TAOM at LFW: Johnsons of Elgin SS19

Posted on September 28 2018

We had five graduates assist our tutor Kat McSwein at the Johnstons of Elgin show at London Fashion Week which was sponsored by our director Sara's brand ‘Sara Hill Makeup’. It was an amazing opportunity for our graduates. Here's what Colleen, Stephanie and Gosia had to say about their experience:


Although I graduated from the Pro Course a year ago, I was fortunate to be able to take a break from makeup and The Academy of Makeup paused my Aftercare following the birth of my daughter. Whilst on maternity leave, I have been keeping my hand in where I can, and have been taking some time to think about my goals and aspirations for my career in makeup. Working at Fashion Week has always been right up there, and I was thrilled to be selected for the Johnstons of Elgin presentation, working alongside the fabulous Kat McSwein as Lead Artist and some other gorgeous graduates. 

Models Standing at Johnsons of Elgin

The day itself was inspiring, fast-paced and insightful, and to be able to work with stunning international models and alongside experienced professionals to present a Scottish label was a wonderful experience. Kat was hugely supportive and it was a huge confidence boost to know that she had 100% trust in us. The Academy’s aftercare programme was part of the reason I chose to train there, and the support and advice I continue to receive as a professional from the TAOM team and the graduate community are just fantastic. Thank you! xx 


And it happened… My dream came true! I got chosen to be a part of a makeup team for London Fashion Week! It all started from putting my name forward for that Aftercare opportunity as soon as I got an email from The Academy. The days before couldn’t go quick enough and the closer the day came the more excited and nervous I was getting. The night before the event we got the makeup brief from our amazing Lead artist Kat McSwein. It was all about the skin - lovely, dewy, 'no makeup' makeup look. I loved the look as soon as I saw it and I could not wait to get there and paint all of those beautiful faces. On the 14th of September together with the other Academy Graduates, we got an early flight to London. It was so lovely to be together! To be honest, if I wasn’t with them I would have probably got lost in London by myself!

TAOM tutor Kat McSwein working backstage at LFW

Our call time was 14:15 at the amazing Waldorf Hilton Hotel. The venue looked amazing! The room was decorated in palm trees looking like some tropical, luxurious restaurant. Our room was already set up by Kat and was full of amazing Sara Hill makeup. The lovely hair team was on the other side. Everyone from creatives team was so lovely that it only made us feel more relaxed and ready to work! Even though our time to do make up for 20 models got shortened from 2 hours to 1 hour we did it! All the models were so beautiful and sweet which came as a surprise as I know how stressful being a model can be. It didn’t matter whether you were holding up a £5,000 camera or an iPhone they would stop what they were doing to give you a killer pose.

Between touch-ups, we got the chance to go out and take some pictures, see all those fancy looking guests and feel that amazing LFW vibe!

Everything about that day I loved! I loved the girls from the Academy, I loved that Kat was so relaxed and made us feel the same way (I just love Kat!), I loved the venue, models, presentation, atmosphere… This experience definitely gave me much more confidence and made me believe that if I've done LFW I can do anything! I could do this all day every day. I can’t thank The Academy of Makeup and Kat McSwein enough for choosing me!



I was delighted to hear from the academy saying that I’d been chosen as one of the five artists to assist Kat McSwein at London Fashion Week! The week before I had been part of Rae Mathieson’s team for a Fashion show, so I felt confident in my backstage makeup abilities but I was so nervous about travelling as it's not something I often do.

I quickly got in touch with some of the other makeup artist and we made plans to travel together! There was nothing left to worry about at all! I was so excited I barely slept and was up at 4am to catch an early flight down south.

Kat McSwein leading TAOM graduates backstage at LFWTAOM graduate applying makeup to a model backstage at LFWTAOM graduate Gosia working backstage at London Fashion Week

It all went to plan apart from some dramatic smokey engine issues in the plane but that’s a story for another time! We arrived at the stunning venue and Kat had a huge array of Sara Hill makeup for us to use. Just as we had finished setting up we were told that the call time for the models had been pushed back by an hour. This was a perfect opportunity for us to relax and chat. Every makeup artist I have met through the academy has the ability to make you feel like best friends within minutes.

We only had an hour and a half for twenty models to get their hair makeup done and get dressed! In the end, we did it but It did get a bit mad at some points with six people tag-teams doing makeup and hair on models!

Model in yellow dress at Johnsons of Elgin LFW showModel in Black and White outfit at Johnsons of Elgin LFW show


When all the models were dressed and lined up we did some final touch-ups and off they went. The presentation was beautiful with all the models stood on a tropically themed stage like very stylish mannequins. There was also a live shoot and I managed to spot a couple of famous faces as well. Overall the presentation was Modern and bright and not what I expected from the brand. When you think of cashmere you think of winter and an older generation. It was anything but! My experience at London Fashion week is something I’ll never forget. It’s given me so much confidence and I can’t help smile when I think about the fact I only graduated in July and I’m able to take part such amazing opportunities! I would love to go back and do this all over again! HUGE Thanks to The Academy Of makeup and Kat Mcswein for having me. 

1 comment

  • Sharon Innes : October 09, 2018

    Congratulations to all of you. What a fantastic opportunity and it’s great to hear behind the scene stories, would love to do something like this x

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