Thursday March 1, 2012
Imaginative play with Chen Man Collection
By CHOW HOW BAN
The M.A.C CHENMAN Collection is a testimony to M.A.C’s unique vision mirrored through its partnership with a key influencer of art and photography.
Photography and beauty brands have often come together to create a visual language to capture the imagination.
The M.A.C CHENMAN collaboration is yet another example of Canadian brand M.A.C demonstrating its unique vision through a partnership with a key influencer in the world of art and photography.
Chen Man is currently China’s most celebrated photographer, having made her mark shooting the covers for avant-garde magazine Vision. Born in 1980 in Beijing, China, she studied graphic design at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. Her work is a combination of camera skill and technical mastery; she is considered THE star of the fashion photo world in China.
M.A.C Cosmetics rolls out its M.A.C CHENMAN Collection this month, designed for women who are game for a twist of colours, textures and fantasy in their make-up.
The collection comprising beauty powder, fluidline, lipglass, mineralised eyeshadow, mascara, pigment and brow set, was developed based on the artistic input of Chen Man, who is one of China’s most gifted and recognised photographers.
The inspiration came from Chen’s fascination with love and water, which she believes are two main elements of the origin of life.
This concept was beautifully translated into a product range that revolves around the colours of pink and blue, which represent both love and water respectively.
For want of a description of the collection, the words “ground-breaking” and “pushing creative boundaries” come to mind. There is a sense of calm yet statement-making effect in the final visual. Chen likes that the pink and blue colours of the collection do not just stand alone, but can be intertwined to create a unique effect.
“The colours bring about the cold and warm side of a woman (as blue reflects the cool side and pink represents warmth). I designed two shades of pink, the first being striking pink and the other, light pink which gives the woman a mysterious and youthful impression,” said the 31-year-old in an exclusive interview in Beijing.
“Mixing pink and blue creates purple which is associated with uncertainty. The colour and shape of the eyeshadow looks like a yin-yang imprint, similar to that seen in Taoism. I feel this is not merely a cosmetic product but something which has life to it.”
The purple mixture, she said, was unique and the colour effects vary each time one applies the mineralised eyeshadow.
“The product might have been conceptualised by a Chinese woman but it does not mean that it only suits Oriental women. It is a product for women who are filled with love and true to themselves,” Chen added.
She exploded into the fashion scene in 2003 when she completed a series of revolutionary covers for the Shanghai-based fashion and arts magazine Vision.
Although then still a student at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, she made a breakthrough and weaved her magic to produce eight fine images that captured the socio-cultural fascinations of the moment among Chinese youths.
The success paved the way for her transition to being purely a fashion photographer. Her work can be seen in international publications such as Vogue, Elle, Bazaar, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and Esquire.
She currently runs a company that produces covers of celebrities and advertisement campaigns for international brands such as Motorola, Adidas, Converse and Gucci. She has also been actively holding art exhibitions in major Chinese cities.
Despite juggling between her role as a busy photographer, and being a wife and mother of two, Chen remains a simple woman at heart “who is always looking for love”.
“Every morning after I wake up, I spend time with my ‘babies’ (aged one and three years old). Like others in the fashion industry, I only start work in the afternoon.
“During my leisure time, I learn acupuncture and other Chinese practices, and of course, catch up with friends,” said Chen, who is married to American-born Chinese Raphael Ming Cooper, a co-founder of skateboard company Society Skateboards.
“The world needs love. Based on my observations, we place too much emphasis on the external world which is visible to the naked eye, such as whether we are beautiful or skinny. The development of the external world has reached its limits.
“It’s time for us to shift our focus to develop our inner world. Buddhism says that one’s inner world somehow determines the external world,” she said.
Through her collaboration with M.A.C Cosmetics, Chen said she hoped to transmit the message of love which everyone should have in developing one’s healthy mind.
“Love is a universal language. Everyone can relate to it because when you see a baby, you feel love and when you see your loved ones, you feel you are being loved,” she added.
Make-up artists and creative workers at M.A.C Cosmetics who have worked with Chen before describe her as someone who is very particular about details, especially when it comes to colours.
Her artistic talent and inclination towards colours were unearthed at the age of two, when she drew a mouse that had been running around her house. Impressed by her drawing, her mother enrolled her in a drawing class.
She attended a high school specialising in art and worked as a graphic designer after graduation. She found her ultimate interest in photography after her visual art training in her early years.
Another reason why Chen chose to work with M.A.C was because it gave her a chance to tell her story through colours in the collection.
“I think M.A.C is a super-inclusive brand which brings together all sorts of styles. As a cosmetic brand, M.A.C has a wide array of colours, contours and textures contained within its many products and every woman should be able to find something she wants,” Chen concluded.
Chen Man highlights