Photos by CHRIS CRAYMER
Fiona is an Emmy-nominated makeup artist and has worked with hundreds of A-listers, including Halle Berry, Elizabeth Banks, Rosario Dawson, Maria Sharapova, Christina Aguilera, Demi Moore, Kate Winslet, Eva Mendez, Paula Patton, Abbie Cornish, Carrie Underwood, Catherine Keener, Amy Adams, Heidi Klum, Hellen Mirren, and many, many more. She is regularly tapped to create flawless faces for top-tier brands such as Victoria’s Secret, American Express, Apple, Levi’s, BCBG, Calvin Klein, Gap, L’Oreal, Ralph Lauren, Revlon, and Tommy Hilfiger, just to name a few. Fiona’s work has been published widely in America and beyond, but most notably in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, W, InStyle and Vanity Fair.
FSHN: How long have you been doing makeup? And how did you get your start?
FS: I’ve been doing makeup for 20 years. I graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design where I had studied photography and then moved to New York City. During my first few months there, I fell into doing makeup. It was something I had always been passionate about. But, honestly, I didn’t know it was even a job. Once I knew I could make a living doing makeup, I never looked back. It always just felt right.
FSHN: Who are some people that have inspired you throughout your career?
FS: So many. I worked with Pat McGrath as her first assistant in the mid-90s. At the time, I was her only New York assistant, just me and her, which is a very different experience than assisting her now from what I hear. She was incredible to work for…deeply inspiring in her fearlessness. She has changed the way makeup is applied and perceived. I love Diane Kendal’s work. Lucia Perioni. Peter Phillips for his irreverence and wit. Val Garland’s work is so exciting and passionate. But I also love the precision and transformative work of Kevyn Aucoin. There are too many to list; the field is full of incredibly talented artists.
FSHN: What do you love most about makeup?
FS: The endless possibilities. A makeup artist friend and I were talking and she said you could give 10 artists the same 10 products and the looks would all be so different. I love that. It’s all about interpretation.
FSHN: How would you describe your signature look?
FS: Flawless skin that still has light and life to it. It never looks masklike, but it always looks finished. I aim to make women look and feel beautiful. I am not a maximalist when it comes to makeup. I like the right amount of makeup to make a woman feel great about herself. When it comes to work in fashion, I always believe less is more. I am happy to eschew mascara or lipstick if the look calls for it.
FSHN: What is the most memorable moment you have had while doing a celebrity’s makeup?
FS: I worked with David Bowie for years, and one of the first times I worked with him, he started humming “Life on Mars?” under his breath. I almost passed out. I had been a Bowie fan since adolescence so that was an epic moment for me. I had lots of moments like that with him.
FSHN: What are your must-have makeup and beauty products? Why?
FS: I’m fairly minimalist when it comes to this, but these are can’t-live-without products for me. An amazing highlighter: one that is liquid and one that is a cream or powder. It brings so much to your skin. Even if you aren’t wearing any other makeup, a finely milled highlighter can light up your face. I love the Bio Brightener from W3ll People and the Aqua Foundation Illuminator from Koh Gen Do—both beautiful products. A great black eyeliner (I love Antonym), a good lash curler (Kevyn Aucion), a perfect concealer (Long Wearing Cream Concealor from Estée Lauder), inky black mascara (Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara), and the perfect lip balm (In Fiore Veloutee Lip and Eye Balm).
FSHN: How do you keep up to date with current trends?
FS: Magazines. Mostly the European ones. But I’m always inspired by books and old movies. I’m a total bibliophile and I collect art books. Painters are the most inspiring when it comes to color. Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon: their use of color in portraits is sublime.
FSHN: Reed Clarke, which just launched at the end of July 2014, is the beauty e-retailer that stocks only Stiles’ personal makeup kit favorites. So, what inspired you to create Reed Clarke?
FS: I love discovering new products. And I am always using products that are hard to find on my clients. When they would ask me where to get them, I would just draw a blank… I get a lot of my products in random stores or other countries. Being able to have one place that sold all of my favorite products just seemed like the answer. It’s a small collection, far from the other overwhelming beauty sites. It feels peaceful, and customers get to feel like they’re getting more of a one-on-one experience since the site is so personal.
FSHN: What new items are you currently obsessed with?
FS: I found these insane gorgeous fur lashes in Tokyo. So soft and subtle and pretty. I’m trying desperately to import them. Women will lose their minds over them. Surratt makes the most perfect liquid liner I have ever used: so black, so rich, and so easy to use. I’ll never use another liquid liner again. A handmade soap from a woman who lives in Topaga Canyon; it’s called Golda. She only has two soaps: one is a cube and the other a square. They are so chic and they smell so beautiful. I have one next to every sink in the house.
FSHN: What is the most important advice you can give for a woman?
FS: Don’t strive for perfection—it’s unattractive. People respond positively to people who are genuine, and total perfection feels like artifice. Try to be comfortable in your skin. Know your strengths and weaknesses and work with them.