If you haven’t heard, Rihanna released her much anticipated “Where Have You Been” music video over the weekend and it is definitely hot! In the video Rihanna is spotted in everything from lace bodysuits and tribal jewelry to animal print bodysuits and harem pants.
Besides the fashion on the set I was also intrigued by Rihanna’s makeup. Luckily MTV style sat down with Rihanna’s ‘makeup Artist, Kabuki, to discuss the secrets and vision for the ‘Where Have You Been video.
Check out the interview after the jump…
MTV STYLE: We last chatted with you after your technicolor alien MASTERPIECE that was “E.T.”, and since then, you’ve worked with Rihanna on her “Where Have You Been” video which dropped today. What was the process of developing makeup looks for that like?
KABUKI: Well, you receive a storyboard, and that will tell you the director’s vision, but that’s just the starting point. With the “Where Have You Been” video, it’s set in the jungle and the desert. I was getting this feeling of primordial jungle and heat. That’s not really conducive to looking “done up” with lipstick and everything like that, so I thought of more smoldering eyes and glowing skin and anything that could reference an animal without being ridiculous. I did some quick sketches and quick references, but it kind of took its own form as we were working.
Did you and the stylist, Mel Ottenberg, work together on these looks?
We kind of worked together but sort of over the phone at first. It was all very quick. I think they were doing the wardrobe fitting before the first day of the video, so they probably had gathered a lot of things like I had.
Did Rihanna give a lot of creative input on these makeup looks?
Yes, she absolutely did! She approved everything. It was great when she would be excited about a specific look. And the look with the gold on her face? That was actually her idea!
Speaking of movement, there’s a lot of choreography in “Where Have You Been.” Did that play a factor at all in how you developed makeup looks?
Definitely. I couldn’t use the lipstick or else it would get all over her face. [Laughs] I mean, there are, of course, ways around that, but you have to be aware of those things and think about them before you even get on set. In a way, that makes it a bit more exciting to work on a video than say, an editorial shoot, because sometimes makeup in a photograph doesn’t look as good as it did in person. That’s especially true for anything shiny or sparkly, because you only get that one frame. With a music video, you tend to pick up more textures, more glitter and sparkle and that kind of thing. In a way, I like that more. Plus, it’s exciting to really see a performance while you’re working.
Did you have a favorite look from your time on the set?
That’s kind of hard because I love each one. I get attached to all of them. I really liked the dance with all the scarves. There was a famous fashion illustrator, Antonio Lopez, who illustrated a book, Antonio’s Tales from the Thousand and One Nights, and that look reminded me of his illustrations. Kind of ’80s, but also kind of fantastic. Very relevant today, and I thought that the styling and choreography were great.
My favorite, though, might have been the main dance look. The one where she’s wearing that black lace Emilio Pucci? I think that’s also because her hair in that reminds me of a young Whitney Houston. For that look, I put a metallic red on her eyelids and that really popped in the light. For that look, I also had this idea to do some spikey eyebrows, and Rihanna was a little bit skeptical about it at first. She said something like, “Well, show me what it’s going to look like; show me a drawing of it,” and instead of going off to find some paper, I drew this eye with spikey eyebrows on my hand! She gave it the okay, and after, I was walking around the rest of the day with this spikey eyebrowed puppet hand.
Check out the rest of the interview here.
Image Credit: MTV Style