LOOK Academy™ was created in a casting room on Oxford Street Sydney in the late 2000's. It was a division of Look Management and Production (est 1990), Australia's premium management and production company representing iconic photographers, makeup artists and stylists in Sydney and Melbourne through the halcyon days of fashion and beauty, when the models strutting the runways were so spectacular, they only needed a first name - Linda, Cindy, Christie, Elle, Naomi, et al.
LOOK Academy™ started out offering personal makeup masterclasses to women in its Sydney and Melbourne studios. It was a place where women of all ages could learn personal makeup skills in the context of their own features and under the expert guidance of professional makeup artists with careers in the the celebrity, fashion, magazine, advertising and movie industries.
bringing together Australia's leading make-up artists and its own premium-quality, luxury make-up line.
The aim? To teach everyday Aussie woman the art of professional make-up application and how to apply it themselves. Behind LOOK Academy™ is British-born, Aussie based Guy Venables - a trail blazing entrepreneur well ahead of his time. Guy founded Australia's first specialist agencies for commercial photographers (The Folio Agency est 1988) then Makeup Artists and Stylists (The Look Agency est 1989)
Eventually the two were merged and became Look Management and Production.
LOOK Academy™ Takes Centre Stage
“With LOOK , we specialised in managing the careers of the industry’s leading professional photographers, hair and makeup artists and stylists, it was also a ful-l service end to end production company creating premium imagery for brands, ad agencies, magazines and fashion labels " says Guy. " We had over 60 top artists, and the ability to configure teams for any category of shoot. We would bring creative visions to life every day"
Guy realised that most women would be inspired by the professional makeup artists he was surrounded by and that LOOK was in a unique position to enable all women to have access to them, and decided to convert his casting rooms in to makeup academies on weekends and launch LOOK Academy™ located in Sydney’s iconic Oxford Street, then Melbourne 's beautiful Albert Park skirted Fitzroy Street.
Australian Makeup Meets Global Glamour
LOOK Management and Production ™ had created a niche in the fashion and beauty industry that previously had not existed, embracing, and indeed driving, the careers of many of the era’s most creative minds.
Look Academy was designed to train women to apply their makeup using the same professional techniques as the industry stars LOOK represented.
As seamlessly as his agency had transformed into an academy, Guy identified an opportunity to further attend to the needs of his cosmetic-loving customers by creating a range of makeup.
It took 18 months of rigorous research and quality control to develope a premium quality, professional mineral makeup range that literally delivered the ‘LOOK’ with every application.
The quest to bring the catwalk to the consumer kicked off with a range of professional, premium, quality mineral cosmetics, as well as a stunning range of vegan brushes.
“Anything that was used in our classroom studio had to pass the makeup artist’s critical product tests," explains Guy. "Each item was meticulously laboured over until it was perfect. Originally the classrooms were full of the international makeup brands that the makeup artists liked to work with , so I had to ensure that my range was equal to or better the the major famous brand it was replacing, or the makeup artists simply would not take the classes and work with them ! With my early samples being knocked back a lot of the time it was a complete pain in the you know what at the time, but I now realise that this was in fact the biggest in-house, rigorous, quality control a makeup range could ever hope for. I literally had to get approval from some of the biggest names in makeup artistry before the product was approved for use. If they couldn’t use it for the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, it wasn’t going to be used in the classroom! The artists all loved the finished products.”
Guy soon discovered that his makeup masterclass attendees equally loved the products, for the way they seamlessly sat on the skin, looking polished and sophisticated, feeling lightweight and performing for the entire day.
“At the time, it had no branding and was label-less, yet they lined up for it in droves!” he recalls.
Millennial Makeup For The Modern Woman
After running personal makeup masterclasses as a huge success 8 years, LOOK Academy™, as with many Aussie businesses, was struck hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What to do, but to 'pivot'," laughs Guy, despite his heartbreaking decision to close both the Sydney and Melbourne studios. Not one to sit still long, Guy embarked on a journey, taking LOOK Academy™ make-up out of the classroom and direct to consumer.
“With the global pandemic causing the closure of both LOOK Academy™ academies in March 2020, by November 2020 I realised they could be revived, so I set to work 'pivoting.' By May 2021, a re-branded LOOK Academy™ cosmetics was born. The top-shelf, premium make-up range previously exclusive to LOOK Academy™ makeup masterclass attendees , is now a consumer-facing, Australian-made, cruelty-free, no-nasty ingredients, mineral makeup brand, developed by the premium image creation industry.”
And in an age where more people than ever are using their own social media platforms to leverage celebrity, LOOK Academy™ is standing out amongst saturated shelf space. It is truly redefining beauty for the millennial age, making it easy to access model-approved makeup must-haves.
The range of prestige products fuses the glamour, fun and old-school luxury of the 1990s, with an ethos that embraces the social consciousness of modern life - sustainable, ethical, ethnically diverse and gender fluid.
“We shot our signature campaign with world-famous luxury and lifestyle director photographer Daniela Federici, who incidentally was one of the first photographers Folio represented back in the day” says Guy.
“The result captures the entire emotion of the LOOK Academy™ brand … fashion, beauty, style, function, quintessential cool and of course, truly iconic!”
At its peak, back in the day it was always a case of another day, another major celebrity shoot with the LOOK team, this time a TV and Stills campaign shot in Manila with Sarah Jessica Parker as the star.