Artistic Expression: Sonia Kashuk and Linda Mason on Making the Most of Color, No-Makeup Makeup, and More


We all have mentors that we’ve looked to for inspiration and guidance in pursuit of our dreams. Sonia Kashuk is no different: the makeup maestro has partnered up with her mentor Linda Mason for a limited edition collection of accessories featuring Mason’s artistic touch on bags, brushes, brush cups, and much more. The British beauty guru defined the '70s and '80s with vibrant pops of color that splashed up on the runways of John Paul GaultierJohn GallianoGiorgio Armani, as well editorials, most notably with Steven Meisel. Mason’s influence has become infused into Kashuk’s own collections with the accessories as the latest link. Glam recently got to chat with the pair to touch on the collaboration, their specific beauty style, and the need for color saturation this spring.

On their Target partnership and their must-have items:

SK: For me, being able to share and celebrate people that have been really, truly instrumental in my life, so just being able to share the talent that I was so exposed to.

LM: It was exciting for me to see how beautifully [Sonia] did everything, [including] the quality of the product and to see how you respected the design and really incorporated beautifully it in the accessories. It’s going to be really exciting to have it out in the shops and to see it there in Target. 

SK: That’s like asking who’s my favorite child! I have no idea; we have a nice assortment. There are people that go for brushes, for sure, but I feel like with this collection somebody would gravitate towards the tray because it really encompasses Linda’s art in its entirety —

LM: And there’s nothing else like that out there. I love the whole collection, but when I saw the set, I was grabbing at the one with the handles because I felt you could almost walk out of the house with it. And I love the container because I have containers all over, so I wanted to use it in my bathroom, but I’ll be using it on my desk.

SK: And all I could think about was seeing all of this and after Linda had brought in the final artwork. When you see the vanity tray with the face on it, I thought, “How cool for Linda to have that in her bathroom or her office.” 

LM: I will definitely have it out. I have a special table here that I’ll definitely have on display.

SK: It all of sudden takes your artwork off the wall and right into your life, which is so cool. 

On their different makeup styles:

SK: Linda always had an incredible sense of color, and I think that that has always been, for me, a huge part of who she is and what her makeup is about, what her artwork is about. I feel like Linda’s definitely stayed true to her art and never really compromised on what her sense of who she was as a makeup artist. My personal style was more clean but yet loving and understanding color. But in general I think I was a little more commercial than Linda was, but I always appreciated her art form.

LM: It’s not that I’ve never done approachable makeup – I do, but I guess I’ve always like to experiment and push barriers. And I think people remember you for what perhaps is the most surprising or shocking, but it’s not just what I’m about. I do like to do very simple things, but even when I do simple things, I try to do something a little different and add a touch of color. But there’s always a thread that can go through so you can recognize the style. I think Sonia has that too but in a different, more reserved way, which if you want to say commercial is fine.

SK: I think Linda is amazing with her sense of color on application. She can do the most beautiful no-makeup makeup but approach it with color, which is really interesting, but it still looks very fresh and natural whereas I tend to do it, especially as I’ve gone into my brand, I approach color and that aspect more on the accessories line of the business. It’s like color is absolutely my life as well, I just think Linda has just been so brilliant at always incorporating color into the beauty aspect more so than me. Even when I was a kid and studying editorial credits and the work that Linda was doing, it was just mind blowing. It’s so reminiscent of way back when of what Linda is doing to what people are doing today, Linda was doing 25 years ago.

LM: Time flies, doesn’t it? [Laughs]

SK: We always ask, “Do we share those numbers or keep those under the covers?” [Laughs]

On the prevalent no-makeup makeup trend:

SK: The funny thing for me to see is that no-makeup makeup is really not “no makeup.” It’s a lot of makeup to make is look like there’s no makeup and it depends on what kind of look you’re going for. When you’re talking about no makeup, it depends on number one, is a girl who’s drop-dead gorgeous. Some of these girls are creatures from another world. You take the average woman, and it’s not translatable. 

LM: That always gets me. There is a way of applying it on different ages of different women for different looks that can look like a no-makeup look if you want to look at it that way. But I think the fun of makeup is the experimental process and being able top try new things and be able to change yourself and be somebody different or just accentuate your personality. It’s almost artistic expression – you’re your own artist. So why deprive yourself of the pleasure of using a little color on your face when a majority of us need it? You can alter your look to suit the fashion in a way, but actually trying to follow it to a tee, looking at 17-year old girls who have the perfect skin and thinking you’re going to look like that is sort of not healthy.

SK: And I think it’s sort of a bubble if you’re a young hipster kid in New York City. But I guess being on the commercial side of having a brand, I can tell you that for most women, it’s just the bigger numbers and the reality is most women are more confident and feel better with a little makeup on. They feel more confident with makeup. I think there’s a group that’s super trendy that might look at that, but I just think there’s always going to be the bigger numbers. There are people who maybe wear too much makeup and they can tone them down a little bit maybe, but I still feel like there’s a reason for makeup, and there will continue to be a reason for makeup.

LM: Yes, using it more as an accessory does not take away the fact that you can use it in a. Looking at the sort of natural look, they’ve got a load of stuff on to make their skin shiny—

SK: Exactly!

LM: But I think there’s a way to make it more artistic even if you have that type of look. I feel like people think they’re artistic, and they think they’re daring, and it’s not really. Everybody did it with nails, why not with your face? It’s makeup. Look at these tattoos; you can’t get them off. But with makeup, what are you afraid of? I mean, makeup washes off; it’s not even like a haircut. It’s ridiculous that people don’t experiment with it at all. I’m still going to push for it. [Laughs]

SK: Linda will always push for color.

LM: I think it’s so stupid. I hate tattoos; they’re so incredibly ugly, and you can get fabulous ones that are temporary if you want to. They’re beautiful and you can take them off like your clothes. Who the hell wants to wear the same dress everyday?

SK: The thing with no makeup is there’s still a lot of makeup. There’s highlighter, there’s contour, there’s shine—

LM: Contouring’s in. I guess that’s what they think of with no-makeup makeup. The contouring thing’s in, but I remember five years ago people would say, “Ugh, ew, they did contouring on me.” Can you imagine? That shows how old fashioned they are. It sort of comes and goes like everything else. Lipstick is in right now; it’s really selling. Women still love to throw on a little red lipstick to make themselves feel good and go out, and I don’t think red lipstick’s ever going to go out. It really depends on how you wear things, and everything has its place. Even a bright lipstick can just make you look fabulous and so quickly and brighten you up. 

SK: Listen, that’s why there’s the saying “Go put on a little lipstick” because it can be transformational. 

LM: Especially if you’re feeling down, it can give you a lift.

On the best way to transition your look for spring:

SK: Brighten up a bit. I think that color’s become more season-less in a way.

LM: I think if somebody wants to go for the no-makeup look, they should take Sonia’s brushes and hang them together around their neck; it will look great! 

Images courtesy of Sonia Kashuk's Instagram.