The reigning king of makeup in Cairo, Kiki Ismail, just opened up his first studio in the city, a stylish hub which will offer workshops and courses, and be an all around meeting point for creativity. We speak to the makeup magician to find out more...
Stepping up once again onto the main stage, Kiki Ismail takes the Cairene fashion scene by storm as he launches his one-of-a-kind studio, a hub where would-be makeup artists can learn the secrets to his otherworldly talent but, more importantly, a meeting point for expertise and fascination to collide.
“People have been asking me for classes for a long time, and I wanted to have a place where I can do what I love and develop my relationship with the client,” says Kiki, whose genuine charisma has earned him an endearing bond with models, photographers, and international stylists alike. “When it comes to makeup artists, there is a lot of intimacy in the relationship you develop; you are literally in each other’s face, so it has to be a pleasant experience.”
Decorated by the multi-faceted artist himself, the studio exudes an intimate, cozy atmosphere, adorned with plush purple couches and a picturesque boho-chic flair, setting out to be a springboard for local talent – and a turning point for the overall fashion scene.
A graduate of New York’s MakeUp Forever Academy with celebrity clients such as Stella McCartney under his belt, Kiki has worked with some of the world’s most iconic names in fashion, from Cara Delevingne and Liu Wen.
“I want to transfer this experience and know-how to the Egyptian market and shed some light on the do’s and don’ts,” says the makeup wizard, who refuses to take his free-spirited art less seriously than his work. “People here are trapped in the 80s, which is the worst era for fashion and makeup - too much makeup, too much colour. It’s like theatre makeup!” he says.
Having arrived to Cairo and instantly shaken up the scene with some of the coolest projects Egypt has seen, from Maison Yehia to Urban Beards, the artist now ups the makeup game with the opening of his studio, which he conceives as a hub for international talents and Egyptian enthusiasts to meet. But there is more than workshops and makeup courses to this promising studio, which will bring exclusive makeup brands for the first time to Egypt – so exclusive he cannot give away their names yet.
Photos by Bilo Hussein.