ON A RAINY February evening, when I least expected it, I stumbled on Portland's best-kept beauty secret: I had my makeup done by Katherine Sealy of Event Cosmetics, and I've been a convert ever since. Unbelievably, Sealy has been running her company in Portland since 2000, turning out some of the most remarkable cosmetic products and services right under my nose. With a long background in the industry including tenures with Prescriptives and Estée Lauder, work behind the scenes at major runway shows, and a celebrity clientele including Christy Turlington, Veronica Webb, and Sandra Bullock, Sealy is hands down the most accomplished makeup artist I've encountered.
Part of the reason Sealy and her products stayed under my radar is that in Portland the bulk of her clientele are brides. Soon after relocating to Portland from Los Angeles, Sealy and six other women—Andrea Hoyt, Kim Trickey, Sarah Mansfield, Christa Barton, Alex Van Pelt, and Emee Pumarega—founded the Bridal Loft, a collectively owned one-stop destination for brides, providing one-on-one service for veils, alterations, custom dresses, jewelry, event planning, and of course, makeup. If you've never signed up to take a walk down the aisle, you'd be forgiven for never having been to the complex of studios sitting unassumingly on NE MLK.
Once introduced, you'll find a diverse group (Sealy, herself originally from Barbados, fondly refers to them as a "United Nations" of bridal services) who all share, adorably, a love of Star Trek and affectionately refer to themselves and their clients as "Lofties." The lineup has evolved over the years to include Sara Temme of Love, June Bridal custom dresses, Paul Rich photography, wedding planner Jennifer Fox, Ambient Sky videography, and award-winning calligrapher Alesia Zorn. This week marks the celebration of the collective's 10th anniversary. (Expect live music, flowing beer, and lots of bridal industry experts at the festivities.) As they move into the next decade, Sealy is expanding out of the bridal niche to make Event Cosmetics known and available to the everyday user. They've recently opened a studio space in partnership with Fáda Salon (615 SW Broadway), where one can easily drop in to pick up a product without having to worry about making an appointment (though Sealy urges the wisdom of checking in with an Event artist periodically to adjust products to your skin's changing needs).
And here's why you'll never want to use anything else: Sealy has mastered the creation of mineral-based cream foundations and concealers that come with all the skin-saving benefits (natural SPF, non-cloggy on pores) but without the dullness and flattened effect when photographed. Her formulations are dynamic in light and blend imperceptively over dark circles and uneven color like no other product I've seen. Come meet your new best friend. You won't regret it.