All Ages, All Races, All Sexes… A professional makeup brand setting trends backstage at fashion weeks around the world. Today, M·A·C means so many things to its millions of fans in every corner of the planet, but a global beauty phenomenon has to begin somewhere.
Make-Up Art Cosmetics started life in Toronto, Canada. Makeup artist and photographer Frank Toskan and salon owner Frank Angelo became frustrated by the lack of makeup that photographed well, so they decided to create their own. At first, they made the cosmetics in their kitchen and sold them straight from the salon to fellow makeup artists, as well as models and photographers. Soon, stylists and fashion editors got in on the action. As the magazine credits racked up and word-of-mouth popularity grew, the duo launched M·A·C in March 1984 from a counter in a Toronto department store.
Their approach was chic utility, with the makeup coming in black pots rather than compacts. While other major makeup brands at the time were predominantly skincare companies, M·A·C chose instead to establish itself as the ultimate colour authority. Professional makeup artists manned the counter, an industry first. One of the most popular offerings was an intense matte red lipstick, which got a boost with an appearance in a photo-shoot of the fast-rising Madonna, later seen wearing a M·A·C T-shirt.