Jada Brookes
reviews the colour explosive Miles of
M•A•C, the collaborative art of MAC Cosmetics and
fashion photographer Miles Aldridge.
their two imaginary worlds collide, the
author’s aim is to “share a side of this
collaborative effort that perhaps people
haven’t seen” and the hope that the book
“serves as an inspiration for art directors,
make-up artists, set designers, hairstylists
and anyone with an interest in image-
This beautifully close knit working
relationship between the two men is
captured in a short note from Miles to
James. It reads, ‘Looking back over these
pictures, seeing again all this beauty and
weirdness is like being on a rollercoaster
rushing backwards as it loops thru
make-up rooms and photo studios from
London to New York and back again. In
these laboratories of GLAMOUR we
plotted together, encouraged each other
to go further… more BEAUTIFUL, more
Looking forward to more experiments
together and what strange beauties we
will find there.’ Legendary make-up artist
Val Garland reveals her experience of
‘making magic with James and Miles’ while
curator and author Valerie Steele takes a
close look at the work of MAC and Miles
Aldridge. Excited at working with James
and MAC for the first time, Val recalls,
“There was no real storyboard, which was
totally unheard of in those days. It was as
if James was testing my mettle – like he
was saying, ‘Go on Val, I know you’re into
spontaneity and being of the moment…
let’s see how creative you are.’ He handed
me 16 eye shadow colours and said, ‘Do
your thing.’” In her account, curatorValerie
Steele compares Miles and James to image
pioneers such as Richard Avedon, whose
1950s photographs evoke scenes from
a glamorous life, or stills from a film. She
writes, “If we look at the images created
by Miles Aldridge and James Gager for
MAC Cosmetics, we find a similar focus
on storytelling, although the narrative is
usually more oblique.”
Over the following pages, we find amazing
and colourful imagery that magnifies the
extent of MAC’s creativity in make-up with
titles such as ‘Tickled in Pink’, ‘All That Is
Gold! And Not Glitter’ and ‘When I Dare
To Wear This – It’s Red Alert’, each one
telling an amazing story. For example, one
of the MAC campaigns shows a young
woman with a halo of dark hair, blue eye
shadow and red lips, driving in a car. As
she clutches the red steering wheel tightly
with both hands, she glances to the side,
as if looking in her side mirror. Looking
at the shot taken through the windscreen
covered with drops of rain and the way
he lips on the model are deliciously
sensuous, full of radiant and glossy
colour, and forms the covering
picture of the book,
Miles of M•A•C
James Gager. This inspirational, high
fashion book celebrates the drama of the
make-up artistry of MAC and features
stunning pictures captured by iconic
fashion photographer Miles Aldridge.
James Gager, the group creative director
of MAC informs us in his introduction,
“Both Miles and I constantly create
scenarios in our head.I know that my mind
works in some very unconventional ways
– coming up with little visual vignettes,
making up stories from what is happening
around me… Miles is a magical storyteller
with his visual ideas, and often sketches
out concepts in his drawing pad before we
both sit down to embellish the scenarios –
fleshing out the characters and situations
until they start to feel real to us.” Out of
the innumerable leading visual talents that
James and MAC have worked with, one
of the longest relationships is with Miles
Aldridge. Together they have created an
amazing body of work, some of which
has already been seen, and much of which
appears in the book for the first time.
A book full of pictures depicting where
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