The Edit

Interview with Downton Abbey’s Make-up & Hair Designer – Magi Vaughan

Spob O’Brien Head of Professional Development at Illamasqua interviews Magi Vaughan Make-Up & Hair Designer of Downton Abbey

Magi spared a few moments catching up with Spob on how she took Downton into the 1920’s. They have both worked together on other projects and Magi has become a fan of Illamasqua products after using the products in series 3 of Downton Abbey

 How challenging was it creating looks for the 1920s for a modern audience?

 Doing a period drama is always challenging, you want to keep true to the period but also adjust it so that it is pleasing to the eye. Ladies of high society didn’t wear much make-up at that time, so the idea was to keep it all looking natural. Generally everything was rounded, the eyes and lips. Blush was very high on the cheeks and to round the eyes I used Individual Lashes only in the centre of the eye.

What was your favourite Illamasqua product to use of this series?

 My favorite Illamasqua product is the Powder Eye Shadows and I used Dizzy, Toxic, Heroine, Truth and Incubus on the entire female cast.

The Jazz scene must have been fun to design new looks. Where did you start?

The jazz scene was my favorite – it allowed me to push the look more towards the flapper era. I wanted all the ladies to look like little china dolls very made up and stylized – we used a lot of lashes and all the lips were very dark.

The men were made up as matinee idols with finger waved hair. My inspiration came from black and white films of that time.


   Is there one image you totally love from 1920’s?

The walls of the make-up trailer were decorated from top to bottom with images of 1920′s. Some being photographs, a great deal of adverts from that period, cuttings from magazines and some of my own sketches. It allowed us to have a constant reminder of what we were working towards. We lived and breathed the period.

What piece of art inspires you?

Gustav Klimt is always an inspiration.

 If you could time travel, which era would you go back to? Or would you travel to the future?

I love the 50′s/ 60′s – Bardot style – I believe it’s the most flattering to women

The Christmas Episode will be aired on Christmas day, Roll on the 25th of December!


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Govinder Rayt

Govinder Rayt

Writer and expert