to fly to Austria where I shall spend the next 4 days on a mountainside. There is so much more to discover. I would like to spend more time in South America for the beautiful people, light and so I can practice my Spanish.
AL: Describe a typical day or the run up to a big event/show?
FW: Preparation is key. I stock up on make-up wipes, tissues, pointed cotton buds, compact sponges and Smints. If I am being sponsored by a brand I will rearrange my kit to contain solely their products. We generally have 3 hours before the show starts; they can be manic with lulls while the models rehearse their walks and finish fittings. I try and remain calm, support my team while equally working with the hair and styling team. We all want the models ready on time.
AL: What are your essential beauty products?
FW: Biocellular water cleanser, lip balm, moisturiser for the face and also body. Eyelash curlers.
AL: What has been the highlight of your career to date?
FW: It is always a huge compliment and boost when I am rebooked by an actress. I am fascinated by these women. My aim is to make them not only look beautiful but also feel beautiful too.
AL: Who is your fashion/film icon?
FW: I love Debbie Harry, Isabelle Huppert, Charlotte Rampling, Rossy de Palma and I still get breathless over the supermodels of the 90s. I used to know all their vital statistics, it was the ultimate women's crush.
AL: If you were not doing this job, what would you be doing?
FW: As I mentioned before I started this career late - I have already had a few other careers. When I was much younger I had ambitions to be a witch and an actress. I now work with actresses transforming them with make-up and a little magic.
AL: Which job/piece of work are you most proud of?
FW: Being rebooked with my clients and my Global contract with Clinique
AL: What are the key beauty trends from the recent catwalks?
FW: There seems to be something for everyone still on the catwalks. Skin is still really clean and modern. There were a lot of deconstructed looks such as eyeliner applied freely and also strong, colourful lips. I think this reflects back onto my theory that if you take care of your skin and keep it modernly nude, you can then have fun with make-up and colour.
Thanks Florrie! Explore her portfolio further by clicking here.