Gwen’s close friend and makeup guru Gregory Arlt spoke with Billboard about working with her and the ideas behind her stunning looks featured in her new album’s artwork.
Gregory shared that he first met her prior to the Tragic Kingdom tour when she came in for a consultation suggested by her label. “Gwen came into Nordstromâ€™s all by her self and we designed a look for her to wear on stage later that night. It, of course, included red lips.” They teamed up again in 2012 during the Push and Shove era when Gwen was seeking a change in her glam squad when hairdresser Danilo introduced them to each other. “When I came to the shoot, I sweetly reminded her that we had worked together at the MAC Nordstromâ€™s counter once and she said, â€œoh my god I totally remember that! I always wondered what happened to you!â€ Weâ€™ve been together ever since.”
When asked what the inspirations were behind Gwen’s looks for This Is What the Truth Feels Like, Gregory says that they channeled a “contact sheet from Alfred Eisenstaedtâ€™s portrait session with Marilyn [Monroe] in 1953, and we really ran with that for the record cover.” He praised Gwen’s album and called it a “triumph” and compares it to Marilyn in the sense that they wanted to capture an innocence of a young Norma Jean before breaking out into the icon that we all know and love. “And with this record [Gwen] is so raw and vulnerable, so we wanted to achieve that vibe with makeup in a sort of wide-eyed, peaches and cream kind of way.”
Gregory broke down the three looks that the team collaborated and crafted for Gwen including the album cover, the inside look with a black turtleneck (seen in the majority of the promo), and her “Misery” shoot. He also teased a ’60s look from Gwen that will be more than likely be used in upcoming promo of some sorts.
“For the record cover, I used extremely neutral shades and colors on her. For the lip I mixed together a peach, coral and nude lipstick and applied it with a brush on her to keep the neutrals warmer rather than cooler. Warmer colors are friendlier colors and sort of invite you in in a way that cooler ones donâ€™t. Her eyes are huge and beautiful, but she loves a good [false] lash, so of course we used a lash and defined her brows, but kept everything kind of soft. Iâ€™ve been obsessed with very matte, yogurt-y shades recently, so I used those as a base.”
“For “Misery” we evolved the look and went a little bit more bombshell Marilyn, very ’50s, which obviously works on Gwen because she so looks like she was born in the wrong era. I did a little bit of liner on the top of her lid, but then pressed in an eggplant-colored purple shadow to soften it so you see a subtle shadow as opposed to a black line. And then of course we did her classic matte red lips.”
“And then the third look was the total ’60s look, but that hasn’t been released yet. You can see it quickly towards the end of the behind the scenes video, where Danilo and I are prepping her. Very ’60s, really strong, beautiful look.”
Gregory states that Gwen is in a very positive place right now in her life and has been “feeling very flirty and feminine.” “Sheâ€™s just so happy right now and is willing to try and do fun things, like an orange or a pale lip, both of which are very ’60s-inspired and lighter, flirtier and happier.” He has nothing but kind words about Gwen and says that he’s “living the dream” with her. “You’re dealing with someone who is so pretty and so kind, sweet and down to earth, real and authentic. And who’s also a makeup girl!”