How Kevyn Aucoin Made The World More Beautiful, One Face At A Time


‘Larger Than Life: The Kevyn Aucoin Story’ is a tribute to a master

I didn't grow up with much in the way of organized religion, but that doesn't mean I didn't have a Bible of sorts, or my own lineup of revered saints and icons. Only, in my case, that holy book was Kevyn Aucoin's Making Faces, and the apostles had names like Winona, Naomi, Gwyneth, and Janet. (Yes, as in Ryder, Campbell, Paltrow, and Jackson.) I was introduced to this book and Aucoin's work when I was a teenager; I hadn't yet started wearing much in the way of makeup, and what I did know about beauty was that it should be "natural"-looking, and that the best makeup was the kind that made it look like you weren't wearing any. This was the late '90s, after all, and minimalism was in. But that all changed with Making Faces.

Everyone who's ever picked up a fashion magazine knows the power of transformation and the ways in which the addition of certain clothes and accessories and makeup can change you from yourself into someone who is—externally, at least—different. It's not hard to understand why the potential for becoming someone wholly new is appealing for teenagers—or for anyone, really, who is struggling with their identity, who doesn't feel like their insides match their outsides. Aucoin, as he made clear in his lifetime (he died at the age of 40 in 2002), and as an illuminating, wonderful new documentary Larger Than Life: The Kevyn Aucoin Story also emphasizes, was someone who long felt like an outsider, before he grew up to become one of the most influential and adored members of the high fashion community.

In the introduction to Making Faces, Aucoin wrote, "Trying to conceal the fact that I was a gay, effeminate, hyperactive, adopted child with a serious lisp in southern Louisiana would have been like trying to hide Dolly Parton in a string bikini!" And while it's impossible not to smile at this image, it's similarly impossible not to think of the pain of having to sublimate who he was because he was scared of how he would be seen (on why he stopped shoplifting makeup: "I realized it was wrong, and I realized I couldn't keep doing this because, God knows, in Louisiana you don't want to be a boy caught stealing lipstick... they'll kill you"). And yet, Aucoin never stopped making his art, helping to create a more beautiful world, face by face, than the one in which he found himself; he practiced his makeup techniques on his family members and taught himself tricks of the trade. (I still shudder thinking about how a young Aucoin thought that he was supposed to pluck his eyelashes instead of eyebrows. Ouch.)

Beyond that, Making Faces was so powerful because it featured the most famous women in the world looking sometimes entirely unrecognizable as themselves. For a young girl who sometimes thought life would be a million times better if only she looked like Shalom Harlow instead of herself, Making Faces served as a reminder that makeup shouldn't be viewed as a way to banish imperfections, but rather to celebrate fantasy. Aucoin offered readers a chance to get to know their own faces more intimately, to figure out their contours (he was far ahead of the Kardashian contour craze), and to celebrate themselves, even if that meant changing themselves for a little while. It was a reminder that beauty could be fun and serious, fantastical and historically relevant. It was a generous work, a reflection of a man who spread hope in an industry often marked by cynicism.

And it's this spirit that's celebrated in Larger Than Life. Director Tiffany Bartok said that better understanding Aucoin's inner beauty was one of the most powerful things about making this film; she explains, "My journey was to make a film about one of my idols. So through 60 interviews and endless footage, I did come to understand and love my idol more than I ever thought possible—far beyond his unprecedented artistry... he has taught me to be a better person. Kevyn was more than makeup. He was also the guy who cleaned the barbecue grill himself, and that is stunningly beautiful."

The documentary took me back to those long-ago days when I'd pore over the pages of Making Faces with my friends, seeing how much potential there was to become whoever we wanted to be, marveling at the power we had to shape our own faces, and our own fates. Aucoin's life was filled with difficulty and triumph, pathos and unadulterated joy; and the world of possibility he opened up for so many of us was a true gift, and it's one he knew he was giving to people, and one he gave freely and with love. As he says in an old interview clip in the film, "You try to give back through what you do and what you know how to give, and, for me, it's... beauty."

Watch an exclusive clip of everyone from Kate Moss to Isabella Rossellini talking about what Aucoin meant to them, below.

Larger Than Life: The Kevyn Aucoin Story can be preordered on iTunes, here, and will air theatrically in L.A. on July 20.

Screenshot via YouTube

The band shared details about their new St. Vincent-produced album that will drop "you into the world of catastrophe"

Sleater-Kinney just shared more information about their St. Vincent-produced album and dropped a new single.

Per Billboard, Sleater-Kinney revealed that their new album, which they've been teasing since early this year and will be their first since No Cities To Love from 2015, will be called The Center Won't Hold. It's due out on August 16 via Mom + Pop Records. "We're always mixing the personal and the political but on this record, despite obviously thinking so much about politics, we were really thinking about the person—ourselves or versions of ourselves or iterations of depression or loneliness—in the middle of the chaos," Carrie Brownstein said in a statement. Corin Tucker further noted that the new album will "[drop] you into the world of catastrophe that touches on the election."

Janet Weiss noted that the band will "explore a different sound palette" with this album, and pointed to St. Vincent as the reason behind it. She said that St. Vincent "has a lot of experience building her own music with keyboards and synthesizers so she could be our guide to help us make sense of this new landscape and still sound like us."

To satiate us until then, the band released a lyric video for new single, "The Future Is Here," which is very grungy. Bump it, below.

Sleater-Kinney - The Future Is Here (Official Lyric Video)


This is so satisfying!

Even Jon Snow knows just how unsatisfying the final season of Game of Thrones was, and he's ready to apologize. Well, a deepfake of him is at least. A heavily-edited version of Snow's speech from the fourth episode—just before the bodies of those lost in the Battle of Winterfell get burned—now features Snow apologizing for the conclusion of the show and lighting the script on fire.

"It's time for some apologies. I'm sorry we wasted your time," Snow begins. "And I know nothing made sense at the end. When the Starbucks cup is the smallest mistake, you know you fucked up! We take the blame. I'm sorry we wrote this in like six days or something," he adds, before signaling to his peers to light the script with torches and "just forget it forever." "Fuck Season 8," he says before the pages begin to crackle and burn.

If there were more lines left to alter, we would have loved to see Snow also tackle how messy Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister's story line ended up, as well as Bran's kingship, Cersei's boring demise, and the water bottle appearance.

Watch the entire deepfake and try to heal the wounds left by HBO below.


Photo by Darren Craig

It premieres today, exclusively via NYLON

In LP's song "Shaken," the most recent single from her 2018 record Heart To Mouth, she tells the story of seeing her lover out with someone else—ouch. Today, exclusively on NYLON, she releases a cheeky animated music video that pokes fun at the song's heightened drama and perfectly demonstrates all the angst that comes with falling hard for someone.

"She looks at you like I used to/ And I'm just sitting in the corner sh-sh-shaken," LP sings, as the visual—with art by Maayan Priva—depicts the singer hanging out in a bar, watching the girl she likes meet up with another girl. Despite the situation's inherent drama, "Shaken" is less of a ballad and more of an upbeat bop. LP told us she loves the way "this little video captures some of the fun of the song, and its inherent comical anxiety." Sure, heartbreak isn't that funny, but our (sometimes) overly dramatic reaction to it kind of is.

"'Shaken' feels like a bit of a wild card on this record," LP says. "It's the closest I've come to writing a musical, which I hope to do one day." We heartily endorse this idea: Please, LP, give us the queer jukebox musical we crave.

Until that day comes, though, you can watch the music video for "Shaken," below.

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Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.

This cameo has the Beyhive buzzing

I went to see Men In Black: International alone. Which would have been fine if it wasn't for the shock I received when I saw two specific characters on the screen. Unable to keep it to myself, I shared a curious look with the stranger next to me, who was obviously thinking the same thing as me. "Is that them...?" I whispered first. "I think… so," she replied. Then the two men in question started to dance, and we were both sure: "Yep, that's them."

It was Laurent and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois, better known as Les Twins. Fans of Beyoncé will recognize the duo as the talented brothers who often accompany her on tour and in music videos. In Men In Black: International, the two of them play shapeshifting entities—they're more like energy forces than aliens—who pursue Tessa Thompson's and Chris Hemsworth's characters throughout the duration of the film. The twins' ability to manipulate their bodies in ways that are graceful and otherworldly really helps sell them as extraterrestrials and is fun to watch.

So if Thompson in a suit or Hemsworth shirtless weren't enough motivation, here's another reason to go see it. If you look close, you can see them in the trailer below.


Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

"I am honored to share this bonding experience with my own daughter"

In a heart-warming Instagram photo, Serena Williams shares the history of hair braiding and the importance of the tradition. The tennis player shared a photo of herself braiding her daughter Olympia Ohanian's hair and spoke about how "honored" she was to be able to "add another generation" to the tradition of the practice.

The photo shows Williams attentively braiding her daughter's hair while Olympia smiles, obviously loving the experience. Williams noted that hair braiding was created by the Himba people in Namibia, Africa, and that "we have been braiding our hair for centuries." "In many African tribes braided hairstyles were a unique way to identify each tribe," she continued.

Williams pointed out that braiding is a bonding experience. "People would often take the time to socialize," she wrote. "It began with the elders braiding their children, then the children would watch and learn from them. The tradition of bonding was carried on for generations, and quickly made its way across the world."

Williams closed her post with a sweet message about her daughter, saying that she's "honored to share this bonding experience" with her.

See the post, below.