OHNE TITEL + KABUKI

Ultramodern fashion designers Ohne Titel reflect on their creative partnership with visionary makeup artist Kabuki

Made for Fashion pairs leading fashion designers and makeup artists for a candid head-to-head conversation about creativity, collaboration and catwalks

Upon debuting their first collection in 2008, Alexa Adams and Flora Gill of Ohne Titel (that鈥檚 German for 鈥渦ntitled鈥) became immediate darlings of the New York fashion scene. Their confident, architectural knits take athleticism to a new level 鈥 one that鈥檚 fierce, ultramodern, always fresh. No matter the season, the Ohne Titel woman is always effortlessly, enviously cool. Their muse is not a traditional beauty, and the small twists and turns that shape each season鈥檚 makeup look speak strongly to that.

For the past two seasons they鈥檝e worked with makeup artist Kabuki, beloved for his unique sense of flair 鈥 envisioned everywhere from the NYC club scene to Seasons 1 and 2 of Sex and the City to Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Michael Jackson and every major fashion magazine. Their three powers combined make for one game-changer of a team, posed to blow up the runway with their visionary artistry. Here they discuss inspiration, the power of subtlety, and why the best in beauty requires confidence and truth.

Alexa: The first thing that always strikes us about the Ohne Titel aesthetic is that it鈥檚 about a strong woman. There is that sense of individuality, but also this idea of inner strength and a little bit of fierceness.

Flora: It鈥檚 for a bolder woman. I do think that there鈥檚 something about confidence and individuality. That鈥檚 the most important thing. People with confidence are beautiful no matter what they look like. And that鈥檚 what you have to express and try to bring out with makeup.

"People with confidence are beautiful no matter what they look like. And that鈥檚 what you have to express and try to bring out with makeup.鈥 鈥 Flora Gill

Alexa: As a company we have a certain aesthetic that is a stronger woman, but at the same time doesn鈥檛 feel 鈥渃ostumey鈥 or overly made up. It鈥檚 very modern. But it鈥檚 different working with you, Kabuki, because we鈥檙e working together, so that鈥檚 going to elevate what we鈥檙e doing, or bring it to the next stage. In fashion we鈥檙e always thinking about what鈥檚 happening next season.

Kabuki: There鈥檚 a great deal of thought and care that I can see visually when I look at what you present to me. It鈥檚 set the bar high, so it鈥檚 about meeting in that place. I like to work with people who have good taste. I like the perfection of zoning in and getting something absolutely right, instead of second-guessing too much. That鈥檚 why simplicity can sometimes be more beautiful. It鈥檚 more about a refinement process.

Flora: I also feel that working with talented makeup artists really brings a lot to the table. We can come to you and say, 鈥渢his is what we鈥檙e feeling, this is what we鈥檙e doing,鈥 and then you respond with an interesting idea or interpretation.

Alexa: Both Flora and I were big fans of your work before we began working with you 鈥 it鈥檚 your real particularness. You鈥檒l see this relationship between shapes and colour and the face. It鈥檚 something that鈥檚 visually strong but also feels fresh and contemporary.

Kabuki: This is our second show together, so we鈥檙e still getting to know each other. But we just start somewhere and then react to it. For me, what鈥檚 important is to listen. To try to absorb as much as I can, and to try not to just interpret what they鈥檙e saying but to keep my mind open as well. It鈥檚 very easy working with you, because the inspiration is there.

Flora: One thing I love about seeing you work is how subtle everything is 鈥 the difference between something that鈥檚 perfect and something that鈥檚 just a little off is so minute, so small, that it鈥檚 beautiful to see it all come together.

Kabuki: Thank you. I just have a tiny area to worry about, and you鈥檝e done most of the work for me. I just want to do it justice.

Alexa: That鈥檚 the best part 鈥 seeing all the elements together, when you see the right girl in the clothes with the right makeup and right hair.

Flora: It鈥檒l blow your mind.

Kabuki: Everything has a relationship to something else. Sometimes leaving something plain is more beautiful than adding something. It鈥檚 at the end that things come into sharp focus. It鈥檚 good to have a clearly defined aesthetic but still have flexibility for things to happen spontaneously. It allows the looks to have an effortless quality or lightness to them that isn鈥檛 overthought.

Flora: We鈥檝e always had some aspect of our makeup that pushes it a little bit, even if it is a very clean, beautiful skin look.

Alexa: You want that twist, that interesting moment.

Kabuki: You can do something a little bit different and it doesn鈥檛 feel like theatre, it feels like a cohesive message. It鈥檚 the integrity really. Truth is integrity. Beauty is truth. There鈥檚 something there that鈥檚 undeniable.