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Who is Isamaya Ffrench, named as "the future of the beauty"

Make-up artist is more than the creator of phallus-shaped lipsticks

Who is Isamaya Ffrench, named as the future of the beauty Make-up artist is more than the creator of phallus-shaped lipsticks

Non-conformist, subversive, creative, talented, but always surprising and interesting. Isamaya Ffrench has just been named "the future of beauty" by Business of Fashion and included in the BoF 500 Class 2023, a list of personalities who will help shape the future of the fashion and beauty market. The British make-up artist, beloved by photographers, brands and celebrities such as Madonna, Kate Moss, Rosalìa, Julia Fox and Iris Law, is known to many for her phallic-shaped lipsticks. The secret of her success? An aesthetic that goes beyond the canonical concept of beauty and challenges the perfectionism of the industry. Ffrench is guided by a non-conformist concept of "glam", a modern, gender-neutral approach to beauty, because "there are people who don't just want to be "glamorous and pretty", but also something more edgy and exciting. I want my brand to appeal to those people. Something honest and uninhibited." She is not concerned with making a product that allows those who use it to "look better and feel better when you're having a bad day". Isamaya believes that "make-up is an opportunity to explore a bigger concept, a bigger world and a bigger idea".


Who Isamaya Ffrench Is, Study and Career

Born in Cambridge in 1990, Isamaya fell in love with make-up at the age of 7 when she received the book The Art of Make-up by Kevin Aucoin, a bible of the beauty world, as a gift. She flipped through it open-mouthed, fascinated by the mix of people and celebrities Aucoin used make-up to transform into the most extraordinary versions of themselves. After studying 3D design at Chelsea University of Art and product design at Central St Martins, she joined Theo Adams Company in 2010, an artist collective involved in unique theatre productions, films, events, photography and sound. It wasn't until she did her first body painting for a magazine that she realised she could put into practise the passion and skill, developed doing face painting for children during college, into work. In 2017, she was hired as the director of Dazed Beauty and her career took off with a whirlwind of projects and collaborations that made her one of the most influential talents in the contemporary beauty industry. Over the past decade, she's been a brand ambassador for YSL Beauty and Christian Louboutin Beauté, creative consultant for Tom Ford Beauty, creative director for Byredo and Burberry Beauty, worked on runway shows and editorials with photographers like Mert and Marcus, Tim Walker and Inez and Vinoodh, and helped create iconic looks like Rihanna with super-thin eyebrows on the cover of British Vogue's September 2018 issue. And each time, she has stood out with a unique, dark, experimental and alternative vision of beauty. After years on the scrap heap, the talented Brit, who currently works as a beauty curator for Off-White, launched her own makeup line called simply Isamaya in 2022.


Where have we seen her work?

Isamaya has brought her talent in makeup and her unconventional personality to the beauty industry in ever-changing ways, through collaborations with brands and celebrities such as Madonna, Bella Hadid, Cher, Bjoerk, Julia Fox and Rihanna. Remember Riri in 2018 on the cover of British Vogue with Marlene Dietrich eyebrows? Her most memorable and experimental makeovers are the ones she creates for fashion weeks. The most recent example is the puffy and bruised make-up with scars and bruises on Irina Shayk and the other models at Mowalola's SS24, or the "printed" kiss on the covered face of Vivienne Westwood's SS24. Also springing from his personal flair and aesthetic are the transhuman animal faces of Collina Strada for FW23, the alien reflections and LED devices of Mowalola for FW23, the bioluminescent dye tongues and tufts of detached eyelashes, a reinterpretation of Twiggy's spider eyelashes, for Chet Lo's FW23, Burberry's SS22 deer ears, and Junya Watanabe's FW16 thin, plastered brows.


Isamaya, phallic lipsticks and her idea of beauty

The experience and expertise Ffrench has gained throughout her career came to fruition in 2022 with the launch of her cosmetics brand Isamaya. Again, her approach is not that of a simple make-up artist. French is a storyteller. It's dark fairy tales with creatures worthy of the Brothers Grimm, glam vampires, BDSM nightmares, fetishes, space cowgirls, science fiction and anatomically correct lipsticks. Her first, Industrial, was followed by glitter eyeshadows for modern, shimmery cowgirls, then metallic pigments with an industrial vibe. But their most famous drop, thanks to which the brand achieved seven-figure sales in its first year, is the Lips line. Instead of an innovative formulation or special colours, Isamaya focused on the packaging, creating a chrome shell in the shape of a phallus. A provocation, to be sure. But also ironic and in line with an idea of dazzling beauty that reflects and anticipates the zeitgeist by trying to offer something undefined but entirely subjective, personal. She herself affirms this in several interviews: "I am creating a new world for a new generation of make-up lovers. I want to inspire people and show them that there are other ways to approach beauty. I want to liberate them from mainstream ideals and give them a more realistic, artistic and visual view. I don't want to tell people how they should look. It's a journey where they have to ask themselves, "Who am I? What are my preferences? And how can I use make-up to make myself better?" It's about using make-up to get back to your essence, not to become someone else."