Makeup Artist To Watch: Thomas de Kluyver


New York Fashion Week, much like New York itself, is a place you can meet anyone. Truly—hang out on the street for a bit and suddenly you’re with Karlie Kloss, or Grace Coddington, or Fabien Baron. I’ve snuck in, waited outside, walked around NYFW since I moved to the city for this reason. Five years in and, still, every season there’s at least one specific person I’m tracking down. This year it was . Not sure it would be fair to call him up-and-coming—he’s been around for at least a few years. But in such a congested industry, it seems like maybe he’s been hiding in plain sight. Regardless, his work is mesmerizing, and I was in love the moment I stumbled across it. It's dreamy, it’s wild, it’s colorful... The way he presents it himself is pretty damn nice too—his Instagram is full of close-up faces shot on his phone, sometimes with the harsh little flash, all kind of in a trance. Maybe it’s the new way to shoot beauty. I’m fixated! Anyway, I did manage to find him. And at the Sies Marjan show, no less; he was the hand behind that wild, colorful eye. We talked about the look, but then we delved into much more. He’s definitely someone to watch. Take notes!

“When I first started doing makeup I was putting it on myself with my fingers using different colors. That's how I started. It was my teenage fantasy. I basically was going to rave parties in the early 2000s in Australia, and I used to do makeup on myself with neon paints. I used to do makeup on my friends, too. Very haphazard—not makeup in the traditional sense. Just bits of paint, pencil. Then I met this dude who worked at the MAC counter, and I ended up getting a job there. I moved to London in 2007. At the time, people going to the clubs there wore a lot of makeup. I was working at the door of this one club, and I’d go wearing all this makeup and my high-heeled boots. People thought my makeup was cool. They were like, can you do that for a shoot? And I was like, oh yeah, sure... [Laughs] So I started getting booked for things. They were my first shoots ever in London. I guess it’s progressed from there. I've been working with Harley Weir [Editor’s note: Definitely one of our favorite, most interesting beauty photographers out there right now] for about two years. We did a shoot for French Vogue with Raquel Zimmerman, and I put all these white polka dots on her face. Sadly the picture never ended up being used in the magazine, but I guess she thought it was really unique, and now we work together all the time.

I wish my ideas just came out, but I actually have sketchbooks and I’ll plan them out. I'm constantly on the road, and I sit on planes and trains, and I just draw faces of makeup. I also keep notes in my phone. If I think of something, I'll write it down and then draw it in my sketchbook. That way I have these sketchbooks full of looks, that are ready whenever I need them. And it changes too. It grows and shifts. When I’m working with designers, I meet and speak with them before the show, so I can really do something special and unique with the makeup. I think my style is really playful. It connects with people's emotions, rather than being makeup in the traditional sense. I love when people say, ‘Oh, your makeup made me feel so happy.” I love colors in unique, playful kind of way. For some reason people like it. [Laughs]”

—as told to Tom Newton

Photos via Thomas' Instagram.