from the butcher's shop to the runway with make-up icon dick page

For the last thirty years, make-up artist and Shiseido Artistic Director Dick Page has been in on some of the most influential and iconic images in fashion.

by Christopher Barnard
20 November 2014, 10:15am

Photography Juergen Teller. Make-up Dick Page. i-D No. 122, The Hard Issue, November 1993

For the last thirty years, make-up artist and Shiseido Artistic Director Dick Page has been in on some of the most influential and iconic images in fashion. From Corinne Day and baby Kate in grungy London to Calvin Klein's minimalist runways in 90s New York, he defined the moment's face as a fresh and real reaction to 80s glam. But it is his longstanding collaboration with photographer Juergen Teller that is perhaps his greatest contribution to fashion, a relationship that favors unconventional beauties and unflinching portrayals of celebrities, models and artists (and sometimes himself) whether in editorial or the era-defining campaigns of Marc Jacobs and Celine. Lately he finds humor and solace in the life he shares, and documents thoroughly on instagram, with his husband, James, and their dog. Below he sounds off on his own legacy, honesty in social media and concealer among other things.

On his first job...
I was a butcher, it was a job. If you grew up in the country, you have a job. You can deliver papers or deliver milk. And the slaughterhouse paid the most, so I did that. I moved to London after and had this idea I would do makeup.

On meeting Juergen and getting his start...
I first met Juergen Teller and I first worked with him in 1987 in London. A few years later is when I met Melanie Ward and then she introduced me to Corinne Day and David Sims. I would do hair for David and Corinne. I would do hair for David a lot because Guido had a proper job. Before he became "Guido" he had proper jobs with real hair. That may have been the last pocket of independent idea [in fashion], I don't think it's possible anymore. Because everyone's famous immediately.

On his love for Instagram...
You can be instantly passionate about something, which I like. You can say your food this, my dog that. You can also lie which I love, so no one knows that the food I posted was mine really, no one knows that it wasn't last night, it could be two weeks ago. I'm not telling anyone. Insta-lies.

On unconventional beauties...
I'm drawn to wonky people, I always have been. Hannelore [Knuts], in a weird sense is very classicly beautiful. Form, proportions. But she's a fucking nut job, it's her personality and you have to get her. And people who get her really fucking get her. So the pictures are charged with that.

On being in front of the camera for his Marc Jacobs campaign...
It was hilarious, we just got trashed and took pictures. And [Juergen] thought he was going to go gay for a minute. We were in our house on Long Island in the woods near there, then in our apartment down the street while it's being renovated. So some of the construction, and all the machinery and shit was laying around. He first called me up because he saw Brokeback Mountain and he was really upset, so upset it broke his heart. He said, 'I want to shoot those guys [Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger] for Marc Jacobs,' and I said, 'That's not going to happen.' So he said, 'What about you and James?' And I was fine with it, I had been looked at before. It was so sweet and simple and funny. My favorite thing was that Men's Vogue, so pathetic, wouldn't run the ad.

On his legacy...
People will always think, 'He's the king of no makeup makeup', Calvin Klein, early nineties, and now I don't give a shit. They've made up their minds, on the gravestone it will say that. It's funny that I still get so saddled with that, I don't really give a shit. I just did a shoot with Paul Cavaco, he said, 'We had someone doing you the other day, it was fine, but it took 2 and half hours.' And I take five minutes, so there.

On superficiality and how to look great...
I try to re-own superficial, the word. It's my favorite word. It's like faggot, but for beauty. The point of superficial is the surface, it washes off. Beauty is a temporary condition. You can decide to be beautiful, you can be beautiful on your own terms. Beautiful does not mean you have to do the serum, the eye cream, the mask, the massage, who fucking cares. Just eat well and get laid and it'll show, and if you want to put something on top we can do that. Superficial is a very important useful word.

On "grunge"...
The story I did with Corinne and Melanie [Ward] with Lorraine Pascale and Kate, they have false eyelashes on. No one knows, and everyone thinks it just happened, we just showed up. Meanwhile, Melanie was getting John galliano to make silk bias skirts that cost one thousand pounds. So it was all artificial still.

On the 70s...
When things turn to shit, the music is better, the art is better, the theatre is better. So the 70s were amazing for that. Because everything turned to shit.

On pet peeves...
My bete noir is concealer, which I think is the end of beauty civilization.


Text Christopher Barnard
Photography Juergen Teller
Make-up Dick Page
i-D No. 122, The Hard Issue, November 1993

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