Richard Young has always had an eye for detail. The self-professed ‘Caribbeanist’ remembers growing up as a youngster in Trinidad, noticing what others would easily overlook. “I always remember and tell the story of my mother saying I would be looking at T.V. and say ‘something went wrong there when the lady went into the room. Her hairstyle changed. And she’d say ‘What craziness is this child saying?” he said with a chuckle. “And then I learnt how that is an area called continuity that has to be managed well when filming.”
It is this kind of meticulousness which has made him one of the region’s premier production designers. Young has brought his mastery to countries such as the Bahamas, Suriname, Guyana, and various states in North America producing events, styling ads, and running shows. He has also been labeled a ‘Caribbean Fashion Guru’ as a judge and creative consultant on Caribbean’s Next Top Model. But this time he has set his sights on another weapon in his vast arsenal: make-up.
“I have been working in make-up because it’s part of developing the theme and therefore I learnt it. And now I’m branded with a line called Aria. The lip colours that just came out for carnival here, it’s now being launched and branded with my name on the whole thing. It’s called ‘Leve Chaud’, the hot lip, at Aria Skin Science.
The project is a collaboration with St Lucian dermatologist Dr Desma Destang.The line was put together by experts in make-up from LA and New York. But to make an inroad in the Caribbean they needed a native person to associate with it and Destang reached out to Young.
“I started making recommendations of the colours and textures and the consistency, pigments. I have been working in make-up with Sacha (Cosmetics) for 20 something years. I did Miss Universe when it was in Trinidad and I used to be the demonstrator of make-up when I lived in Antigua. I’ve worked with Flori Roberts and Fashion Fair. I’ve worked with make-up lines over the years just on a knack and I worked out a technique I call my own. Not the textbook technique but you’re going to get good results,” Young explained.
One of his specialties stems from a well-known fixture of Caribbean culture.
“Carnival make-up I made my own in a way because at carnival time I start doing faces at 2:30 in the morning on Tuesday inTrinidad. And people come in their costumes because they have to catch their bands at 6 and 7. And we started a team of us building with stones, feathers and other things to give you this unique face because I think the carnival style is our couture. Because what couture is essentially is layering in an interesting innovative way and that’s what we do. Stones, beads, art: it’s really magnificent taking nothing and making something.”
It’s a philosophy which Young was eager to integrate into the St Lucian ‘mas experience.
“I told Desma we need to introduce it here or reintroduce it because people do their make-up but you have to let them know there is a rationale behind it. It’s not just what you feel. You have to create this other person so that the lookers on can enjoy you more. You go out there and you are yourself yes, but the person that sometimes you hold back all year they’re a little more exhibitionist. And you also have to be this performer for all those people and children who line the streets looking up at you, not as John Brown or Joe Public, but as a masquerader. And they have to be mesmerized by your look, so part of your look is not only your costume, it’s your make-up. They just don’t want to see a plain face on top of a costume. They want this transformed person,
they want this person who became something else and make-up does that,” said Young.
He then added, “That’s how I teach make-up, that’s how I enjoy it and that’s how people can enjoy it if they learn to do it. Who do I feel like being? What side of my personality I want to pop with today? And you have fun with it. It doesn’t mean technically knowing to do your socket, your lid, and all of that and concealer. You just maintain your skin: cleanse, tone, moisturize, and you start experimenting. And that’s what I’m here to offer so we’re going to do classes and workshops. You’re going to love that. Skin Science is going to introduce it.”
The company plans to offer the classes to not just make-up artists, but the everyday woman who just wants to be able to perfect her own look. Young admits that a lot of women don’t wear cosmetics just for the simple reason that they don’t know how to do it. He is hoping to erase that mind-set.
“Some people wear their make-up abashedly like they’re not comfortable with it because they don’t know how to do it but they are trying something. But if you know that your application is done in a certain way you are more confident. You know you are looking well and that’s it.”
Look for Young to be instilling that confidence and enthusiasm in women everywhere.