Industry Insider: Gillian Okopny from NARS

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NARS National Lead Stylist, Gillian Okopny was recently in Vancouver to showcase the Spring collection. I met Gillian at the NARS counter, located at The Hudson’s Bay to chat about the latest collection.

Gillian’s 11-years experience as a makeup artist includes working on runway shows, editorial shoots and TV shows like Britain’s Next Top Model and Project Runway.

N7Gillian took me through the latest products for Spring, while expertly applying my make up. She began by prepping my skin with NARS skincare, using NARS Luminous Moisture Cream to hydrate my skin.

Lyndi: Why is it so important to prep your skin for makeup? 
Gillian: It is important to prep the skin before makeup because without good skin, you won’t have good makeup.  Skin is the base of  makeup.  Instead of trying to mask the imperfections with makeup, correct them before hand to allow for less makeup needed.  One of my favourite products for an instantly smoother base is the NARS Multi Action Toner which actually exfoliates the skin as well as hydrates.  I also really love the NARS Luminous Moisture Cream for instantly adding lots of hydration to the skin. N10One of the key products we spoke about was the Velvet Matte Skin Tint, that has just launched. Gillian colour matched my skin to the shade ‘Finland’ and used her fingers to apply the product.

L: Tell us about the theory behind using your fingers to apply the Velvet Matte Skin Tint?
G: Francois Nars believes that your fingers are some of your best tools.  When you apply complexion products with your hands, they will melt into the skin flawlessly with your body heat.  This application technique also allows for a lot of control with your Velvet Matte Skin Tint or any of your other favourite NARS complexion products.IMG_3598N4G: What I love about the new Velvet Matte Skin Tint is the impeccable finish.  It really creates the illusion of a velvety and soft look.  I also love the long wear quality which I find so practical for so many women.  Our days don’t always end after 7 hours and neither should our makeup! N8IMG_4795

While applying my lipstick, Gillian tells me they used that same shade, Rosecliff in the Christopher Kane SS16 runway show.

G: I love the practicality Rosecliff’s shade and tone.  It’s an ideal everyday shade.  I would describe the experience backstage as organized chaos.  Models are arriving at various times because some of them are coming from different shows and a few are arriving with just enough time to have hair and makeup done (at the same time of course!). 

Once the girls are dressed, we grab a few touch-up products and hit the line up before the models walk.  Personally, I am a huge fan of Christopher Kane’s designs.  This was definitely a show I had desired to be a part of.  I felt that the look that Lead Artist, Lucia Pieroni created for this show was so complementary to the clothing and very fun to execute. N3Gillian completed my look by powdering my face with velvet loose powder, which is one of my favourite (My shade is called Eden) As we finish our appointment, I ask Gillian what I always want to ask every make up artist:

L: What item do you think everyone should have in their makeup bag?
G: I think everyone should have a NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in their makeup bag.  This is like the BB Cream of concealers.  The finish and blendabilty are unmatched!  If you are going to leave the house with one thing on, it should be concealer and this one is a game changer!


For more information on the new NARS collection, visit