Sunday, 20 December 2015

A Meet and Greet Blogger's Session with Ather Shahzad

I was lucky enough to get invited to a blogger's meeting last weekend, to meet the legendary fashion duo Ather Shazad, who are one of Pakistan's biggest stars in the fashion industry. The meeting was over tea and cake at The Tea Rooms in Fleming Manor, in central London, so it was an ideal place to be!

They are known for the seamless services which provide everything many fashion shoots, brides and fashion campaign require, being responsible for makeup, styling, selecting the model (which is mainly dealt with by Shazah Raza) as well as the actual photography (taken care of by business partner Ather). They're also known for their bridal services (which is where I initially have heard of them a good few years ago, as I have a few friends who have used him for their wedding days!).

Duo Shahzad and Ather
The event was mainly a sneak preview of Shahzad's make-up and styling skills (Ather is pretty shy so hid a little!), with a Q&A session and tips from the makeup artist himself, in advance of his Masterclasses which will be taking place in London, Edinburgh and Manchester in January 2016.

We discussed Shahzads' love for makeup and his history - he was 17 when he started doing makeup on others (and was doing photography initially with his friend Ather at the same time!) and began to get clients because of his talent. He's worked not just in Pakistan but for several designers for fashion campaigns, for the Western stars and for Bollywood, and has a variety of makeup styles - although these days he prefers soft, warm colours like peaches and golds, particularly when it comes to doing bridals.

We then were able to see Shahzad's talent on a model - he showed us one of his makeup looks and stylings on model Siarah who looked stunning. I really liked the fact that nothing looked OTT - everything looked very naturally, the foundation looked natural (no cakeyness!) and the whole look fused well with the outfit and jewellery.

Shahzad then took us through his steps - what he did and how to achieve the look - nothing was heavy or complex, and it looked very well done.

Tips from Shahzad:
  • Less is more! Too many girls use too much contour, too much foundation, too much heavy makeup - do what suits you and keep it more subtle.
  • Focus on one feature to emphasis - smokey eyes with a soft lip, or dramatic lips with lighter eyes. Sounds obvious but it's a classic rule for Shahzad when it comes to makeup.
  • Experiment, play around with colours and styles!
  • Lighting is EVERYTHING. You can have bad makeup and still take a good photo, but if the lighting is bad, no matter how great the makeup is, the photos can still come out badly.
  • For hot weather - use a water-based foundation - Shahzad sometimes uses a old-fashion method of Kryolan pancake foundation mixed with water for a very thin base.
  • Use a good cleanser for your skin - recommends the Creme de la Mer skin range and also Mac cleansers.
  • Don't over highlight, and make sure you apply on the cheekbones and not underneath on the cheek area.
We were then given our goody bags (yay!) which had a new range of makeup which is being released by Ather Shahzad for a brand called Luscious - it is already on sale in Pakistan and will soon be sold online in Sephora and Beauty Bay, which make for excellent accessibility for American and UK customers. This is the first makeup range from a Pakistani makeup artist and it is also the duo's first business venture in the UK, which I think will certainly be a hit amongst the make-up lovers in this country!

We were given quite a lot of makeup to try out - a lipstick palette, a lipgloss palette, an eyeshadow palette and blushers - which were in a beautiful range of colours and in matte and shimmery.

The lipsticks and lipglosses all have names which are named after famous models that the duo have worked with - such as Mehreen (syed) Iman, Cybil (Chowdry) and so on - which I thought was a lovely touch. I loved the blushers as well, beautiful tones which work well on darker skin - Shahzad explained that it was not just for Asian skin tones but black skin tones as well. Being one of the first makeup artists in Pakistan to work with black models as well, he understood the need for colours which suited darker skin tones as well.

You can see my haul below - I'll be posting swatches and reviews in a separate post but from my initial try-outs I love the beautiful colours and pigmentation!

It was really lovely to hear about Shahzad's experience in the industry - having seen his fashion campaigns with various labels in the last ten years (or more, as I've seen a lot of his pictures in magazines as a child as well!) it was pretty amazing to hear his inspirations.

I really enjoyed the event, as it was not just an opportunity to meet the stylist but also fellow bloggers - there were a few beauty editors, Pakistani fashion bloggers and enthusiasts to speak, and it was really fun to talk to them about blogging and the fashion world. And of course, we all took the time for a selfie!

Photo credits - Shahid Malik

I would definitely recommend making the most of this makeup class, mainly as the makeup I saw was pretty well done and it's worth learning if you are interested in makeup, either for yourself or for a career as a makeup artist. Being one of the icons in Pakistani makeup, it's one to go for, particularly as these classes are one-off so won't be repeated after the New Year.

You can buy tickets here for the classes which are taking place in London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Organisers: The Makeup Room
Makeup: Shahzad Raza
Hair: Shamalah Hairstylist 
Model: Sairah Khan
Wardrobe & Jewellery: O'nitaa London
Photography: Shahid Malik
Co-ordination:Zaf Shabbir
PR: Enigme Internationale

If you're not looking to attend the classes, check out the makeup line and let me know what you think - the prices are very reasonable and I'll be keeping an eye out for more!

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