April 2, 2017

Artist’s Approach

Troy Surratt brings Japanese perfectionism and New York minimalism to Dallas

TroyHeadshotbyBenHassettWhen you ask Troy Surratt to show you highlights from his beauty collection, he won’t lead you to his clever Smokey Eye Baton (though we’ll get there in a minute) or to the foundation wand with a built-in brush. Rather, he’ll pause quizzically and say: “Well, it totally depends on what you need.” That tells much of what you should know about Surratt Beauty. Everything is designed around customers’ individual desires. “I have a makeup artist’s sensibility, but I’m consumer-driven. I’m pro-sumer.”

Take, for instance, his color palettes: empty, slim cases that allow you to build your own combination of eye and cheek colors. “Luxury customers want to be part of the creative process. It’s about individualism and customization—oh, and it’s fun.”

This philosophy stems from Surratt’s personal background. Growing up in Kansas, he had an early interest in makeup, but moved to New York to study fashion at Parsons and the Fashion Institute of Technology. After graduation, the beauty industry lured him back. “I bring a lot of my fashion background into what I do now,” he says. “I have my core collection—basics to use year-round—and then more trend-driven items that rotate and bring color into the mix.”

Before launching his line in 2013, Surratt’s beauty experience ran the gamut. He worked at counters one-on-one with clients, was a celebrity makeup artist, and even co-founded Tarte with partner Maureen Kelly. But it was his time assisting his idol Kevyn Aucoin that was most influential. After Aucoin’s death, he made a pilgrimage to Japan, a place dear to his mentor’s heart.

“I fell in love with the country—its culture, its minimalism and modernity, everything about it,” says Surratt. “They value a commitment to mastery, whether it’s sushi, or knife sharpening, or calligraphy. Masters will dedicate themselves entirely to a craft. For instance, my brushes are all handmade in Kumano, where artisans have been working on their trade since the end of the Edo period.”

Surratt now makes frequent trips to Japan, where all his products and packaging are manufactured with scale and portability in mind. “Space is expensive and in New York, it’s very expensive,” he says. “I want everything to be stackable, portable, and packable for all my girlfriends in New York who get ready in tiny bathrooms.”

That streamlined approach (and again, Japanese ingenuity) can be seen in everything Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 3.53.35 PMfrom the refillable(!) liquid liner; the twist-to-open, cream-glitter shadow duo Prismatique Eyes; and the one-stop-wonder Smokey Eye Baton. On one end there’s a creamy liner and on the other, a spring-loaded smudger with a ready dose of complementary powder. Just layer, blend, blend, blend, and voilà.

For his recent visit to Forty Five Ten, Surratt brought a little something extra: compact cases hand-painted by jewelry designer and friend, Eva Zuckerman. Proceeds from the exclusive compact will go to the MTV Staying Alive Foundation which promotes HIV awareness and prevention. What colors you fill yours with are up to you.

The Details: Shop Surrat Beauty at Forty Five Ten, 1615 Main Street.