Each of our Pro features celebrates the inspiring success of influencers from diverse industries, starting from the early career, remembering the big break, looking at the industry today, and opening their little black books to divulge their ultimate product kit.
THE EARLY CAREER…
“Originally, I am half Jordanian and half Romanian, but I spent most of my life in Italy. I was raised in Jordan until I was seven and Romania until I was about sixteen, then I moved to Italy, where I studied high school and University, and got my first internship at Bridal Vogue. I then got a job at L’Uomo Vogue, but after a while, I decided I needed to move to New York, where I started working for [stylist] Michael Nash as a fashion assistant. At the time, he was also an editor for GQ Magazine, so I was working on shoots for the magazine and assisting styling shoots for celebrities as well. I had wanted to work in fashion since I was eight, so I always thought that a career as a fashion editor or stylist would be perfect, but once I was doing it all the time, it wasn’t creatively fulfilling for me, but it was such a good learning experience.
I started my brand, [Oscar Tiye], when I was 26 years old. My boss was so supportive. He told me I had to live my dream, and a creating a shoe line was always my dream. I knew from the beginning that if I got into designing, it would be a shoe brand, it’s not like I just wanted to start some sort of fashion brand and had no idea what I would be creating [laughs]. I ended up moving back to Italy and went to an area near Venice next to the Brenta river where everyone in the town lives off of the shoe and accessories industry. Literally, at the roundabout where you enter, they have a huge statue of a shoe! Everybody there creates something that revolves around that industry; whether it’s dust bags or metal clasps, it’s all related to shoes. I spent about a year there working with two artisans. They would take me to each factory, each supplier, so I learned how to create every single component of a shoe, all the way down to the sole, and afterwards, I launched my brand.
THE BIG BREAK…
When I was getting ready to launch the brand, before it had even launched, actually, I was at a dinner event, and Zoe Saldana was there. We had a few common friends and had met already, so she asked to see some of the designs from my line and fell in love with the shoes. She wanted to wear them to her upcoming movie premieres, so I had them made for her to wear. It was amazing because she really embodies the perfect woman to me inside and outside and is one of my muses when designing, so having her play a big part in launching the brand was fantastic. But on the flip side, it was crazy because we weren’t even selling in stores yet, so it forced me to get it together really quickly [laughs]. We got signed by Massimo Bonini, which is a major multi-label accessories showroom, and it took off from there.
It’s been a bumpy road and a very long journey- I feel like it’s been 15 years, not three- but learning that you can fail and make mistakes and that those are just lessons to help you grow was so important. From the outside, people really just see the success and all of the positive, but they don’t see how hard it is to get there, or how many failures you had before you hit your goals. I never stop and think, ‘Ok, now I’m successful’, I am always just looking ahead. Having all of these gorgeous women wearing my shoes, like Gigi Hadid or Kylie Jenner, is such a huge compliment, but even more so, I love seeing women in other industries outside of entertainment, because that tells me the brand is really becoming successful. I have a lot of muses when I’m designing, like Zoe [Saldana], as I mentioned, but also women like Barbara Martelo, the Bartoli sisters, Christine Centenera, even my lawyer; lots of people from different industries, outside of the obviously stylish girls. Of course, each time we get picked up by a major retailer, that’s also a major accomplishment; we just got picked up by some of my favorites, like Net-A-Porter and Brown’s Fashion.
THE INDUSTRY TODAY…
Besides, my own line. I have a collaboration with Alexandre Vauthier, a couture designer from Paris and very good friend. We’ve been working together for three seasons, and I design his shoe collection in collaboration with him. It’s been going great, and it’s cool because I get to do something different and take someone else’s inspiration united with my own vision and transform it into something new. For Alexandre, that look is very glamorous, sexy and powerful. We work so well together- we’re a great creative couple! Rihanna just wore shoes that we designed at the VMA’s while also wearing a beautiful gown of Alexandre’s when she received the Vanguard Award, which was a magical experience for us. It was like a modern Cinderella moment! It was especially beautiful because it was a major moment in her career, too.
Oscar Tiye is constantly evolving, and I’m just happy that I’ve been able to keep creating styles that people want for not just one season, but coming on five seasons now. That’s the most important thing to me, creating classic silhouettes with a fresh twist. In the shoe industry, the artisans will always tell you, ‘Everything has been made’. So the challenge as a designer is to be able to create something new, but still keep the shoe timeless enough that people want to wear it over and over again.
MY IDEAL BEAUTY KIT…
“Serum and moisturizer are so important for my face. I use a lot of Dior products, but for serum, Skinceuticals is my favorite. They have so many tailored to different skin types. I have combination skin- my t-zone is oily, but the rest of my face is normal- so I use the serums that are made for my skin type. I also love Argan Oil, too. I just buy it from a pharmacy and put it on at night, and I wake up with baby butt soft skin [laughs]. To take off my makeup, I always use a Micellar Water, either from Garnier or Bioderma. I like it because it removes everything, which is great because I don’t like to use too many products. MAC also makes great makeup removing wipes for travel.
I do really like masks, like my friend Kristen [Noel Crawley’s] Lip Masks, which are super hydrating for your lips. I also have dark circles under my eyes because I’m Middle Eastern, so any eye masks I can use to help get rid of those are fantastic, although sleep is really the only thing that totally gets rid of them [laughs]. When I don’t sleep, it shows!
I almost always do red on my nails, and I get them done a lot because I’m a shoe designer, so my pedicure has to be perfect all the time. For one of Alexandre’s video campaigns that was shot by [legendary photographer] Jean Baptiste Mondino, we actually used my legs and feet to model the shoes, so I take really good care of them [laughs]. I think it’s important, especially because I work with feet. I live between Milan and Paris, but mostly in Milan, and I have a woman named Jaja who I love that does my nails, and nothing compares to her. My favorite color is OPI Big Apple Red. It looks good on everyone.
My day-to-day routine is foundation, concealer, lip balm, mascara and a little highlighter. I love makeup, but I don’t like to apply too much. Concealer and lip balm are my absolute staples. The Dior Lip Glow is probably my favorite because it’s got a little bit of color, but it’s just enhancing your personal lip shade, so it looks very natural. If I’m going to an event, MAC makes a great brownish lipliner called Whirl that is my perfect nude color. My lips aren’t naturally very defined, so I like using something subtle to make them stand out a bit more.
For a bolder lip, MAC Lipstick in MAC Red or Lady Danger are both really good reds. I actually like to mix my lipsticks together. Most people, if they mix lipsticks, use the darker shade on the outside of their lips and the lighter shade towards the center, but I do the opposite. I put the darkest shade in the middle, then a lighter shade around the edges and blend them together with the Lip Glow. It looks like your lips are naturally colored and full.
I go between NARS Creamy Concealer and a MAC Studio Conceal and Correct Palette for concealers. The MAC one’s are great because they’re really thick, so they stay put, but they don’t look cakey. They cover anything. One of my friends just had a big pimple that none of her products would cover, and I came over with my magic palette and it covered up right away.
The Dior Pore Minimizer is my little secret. I have pores that you can see in my t-zone area, so I apply it on my nose and forehead, and it just makes your skin look flawless and very smooth wherever you apply it. Also, the Dior Glow Maximizer is amazing. You can either mix with your foundation to look glowy all over, or you can just put it on where you want to highlight before you apply foundation. It’s really pretty, but subtle. I use both of these as a base for the rest of my routine.
For highlighters, I prefer the cream ones from MAC, the Pro Longwear Paint Pots. I have to use golden colors when I highlight because I’m tan, and MAC makes really pretty shades for my skintone. If I’m going to contour, the Dior Diorblush Light & Contour Sculpting Stick Duo is really good. It’s kind of a secret still, not that many people use it yet, but it makes the most natural contour. Every time I get my makeup done, the artists use like 300 products to contour, which I can’t do everyday [laughs], and this product gives me the same look, but I only have to use one thing, not 300. I just apply a swipe anywhere I want to sculpt out, then I use the other end of the stick, the highlighter, on the tops of my cheekbones.
I set everything with a translucent powder, typically MAC’s Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder. I prefer translucent to regular, colored powders because they’re lighter. They keep your makeup in place without covering your face. Colored powder is only good for night- during the day it makes your face look like your skin has a topcoat.
I like to get blowdrys, partly because I’m lazy, but also because I can work while they do it. Here in L.A., I go to Eden Sassoon on Sunset. They’re so nice, and they really pamper you. They take their time, so you don’t feel like they’re doing it in a rush. I also have cowlicks, so the most important tool I can use if I am styling my hair myself is my blow dryer. I have to use a professional strength one to get my cowlicks flattened, and then maybe I’ll throw a few curls in, and the only product I use for styling is Kerestase Elixir Ultime Imperial Radiating Oil on the ends. My hair gets greasy very quickly, in like two days, and this oil is light enough that it won’t make it greasy sooner, but still makes the ends soft.
I love doing my makeup, but I hate doing my hair. I could do my makeup for two hours, but if you told me to do my hair for two hours, I would want to die [laughs]. Makeup is more artistic for me. I love when people do my hair, though, versus makeup, I don’t need anyone to do it. Usually when other people do my makeup, they apply too much, and they just don’t know my face as well as I do. I have been really lucky to work with some amazing artists, but in general, I prefer to do it myself.”