Person

Linda Mason

Makeup artist Linda Mason and Willi Smith on the set of Expedition. Willi is dressed in a pink top, and brightly colored bow on his head. He is getting his nails painted and is wearing bright blue eye liner.

I met Willi through his partner Laurie Mallet and started working with him in 1983. It was an exciting time in my career and Willi would say, “Come and do whatever you want.”

He created a whole new world in his runway shows. Even in Europe, no other runway show had the kind of atmosphere that Willi channeled. It was fabulous. Each season the shows had very different themes, and I was given total freedom. Willi was up for anything, he wanted to enjoy the work as well, really enjoy it.

For the 1984 SUB-Urban presentation I said, “I’d like the models to put on their own makeup.” I applied cream makeup colors to the palms of their hands, turquoise, green, yellow, red, and instructed them to smear it on their faces as they walked down the runway. Who else would let you do that? It worked with his clothes, because his clothes had humor, fun, and a relaxed feeling to them. For the 1985 Indian collection, I jeweled the eyebrows.

Willi inspired creation while making the work lots of fun. It was rare then for fashion designers to collaborate in that way with so many artists, but the time was ripe for change, and Willi was the instigator of that change. He wanted to work with the best and didn’t have an ounce of ego. I think he was very secure in who he was, to be so generous.

Makeup artist Linda Mason and Willi Smith on the set of Expedition. Willi is dressed in a pink top, and brightly colored bow on his head. He is getting his nails painted and is wearing bright blue eye liner.

Linda Mason and Willi Smith on Set, Expedition, Willi Smith for WilliWear, Spring 1986 Collection, Photographed by Mark Bozek, Dakar, Senegal, 1985