There is absolutely no doubt that Charlotte Tilbury is the ultimate queen of make-up. From her Flawless Filter Foundation to Chameleon Eye Pencils and iconic contour palettes, Charlotte has changed the face of make-up for hundreds of thousands of women across the world. Her advanced make-up collection is formulated with the finest ingredients and allows women to focus on enhancing their natural beauty and highlighting what they do have, rather than attempting to fake what they don’t. Ease of use is at the absolute forefront of Charlotte’s products and is one of the key factors in catapulting the brand to the height of popularity it stands at today.
Therefore, it was no surprise that Charlotte Tilbury received an MBE in this year’s Queen’s Honours List for her services to the Beauty Industry. She truly is an icon; as an expert in her field, an entrepreneur and an inspirational female. So, in light of her latest achievement, we thought we would look back at Charlotte’s impressive journey and how she carved herself such a hugely successful international career.
Charlotte Tilbury was born in February 1973, in London, to artist Lance Tilbury and luxury production manager Patsy Dodd. When Charlotte was nine the Tilbury family moved to Ibiza where she became surrounded by many exceptional creatives and visionaries at the hands of her father’s work. Even today Charlotte maintains that the light, vibrancy and energy of Ibiza (and her father’s work with colours, tonality and contrasts) continue to constitute considerable inspiration for her work. Charlotte returned to London at the age of thirteen to attend boarding school. This was where she began experimenting with make-up and where her innate passion truly began to flourish.
Upon leaving school, Charlotte attended the prestigious Glauca Rossi School of Make-Up and began her career assisting make up artist to Princess Diana, Mary Greenwell, whom she had previously met in Ibiza as a child. In an exclusive interview with Harvey Nichols, Charlotte cited Greenwell as an “incredible mentor” who truly opened her eyes to the world of make-up. Greenwell’s named opened up many doors for Charlotte, particularly after assisting the iconic artist in the height of the industry’s growth – the 80s and 90s. This supermodel era saw Charlotte work with the likes of Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford.
Tilbury’s exceptional work very quickly gave her a name of her own after it appeared on the world’s most iconic fashion magazines including British, French, Spanish and Italian Vogue, Vanity Fair and LOVE magazine. Her reputation to highlight every inch of a woman’s natural beauty at the stroke of a brush preceded her and she was soon working with world-leading photographers such as Mario Testino and Mert and Marcus. She has painted the faces of some of the most famous names on the planet including Kate Moss (best friend and godmother to her two sons), Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston and Gigi Hadid.
Charlotte’s undeniable talent then saw her appointed as show make-up director at London Fashion Week for some of the world’s most iconic brands including Donna Karen, Zadig & Voltaire and Mugler – but the MUA queen didn’t stop there! She went on to collaborate with the likes of Tom Ford and Burberry on international beauty campaigns and, in 2012 alone, acted as creative director for various catwalk shows for Tom Ford, Chanel and Helena Rubinstein, to name but a few.
After receiving the Rodial Award for Best Make-Up Artist in early 2012, and launching her hugely successful YouTube channel later that year, in 2013 Charlotte Tilbury launched her very own skincare and make-up brand, Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Ltd at Selfridges in London. With Charlotte’s enormous celebrity, and public, following already established it was no surprise that Charlotte Tilbury Ltd was Selfridge’s biggest-ever beauty brand launch in terms of turnover. The extreme success of its introduction to the market saw the brand launch in Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Fenwick’s and Nordstrom in the US within a matter of months.
The colours in Charlotte’s Hot Lips Lipstick range are named after her celebrity clients/ friends as they are replicas of the shades she has used on these famous faces. These include the likes of Liv Tyler, Kate Bosworth and Salma Hayek. Charlotte claims that these shades were created ‘in homage’ to her clients, but the individual colours give ‘a little bit of their DNA…to the rest of the world.’ Most notably, £1 of all lipstick sales are donated to Women For Women International, a charity which supports female survivors of war in countries including Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia.
In November 2015, Charlotte opened her flagship store in Covent Garden, London and, as of 2016, her brand is available in stores across the UK, U.S, Canada, Netherlands and, most recently, the Middle East. It is also available online in over 37 countries. The most recent product to launch, only last week, was the widely-anticipated Collagen Lip Bath, which followed on from last month’s launch of the Bigger, Brighter Eyes palette. The word on the industry street (and this is TSE exclusive info) is that the next product to grace stores will be Charlotte’s most advanced contouring palette yet – we can’t wait!
Since the brand launch in 2013, Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Ltd has won over 120 prestigious awards. The MUA queen that is Charlotte Tilbury has grown from a make-up conscious teenager to assisting Mary Greenwell, then from a celebrity make-up artist of choice to an internationally-renowned business woman and a household name within the industry. Charlotte manages all of this whilst being a mother to her two sons, Flynn and Valentine, and wife to husband George Waud whom she married in 2014. In a recent interview with the Telegraph Charlotte said ‘I haven’t worked with the Queen of England yet, but that is still an ambition!’ Well, now that the Queen has officially honoured Charlotte’s work, it’s only a matter of time…