Interviews & Articles


Face & Figure
"Today's Style And Looks"
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Face & Figure

Kate Bush is 21, and although her lyrics are very much that of a woman, her body is that of a child, while her face combines an appealing innocence with a theatrical sensuality.

That's both on stage and off, and one of the people who should know is make-up artist Kirsty Climo, who has worked with Kate on both her audio visuals and television appearearnces.

"Kate is gamine, with a sexy elfin quality and is striking even without makeup", she says. An opinion also held by EMI head Bob Mercer who says: "She has this tremendous gamine quality of innocence to sexuality without seeming consciousness". This was strikingly evident on her recent sell-out 'Rock Theatre' tour.

Kate Bush first made her impact on the record world with her hit "Wuthering Heights". In a white Victorian nightdress, bought down the Kings Road Road, she cartwheeled Emily Bronte's heroine out of the moors and into television programmes worldwide with her audio film. That and her peculiar voice, likened to an instrument but not specified as to which one, she either made you love or hate her.

Whether in a gold lame Mary Quant catsuit, sitting on a perspex light box so as to appear in limbo for her 'Man With The Child In His Eyes' or in a lilac ruched dress to portray the Hollywood starlet in her song "Wow", Kate acts out every detail of her songs She works on everything. Her lyrics about relationships, spiritual and otherwise, are those of a woman though she looks like a child, and at 5ft. 3ins, is certainly built like one.

While Kirsty was concentrating on her face there were others who were shaping her body. At 16, Dave Gilmour of the Pink Floyd heard a demo of her songs. He was impressed enough lo put up the money to have them produced professionally. She was signed on the spot by EMI, and with uncharacteristic paternalistic concern they suggested she go away, form her own company and spend the next few years writing at their expense.

She used the time taking modern dance classes at the Dance Centre and then rook mime classes with Lindsay Kemp, who helped David Bowie with his Ziggy Stardust character, and went on to form her own show with the help of choreographer and principal dancer of the London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Anthony Van Laast.

When Kate first left school she knew she wanted to dance. She had tried Karate and not found it satisfying but after seeing an advertisment for Lindsey Kemp's 'Flowers' she was drawn to his classes. Lindsey believed that people could be liberated through mime and music but his classes were for living fabulously through all senses -- to release the individual personality. After six months with Lindsey she then took modern dance classes every morning for a couple of hours with Anthony Van Laast.

After her dance classes she rehearsed with the band into the evening. In all, a working day of twelve hours and this went on for months. At first she found the dance classes so exhausting that she would end on her knees. Anthony had to give her the stamina which he did by pushing her like a horsetrainer.

Kate is a vegetarian who eats very little. During the gruelling months of rehearsals her sister-in-law did the catering, providing quiches, waldorf salads, nut roast and an amazing variery of cheesecakes. Kate's mother would come along to the rehearsals with a bag full of Mars bars, biscuits and fruit besides advice on how look after herself -- but, says Kirsty Climo, Kate is sensible and it shows.

Kate drinks very little coffee or alcohol. So Kirsty doesn't have to waste three quarters of an hour comouflaging any after-effects on the skin. Kate is very health conscious and it show in her pale even skin tone. Her skin with its fine pores and her clear almond-shaped eyes are testimonies to the healthy life. Her eyes and mouth which are very wide are appealing. She has pixie ears which when not covered by her hair are tipped by Kirsty with blusher. However, Kate likes her hair wild and bushy and does not want to be pruned. She hennas her hair herself and her make-up during the day is simple -- just black eye line and mascara.

But for record albums, television and audio visuals, Kirsty is called in. She works around Kate's eyebrows and eyes by extending and smudging lines into the hairline. Kirsty is partial to Dior and uses creams and then powders over the top, especially around the eyes so as to get a sooty effect. She uses matt bright darkish colour lipsticks for Kate, as anything light doesn't balances her eyes.

Kate herself can either take or leave make-up but is very quick to pick up new techniques. For her show she used the

Madeleine Mono

glitter glitter sheen make-up which was used on her by a make-up artist friend. He used a very classy style. He put silver lines on her eyes and a jewel by the mouth. He highlighted her naturally high cheekbones with pink glimmer, dark brown underneath, and silver above. Typically she only needed to be shown once and she knew how to do her face for herself throughout her tour.

Kate accepts the way she looks and is quite at peace with herself. She is very aware of the way she moves. Her vegetarianism, yoga and dance exercise show by the good blood circulation reflected in her skin. She doesn't eat much at all and as she doesn't dance every day and is aware of the relationship between the intake and output of food and energy. She's sensible about her diet and it shows in her slim hips and lean thighs

Kirsty is amazed how models and people only take off the make-up they can see. She believes certain soaps are for certain skins but we undermine everything by not rinsing them off with at least twenty splashes of water. Very hot water is good for washing oily skin as it helps dissolve the oil. Kate herself has fairly normal skin.

Kirsty, who has worked with Elkie Brooks and Linda McCartney realises that luminaries do not want to be changed out of all recognition, only enhanced. She sees Kate's face as warm and intelligent and thinks we are responsible for our faces through what we think. Kate's yoga helps her to relax not only her body but the muscles in her face.

It is not only in the two and a half hour show with its 17 costume changes where Kate wears Leotards. At home she wears bodyclothes, leg warmers and is usually barefooted. If you saw her in the street you would think she was a casual and informal art student. Photographer Gered Mankowitz who takes her publicity photos says, "When she likes a certain jumper and boots she will wear them all the time". But in her music and looks she is changing constantly.

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"The pull and the push of it all..." - Kate Bush

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