DIOR’S MALE BEAUTY
Makeup’s boy wonder Sam Visser creates a new men’s look for Dior Beauty, re-envisioning his alluring, smoky glamour while impeccably accenting Kim Jones’ FW20 collection.
This story appears in VMAN 45, out on newsstands now!
For 20-year-old makeup artist Sam Visser, beauty has become as much a conduit for broader cultural conversations as any other art form. A prodigy in his field, he was doing the Kardashians’ makeup before graduating high school and worked with the likes of Ariana Grande and Bella Hadid while still in his teens. In the ensuing years, his style has evolved and become more nuanced, capturing a brooding glamour that’s cool yet elegant, befitting this moment in time. It’s not these successes that make Visser so exciting, however, but rather his vision to push fashion forward through makeup. He’s far more interested in exploring the bounds of creativity through his chosen medium and using the platform he’s built to better understand social and cultural issues around him. Visser brings all of that and more to a conversation around the changing ideals of male beauty, as he boldly decorates our models in Dior Beauty to recreate that same glamour he’s become famous for.
VMAN: How would you describe your style and interests right now?
SAM VISSER: I think that my inspiration is always changing. I definitely reference a lot of the ‘80s and ‘90s and the glamour from those times. Those kinds of influences will always be within my work because it’s something that I have a passion for, a love for, a longing for. I’m starting to look at literally everything for inspiration. It could be a flower, a man on the street. So many random things, they all begin to influence what I’ve done. I think that it’s always evolving and changing, and that goes for a lot of creatives. It’s always a revolving door of different references and things that kind of accumulate and make what you put out into the world.
With what’s happening right now in the world, it’s making me see things that are happening and I want to pursue speaking on the subjects that need to be spoken about. It’s making me want to bring certain things forward that are happening: the death of our whole society and the death of what our world was before all of this. The world is changing, that is also becoming an inspiration of mine.
VMAN: Is your approach to makeup different for a man or someone who is male-identifying?
SV: I think that with any person I do makeup on, I try to capture [who] the person is within. With men, I want to do the same makeup on them as I would on a female or female-identifying person. It’s interesting because makeup is an accessory. It’s like a bag or an earring or a scarf; it’s something that you can wear that tells all about your personality.
I keep the same features of the man, either the feminine features or the masculine features—I can play either one up. Whatever we’re trying to achieve for that day. If we’re doing makeup and want to make him look like Bowie, that’s the look we’re going to do. Accessorize his features to embody him but also embody the character that we’re trying to create.
I think that’s what’s so cool with the story that we did and the shift of the world is that we have this fearlessness in makeup that is a normality now, it’s not a spectacle. It’s going to become something that people are going to be so comfortable with that there’s not going to be reservation about it. Also, I’ve just grown up watching men on Youtube do makeup and all of these people who have been very comfortable with themselves and putting themselves out there to reach a large audience. For me, it’s always been normal. I’m just kind of like, okay, this is amazing now that fashion is being like, ‘Do it. We really want this.’ It’s kind of eye-opening to how things are changing now.
VMAN: Do you think there is anyone leading that change today, or do you think that’s where the male fashion is headed?
SV: In the next couple of years, it’s going to be one of those things where we can list them so easily off the top of our heads. It’s a sector that we don’t have right now. Men in makeup—but in a new way. Right now, there’s the beauty influencer kind of makeup and that is a beautiful thing. But we haven’t gotten to experience that in fashion yet.
VMAN: What do you think, for someone who is a novice, is a good entry point for dabbling in makeup?
SV: Have fun with it. Buy a palette with a bunch of colors in it and sit at home and have fun with a brush.
Enjoy yourself with it. That’s the only way to find your look, experimenting. We’ve all had different phases of clothes and hair. It’s no different, you’ve just got to experiment and play with it. It’s all about finding the thing that pulls your personality out and lets that shine. If they want a heavy brow and an eye, that’s their look. They want a lip, that’s their look. They want to contour their face and accentuate their cheekbones, okay, that’s their personality. It goes differently for every single individual that wants to experiment with makeup.
But I also think that men shouldn’t be afraid… the judgement of that is far gone. We’re here to have fun. We’re learning that life is too short to be afraid to put some makeup on. I think it’s so sexy when a guy can wear it and feel confident and that’s going to become the new beauty trend. With men [there’s] that fear of being de-masculinized but that’s a barrier that men have broken now. I feel like it’s funny that we even have to say that because it’s such a no brainier for me that it’s weird that some people get so afraid of that. There are no rules to it. You can do no wrong with it. It’s about putting it on, taking it off, feeling sexy. You feel like you want to go out after, that’s your look.
VMAN: This reminds me of David Bowie. He always reinvented himself and tried different characters and no one doubted him.
SV: He was expressing himself and that inspired a lot of people. I remember watching old clips of reporting channels from the late ‘60s and ‘70s. They were like, “this guy is crazy.” It’s funny to see how that really did influence so many of the kids then, to be fearless in the face of male beauty standards, and break down that barrier of conservative beauty standards. Now it’s like, we have more power than ever just to be ourselves. With social media, that platform gives us a place to voice whatever we want to express. I think that someone like Bowie is…he’s exceptional. He’s a legend, but he was pioneering what is manifesting in today’s society. He gave the go for us to do what we do now. I’m super proud to be a part of this project with you guys.
See below to view the full film: