Cyboriana £14.95 from Pic © Matthew Shave (Image has been cropped)

A Beauty Trick & Treat

28th October 2016

Lisa Botwright discovers Face Lace – the make-up hack that’s the perfect way to add a little gothic drama to your Halloween or Christmas party costume...

the Creator of Face Lace, Phyllis Cohen, is a self-confessed ‘face fanatic’. An artist, an academic, a writer, and a sought after make up artist working with the likes of David Bowie, Paloma Faith and Nicole Scherzinger, Phyllis has been studying, drawing and painting faces for nearly four decades.

Although she was originally aiming for a career in art and illustration, when she arrived in London in the early 80s immediately after graduating from her Californian art school, her flamboyant and creative style caught the spirit of the experimental new romantic look perfectly – and she was embraced by the fashion world for her skill in applying cutting edge make up. David Bowie was a genuine fan and she collaborated with him to create the iconic look of his Blue Jeans video. She later returned to university to study for an MA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, and channelled her natural fascination and intellectual curiosity into anything that would help her understand faces better, choosing an eclectic academic mix of sculpture, perceptual psychology and anthropometrics.

Phyllis freely admits that having such wide-ranging interests is great for stimulating creativity, but not so great for personal organisation. “I can be involved in doing one thing and completely switch track in a second. I think I’m a nightmare to work with!” Nevertheless, the fashion world disagrees and she continues to work with top designers such as Jean-Paul Gaultier and on magazine shoots including Vogue and Vanity Fair.

Face Lace is a relatively new project and a natural extension to Phyllis’s obsession with dramatic face art. Clearly not a nightmare to work with, she says she ‘loves’ her team of women, and talks about making them lunch every day (“our favourite is my homemade hummous”) and dancing around the studio while they work, “to everything from Fellini soundtracks to 90s grunge.”

While us mere mortals will never have glamorous bespoke Swarovski crystal eyebrows made for us by Phyllis à la Lady Gaga, we can still add serious attitude to our party outfits with some of Phyllis’s striking and exquisite designs. Each one is a labour of love, starting out as a unique piece of artwork meticulously researched from different eras. “To get to the final product is so much work, but I’m getting better at it.”

The designs showcased here only hint at the extent of the drama they can add to any occasion. ‘Medusa’, which includes the dripping red fangs you apply to your lips, is perfect for a Halloween party. ‘Nefferpretty’ is an Elizabeth Taylor-inspired Cleopatra look, complete with glamorous lapi-lazuli coloured inserts and ideal for a costume party. ‘Batterfly’ would look incredible at a summer festival and ‘Romanesque’, full of Venetian drama, would take a simple black dress to a new level.

Phyllis explains that ‘Cyboriana’ [main pic] is inspired by Steam Punk: that it “elegantly mimics the construction of cyborg faces cracking open to reveal the cogs and wheels of the Victorian industrial revolution.” Imagine channelling that look at a party if you want to make an entrance.

Each piece is made with a high quality, hypoallergenic adhesive, so they can easily be applied simply by sticking them directly onto the face, and can even be re-used. Phylis recommends applying them onto clean skin with minimal make up immediately underneath – and refers to the great tutorial that has lots of tips, found on the website.

For maximum impact and minimum fuss, Face Lace is the perfect addition to your party wardrobe. Just add a big glass of champagne and a little imagination.

Face Lace is available to purchase at; with selected stock at Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and ASOS

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