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Fashion & Self-Isolation: Makeup Artist Inge Grognard

Close up of faces of two models during the Dries Van Noten AW 2020 show wearing colorful eye shadows and bold lipstick colors. Make up is done by Inge Grognard
Make up by Inge Grognard for the Dries Van Noten AW 2020 show

Since the outbreak of Coronavirus the word ‘home’ has taken on a new meaning; it now stands for a safe haven and solidarity. However, a limited social life under quarantine causes various emotions such as fear, anxiety, uncertainty and nostalgia. Simultaneously there seems to be hope for a different future where a society is in transition.

MoMu has spoken to various people about how they are dealing with the current crisis. How has their life and work been disrupted? Does clothing still play a meaningful role when public life stands still? Which daily rituals provide guidance? And can clothing and the act of ‘getting dressed’ have an emotional impact on our well-being?

The Belgian makeup artist Inge Grognard has worked with designers such as Martin Margiela, Dries Van Noten, A.F.VANDEVORST and Walter Van Beirendonck. She has also made her name with international fashion labels including Balenciaga, Vetements and Rick Owens.

During the first fortnight of quarantine, I worked like a possessed woman; gathering information about the crisis. I was nervous and saw my projects disappear one by one.

It is so important that a vaccine is found quickly. People like me who work in a team, will be unable to go to work for some time. That's a scary thought because I miss working in a team. As a makeup artist you can't avoid getting close to others. My canvas is a living person.

Meanwhile, I have been working virtually on editorials and campaigns. The models are given instructions on how to do their hair and makeup. That is not a long-term solution. The tactile element is missing. I am preparing myself for a new way of working. I have found good face masks in Korea and also have some disinfectant at the ready. The annoying thing is that I am allergic to latex. It is also tricky to work with other gloves made of vinyl or nitrile. You miss the feeling of fingers on skin.

What I don't miss at all is the rat race. The rhythm in recent years had become exhausting, both physically and mentally. I’ve been travelling almost continuously, especially between Paris and New York for various projects and fashion weeks. I have always been a night owl but I couldn't manage it any more. Now I can. I have returned to my natural rhythm, going to bed about two or three in the morning and getting up late.

It is still important that I 'get myself ready' for the day. In the early days, it was tough but I always start my day with the same ritual. I take a bath, do my skincare routine and get dressed as if I am going out to work. A T-shirt, hoodie, black trousers and sneakers. If I were to wander around in my tracksuit bottoms all day, I wouldn't achieve a thing. Currently, I am focussing all my energy on my home. Next, I plan to organise my makeup stuff. It's an enormous task that I keep putting off. I know it will give me a new boost of energy. In the past there was little time for my own creative work. Perhaps there will be more in the coming months.

This crisis is miserable, but it's also a new challenge. We have all been dragged into something we have never experienced before. We no longer have control and that creates uncertainty. Maybe the fashion world will be obliged to consider its problem with overproduction and the number of collections released per year. Perhaps it will focus on design and quality. I live in hope.

MoMu is closed for renovations, open to inspire at other locations. Read more about it.