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Vipul Bhagat: Make-up Artist to the Stars

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With over two decades of rich experience in the make-up industry, celebrity make-up artist, Vipul Bhagat, is a name to reckon with. He shares with Salon India his journey so far, his preferred brands and more

Tell us about your journey as a hair and make-up artist so far.
It’s been a wonderful journey. I started working started very early in life and my family wasn’t supportive at an earlier stage. 25 years ago, all parents wanted their kids to be doctors and engineers and I didn’t want to do any of that. On hindsight, I believe this is a better profession. Make-up artistry is an art and I can work from anywhere in the world.

What was your big break in the entertainment industry?
My big break came when I was assisting Prajay Mapsekar, better known as Munna in the advertising world. He was my first guru and I was his slave for three and a half years. But he only used to do make-up. In those days, it was a kind of unspoken rule that men only did make-up and women would only do hair. So while working on an ad film with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, the director, Kutu Chatterji introduced me to a hair and make-up artist from Paris called Edward Mendonza, known as Jojo. I joined him and learnt the skill of hairstyling. I worked with him for three years and since he only used to do fashion shoots, I learned a lot from him. So in a way, this was my big break because I got to work with the biggest designers like Tarun Tahiliani, Suneet Varma, JJ Vallaya and the biggest models – Marc Robinson, Sheetal Malhar, Meher Bhasin and more. He is my second guru. By now most people in the industry knew me, so it wasn’t difficult to make the transition to being independent.

What is your preferred brand for hair and make-up?
I love MAC and Bobbi Brown products for make-up. For hair, I love L’Oréal products. I’m a huge fan of hair spray, so you’ll always find Nova and Elnett in my kit.

A piece of equipment you swear by.

Hair iron, hair dryer and tongs – these three things are always in my pocket.

As a make-up artiste you’re inspired by…
Initially, I got inspired by Jojo.Today, I love seeing John Galliano’s collections and shows. There’s a lot of creative make-up in his shows and it’s quite inspiring for me.

What, according to you, are the upcoming make-up trends?
Pop colours are back. Currently, I’m doing a combination of softer eyes and pop colours. I have been using a lot of products from MAC as they’ve come up with an entire range of colours like bright fuschia pink, orange and more.

How do you see the beauty industry changing in the next five years?
I’d say the industry has already changed tremendously. A lot of new artistes and new ideas are coming up. There are a lot of foreign make-up artists around now and are taking over our business, so in a sense, we have to compete on an international level and deliver that quality of work. We have brilliant make-up artists, but we are lagging behind in the hair department.

What has been the most dramatic look created by you so far?

I have done more than 5,000 shows till now. Last Pune Fashion Week was very dramatic for me. I did a lot of geometric make-up and hair styles something I’ve never done before. A lot of liberty was given and that for an artist is the freedom required to be creative.

What goes on behind the scenes at various fashion weeks
Lot of chaos and fun! I enjoy the backstage more than the front stage. There’s always a lot of pressure, people are always pushing. I like that pressure.

Editorial shoots versus fashion shows

In editorial, I feel the computers have taken over completely in terms of touch ups. A lot of times what comes out is not what you had originally created.

Advice for aspiring artistes.
Work hard and prove yourself and deliver your 100 per cent. The younger lot needs to learn that money isn’t everything. A lot of youngsters who want to intern with me always ask for the remuneration. When I was training, I worked for over six years without getting paid, but today, money comes before art. It is quite sad.

When one chooses Vipul Bhagat for hair and make-up, what is the one thing that they look for?
Vipul Bhagat is a very versatile make-up artist, and that’s what people look for. I’m always willing to try something different all the time.

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