The inimitable Charlotte Tilbury, renowned makeup artist, creator of glow-giving products, and the woman responsible for some of the best skin on the red carpet, has collaborated with the recently relaunched London club Annabel's to create the perfect ladies' powder room.
Annabel's, which originally opened in 1963, has a rich and rebellious history, hosting everyone from countesses to rock stars via models and designers. The opulent revamp, designed by Martin Brudnizki, sees every room take on a different grandiose theme. With the city's swankiest eateries fighting for grid space with ever more Instagrammable bathrooms, Annabel's has set a whole new 'pics or it didn't happen' standard.
For the powder room – think Marie Antoinette on acid – Tilbury has created a lighting dial to capture the perfect light while topping up your lipstick, and a dedicated playlist; she's also designed makeup looks for the staff on each floor of the club.
We chatted to the beauty maestro about dancing into the night with Grace Jones and Kate Moss, the most luxurious products in her makeup bag, and how she'll be expanding her empire in the near future.
Hi Charlotte! What made you want to work with Annabel's?
It’s an iconic institution that has a truly legendary history. When they showed me the plans – from the interiors, to the architecture, to the outdoor areas – I knew it was going to be incredible! I loved the vision. And I was so excited to be invited to sit on a creative council that was shaping the future innovations of the club; I look forward to welcoming in this wild and wonderful era!
What's on your powder room playlist, and what kind of atmosphere do you want the space to have?
I can’t live without music! It makes me feel good. Dancing and having lots of fun nights with my friends is my magic fuel. I’ve had some incredible nights at Annabel’s from watching Lady Gaga at a private concert to seeing the amazing Grace Jones perform – Kate Moss and I even got up and danced with her! I’ve included some of my favourite artists on the playlists, from Prince, Madonna and George Michael to Luther Vandross, David Bowie and Candi Staton; they are all such amazing artists and always get the party started.
Talk me through the looks you've designed for Annabel's staff...
I have created two gorgeous makeup looks for the staff at Annabel’s, a sophisticated daytime eye with a pop of nude pink on the lips using K.I.S.S.I.N.G in Bitch Perfect or Hot Lips in Super Cindy and for the evening, a golden-bronze smoky eye with a modern statement bold red lip using Matte Revolution in Red Carpet Red or Hollywood Lips in Screen Siren.
If you had just five minutes to get ready, what would you do and use?
I would definitely use my Hollywood Flawless Filter which creates the ultimate superstar-lit glow in seconds. It's a customisable hybrid complexion booster, it has the versatility of a primer, the megawatt glow of a highlighter, and the perfecting properties of your favourite digital filter. It’s my secret recipe to give a filter to celebrities' complexions on the red carpet before all the camera tricks.
I then would also use my bestselling and celebrity favourite Instant Look in a Palette collection which is the perfect five-minute face on the go, an all-in-one, beauty palette that every woman has in her beauty kit for day to evening makeup. It includes seven of my best makeup secrets for a natural, glowing look that enhances what nature naturally blessed you with. My current favourite is the Smokey Eye Beauty one.
What does your hair routine look like?
I love Sam McKnight’s Cool Girl texturising spray. I’ve worked with Sam on many shoots and runways over the years and we are now both contributing editors for British Vogue. This spray is ideal for throwing into my bag when I’m on the go between appointments and parties for an instant volume boost.
Can you remember the first beauty product you bought in your teens?
I remember the first time I wore mascara, it changed my life. When I was 13 I went away to boarding school and I started wearing mascara. Overnight, I felt instantly more empowered, magnetic and mesmerising – I felt enriched with confidence.
When did you realise you wanted to pursue beauty professionally?
My ambition and journey as a makeup artist started back when I was growing up in Ibiza; it is such a magical, bohemian place. I was constantly surrounded by a melting pot of creatives and visionaries who sparked my own creativity and I was therefore always walking a path towards makeup artistry. My talented father, Lance, as a painter in Ibiza, gave me an amazing root in colours, tonality and contrasts. I always knew I wanted to create my own brand. I started dreaming it up at school as a young girl. I would always give my friends makeovers, advise them on what clothes to wear, the colours that suited their hair colour, and eye colour… How to make themselves the most beautiful versions of themselves!!
What’s the one product that you have repurchased the most over the years?
I always have my Mason Pearson hairbrush, I love how genius it is. I like to make sure I have plenty of volume in my hair, especially at the crown. I am never without my Magic Cream, too – I am always fully stocked.
What’s the most luxury beauty product you own?
Darling, beauty is always worth the investment if it’s good quality. I always try to have regular facials with an amazing facialist; good skincare is something I never scrimp on. I combined all my skincare know-how with the anti-ageing expertise of the world’s leading laboratories to create my Magic Night Cream – a revolutionary beauty sleep cream-elixir that will give you the best-looking skin of your life. It’s packed full of a powerhouse of eight 'magic' youth-boosting ingredients including Winter Daphne stem cell extract for a more youthful-looking, firmer-feeling complexion; time-released retinol to boost rejuvenation; Red Algae Marigel, rich in calcium and magnesium, for smooth, soft skin creating a barrier against environmental damage; and the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, known to condition and soothe for a model-like complexion. The cream-elixir has a gorgeously luminous, velvety texture and works to give you smooth, retexturised-looking skin.
Who are your beauty icons and why?
From a young age, I had posters on my walls and bought loads of reference books of silver screen sirens like Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot and Marlene Dietrich. I was fascinated by their faces – I used to spend hours studying them and thinking 'How can I steal a bit of their DNA and bottle it?' Today, my entire collection is centred around past and present icons who inspire me, that’s where the idea for my '10 looks' wardrobe came about. From Kate Moss and Brigitte Bardot for The Rock Chick to Penélope Cruz and Sophia Loren for The Dolce Vita, they are iconic because they are trend leaders who know what works for them – they have a signature style that people want to emulate – but they can also embody several looks.
What's your favourite lip product?
My mother always says "lipstick is instant glamour" and no makeup look would be complete without it! I’m obsessed with my iconic, bestselling Matte Revolution Pillowtalk lipstick and Pillowtalk Lip Cheat lip liner. They are the perfect pair for a gorgeous pillowy pout in seconds. It’s a gorgeous nude pink shade that compliments my fair skin tone beautifully.
Is there a particular person whose face you enjoy making up the most?
It's impossible to choose! Throughout my career I have been lucky enough to work with countless beautiful women that are gorgeous in so many different ways. From working with Kate Moss when I was starting out in the industry at 19, to kickstarting my career during the amazing supermodel era of the '80s and '90s and working with all the biggest names – Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista – it was such a dream! Since then, I’ve worked with so many iconic actresses, models, and powerhouses – from Amal Clooney, Salma Hayek, Kim Kardashian-West, Sienna Miller, Penélope Cruz, Gigi Hadid, to Jennifer Aniston, J.K. Rowling, Nicole Kidman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Cara Delevingne, Kendall Jenner – the list is endless.
I am incredibly proud of my Hot Lips lipstick collection which is inspired by some of the world’s most mesmerising women and during the launch it helped support the amazing charity Women for Women International. The charity and each of the incredible celebrities involved inspire me in so many ways. It’s the ultimate all-female collaboration with 12 incredible women: Miranda Kerr, Nicole Kidman, Salma Hayek, Kate Bosworth, Laura Bailey, Cindy Crawford, Helena Bonham-Carter, Liv Tyler, Emily Ratajkowski, Carina Lau, Poppy Delevingne and Kim Kardashian-West. I really admire each of the women that inspired Hot Lips and with them I want to spread the powerful feelgood factor a gorgeous new lipstick shade gives. I have extracted their beauty DNA, mixing colours that really embody their style and personality, encapsulated it and am now giving it to everyone!
Makeup aside, what else makes you feel beautiful?
Spending time with my gorgeous husband George and my two wonderful boys Flynn and Valentine – we’ve actually just come back from a fabulous week away on a skiing holiday, I loved spending time all together. I’m lucky to have a very close family and I always make time for them and my friends. I really value the time spent with them, it means everything to me.
How will your beauty empire expand this year?
I see the brand continuing to totally revolutionise and disrupt the beauty industry... I want to make sure we sustain and build on the momentum we have with further expansions in the UK and launching even further afield following the incredible success from launching our first counters in Hong Kong. I have always challenged the status quo and broken rules – goes with being a redhead! I am determined to be a disrupter in the industry and I want my company to be known for groundbreaking innovation across all that we do. I couldn't be more excited about what's happening next at Charlotte Tilbury – stay tuned darlings!