Gucci’s Global Makeup Artist Thomas De Kluyver Releases New Book
Thomas de Kluyver, the makeup artist behind Gucci’s recent beauty campaign and the brand’s global makeup artist, has released a new beauty book All I Want To Be. Collaborating with several photographers including Harley Weir and Lea Colombo, as well as poet and model Wilson Oryema and director Ben Kelway, the book explores, “identity politics, representation, individual expression and other buzzwords that basically add up to people simply being people (in all their remarkableness)” according to the press release. Published in connection with IDEA, and launching at Dover Street Market London on May 16, the 144-page “extra unordinary” book was created over six months.
Growing up in Australia during the early 2000s rave scene, Thomas initially got his start by experimenting with makeup on himself and his friends. The self-taught artist then went onto manning the door at London nightclubs wearing “high-heeled boots and full-throttle looks that even caused one of the world’s most seasoned face painters to take pause” as previously reported by Allure. Thomas told the Allure in 2018 that he was inspired by the transformative power of makeup and a wave of 1990s female icons including Courtney Love and Annie Lennox, who he believes, “never used makeup to cover up.” Instead de Kluyver believes they used makeup to “give them strength and empower themselves.”
Now based in London, the creative has become well-known for his alternative approach which his agency, Art Partner, describes as “a mix of classic beauty meets youth subculture” that “balances strong makeup and subtle references with method and technique”. In addition to working with Gucci, de Kluyver has created runway and campaign looks for many big name brands such as Calvin Klein, Kenzo, and Acne Studios, and is currently a contributing beauty editor at DAZED.
To create the book, de Kluyver has collaborated with each photographer on a unique set of beauty photographs. For example, together with Oliver Hadlee Pearch teens were photographed in effort to capture “the innocence, awkwardness and also the imperfections of adolescence,” stated de Kluyver. In partnership with Colombo, de Kluyver focused on exaggerated eye makeup, meant to represent “people staying awake in their bedrooms looking at computer screens taking pictures of makeup they had done on themselves,” he expressed. The book finishes with a series done with Weir—a photographer who has worked with the likes of brands such as Stella McCartney, Missoni, and Balenciaga—in which models have been shot wearing full body paint.
Partial proceeds from the book sales will go to Mermaids UK, a British nonprofit that advocates for gender diverse and transgender youth across the United Kingdom. There are only 750 books available, so be sure to grab yours now!