Napoleon Perdis is one of the most famed and acclaimed makeup artists in the world. Opening his first store in 1992 in his native Australia, the ebullient, larger-than-life Perdis has since created a cross-continental empire with over 65 concept stores in Australia and New Zealand and three in the United States, including the flagship on Hollywood Boulevard. If that weren’t enough, his brand is also carried in thousands of stores globally, including his NP Set line for Target. I recently met Perdis on the set of my Good Day LA “Weekend Roundup” segment to preview the International Makeup Show, and it was love at first “fabulous!” Right as we were about to go on the air, I mistakenly pronounced his name “Per-dee,” assuming it was French. Turns out the guy’s Greek and just happens to be from Australia. (His name is pronounced phonetically.) But in true Napoleon fashion he replied, “Oooh, I love it! Go ahead and say ‘Per-dee.’ It sounds so much more exotic!”
When did you first fall in love with makeup? What triggered your interest?
It all started with my mum. I would help her get ready before an event or dinner out with my father. I loved makeup and spent years practicing on friends and family. While at university studying political science and business, my wife and I had a side business doing bridal makeup. I was on track to becoming an attorney, but it just wasn’t for me. My true passion was makeup. I have always had a strong creative spirit and makeup was a platform for that. Makeup tells a story and empowers women to play with color, and that was what inspired me to become a makeup artist and start my own brand.
What is the top makeup trend (or trends) that never goes out of style?
Always lipstick! A bright red lip is always in, and it’s an instant confidence booster. I suggest keeping the rest of the face makeup minimal. To get this look try DeVine Goddess Lipstick in Aphrodite or Hara. Try my trick, and apply lip liner last to keep color in place and create a natural definition.
What is the biggest makeup mistake that women make?
Wearing the wrong shade or texture of foundation–it’s my number one beauty faux pas. You need to switch up with your foundation as the seasons change since your skin tone has the tendency to fluctuate between seasons.
You’re originally from Sydney and you travel all around the world — why did you choose LA as your home?
I instantly fell in love with Los Angeles. I’ve long been inspired by Old Hollywood glamour, and there’s such a positive and creative energy in LA everywhere you go.
Is there a distinctly LA look or certain trends that you see in Los Angeles that you don’t really see anywhere else?
LA women are all about that fresh-faced beauty, but they also know the power of bright colors — be it a bold lipstick or playful eye shadow.
You have only three makeup items to use for the rest of your life — what are they? Why?
1. Auto Pilot Pre-Foundation Skin Primer because not to prime is a crime!
2. Camera Finish Powder Foundation, a 3-in-1 formula that lets you conceal, cover and set — it’s perfect for quick touch-ups.
3. Long Black Mascara — it was my first mascara and no makeup look is complete without lashings of mascara.
Many would say that makeup and the beauty industry as a whole is a superficial machine that ends up making women feel worse about themselves rather than improving their self-esteem? What do you think?
I disagree. The only person who can make you feel bad about yourself is you. Makeup is empowering, uplifting and should be used to enhance your natural beauty.
More info: www.napoleonperdis.com