Interview With A Makeup Artist: Iain Burton Legge

We had the chance to interview well-established makeup artist, Iain Burton Legge. Iain, based in England, started creating makeup looks at the age of thirteen, and had the privilege of being trained by some leading fashion houses in his early years as an artist. He began working freelance in 1995 specialising in avant-garde fashion design. In 2011 he won an award for his innovation in makeup artistry and was recognised for his collection of work titled “love hurts”, he hasn’t stopped developing his passion for makeup and fashion ever since.

Could you please tell us about  yourself and job ? 
I have always pushed myself to break the boundaries of fashion and photography, this has been hard to go against the norm of what people expect from the fashion industry. Through perseverance and collaborations finally in 2011 I was recognized as an innovator within makeup by creating a collection of work entitled ‘Love Hurts’ working in collaboration with my now present photographer to create this work that broke all the boundaries of ‘photographic art’. From this I have continued to create and innovate makeup and design presently working on a new collection based on Andy Warhol and David Bailey with a retro twist on a well-known 1960’s film.

What are your Hobbies? 

My hobbies completely revolve around fashion and makeup, however more recently renovating a property in France in the retro style of the 60’s as it was built in 1962. Fashion has been in my blood from a very early age, designing, redesigning, opening my mind to inspirations that surround me to create and develop further, I believe that you can never know everything within fashion and makeup as everyday the world changes and the colour that surrounds us all inspires creativity.

When did you become a makeup artist?

I guess the first time I became an artist was actually the first piece of work I created for a friend/client this was in 1982/3

What influenced you to start?

A friend who had become lead singer of a band asked me to create a look for their first music video, I will always remember what he said “you have the creativity and are open-minded enough to create the image that was needed for the band” thankfully the music video helped the song to become number one on the charts.
What experiences do you have in the makeup field?

I am always very honored to have any experiences within the makeup field that said I have been able to help create new products for use within makeup with other artists and companies.

And in the fashion field?

Again as above, however from my development in recent years I now have the opportunity to work with some of the most established designers in the industry in areas that they would not necessarily be seen, these ideas are in the process of being development therefore I am up unable to discuss this any further.

Have you been published?

I have been published in both D’Avenue and Face On magazines as well as prints that have hung in art galleries both in the UK and America.

Who have you worked for (most important in your opinion)?

I have worked with many artists within the music field from the 1980’s such as my dear friend Steve Strange who gave me my first break, which I have to say is my most important leading on to work with Sousie Soux, The Cult, Duran Duran, leading to recent times of Beyonce, Kylie Minogue and the Beckhams.

Do you have any favorite designers?

I find any designer inspirational and can become part of my favourite list, however if I was to name any I would have to name two, Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano.

Who do you like to work with?

This is simple, creative people that are not afraid to break the rules.

Have you worked internationally?

I have worked internationally on the various fashion weeks, however more recently this will change as I am developing new aspects within the Formula 1 world developing high fashion. I am working on new collections in Thailand and Singapore.

What do you love about your job?

Everything, sorry but it’s true

"Envy" from the 7 Sins collection by Iain © Iain Burton Legge
“Envy” from the 7 Sins collection by Iain © Iain Burton Legge


7 Sin's by Iain Burton Legge © Iain Burton Legge
7 Sin’s by Iain Burton Legge © Iain Burton Legge


What do you hate about your job?

People that say they are not creative, everyone can be and are creative.

Is it your full time job? Or do you have any other?

I work full time as a lecturer in specialist make up and hair, yet I still work as a freelance artists within the industry, which will never be replaced.

What was your best experience? Please describe it

Seeing my work on TV with the first piece of work being the music video discussed earlier, it was the look on my parents face not realizing they had a creative son…

What would be your ideal designer and makeup artist to work with?

Do I have to answer this, as any designer and artist would be ideal to work with as long as they are not restricted by boundaries and rules.

How would you describe your style?

This is a funny one, as I have never had a style so to speak of I have never followed fashion as others do, I have always looked and worn what I have wanted to do to regardless of what others think.

How do you see yourself in five years?


Where do you get your inspiration?

All around me, architecture, nature, even music as I drive in my car.

If you could give an advice to someone starting in the makeup and fashion field what would it be?

Be creative, be strong, and be true to yourself.

When Special effects and Makeup artistry are combined © Iain Burton Legge
When Special effects and Makeup artistry are combined © Iain Burton Legge
When Special effects and Makeup artistry are combined © Iain Burton Legge
When Special effects and Makeup artistry are combined © Iain Burton Legge

By Emilie Heyl

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