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A Play For Clay Backstage At Alexander Wang

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One look at the glorified comb-overs Guido Palau fashioned backstage at Alexander Wang in February (and then again at Bottega Veneta in Milan), and it’s clear that he’s more than willing to push the envelope when it comes to coiffing. But still we weren’t prepared for what was waiting backstage at Pier 94 yesterday. That would be clay—fuller’s earth mixed with white pigment, to be exact. Channeling Jean-Michel Basquiat and what he called “the new-age traveler,” Palau created what amounted to avant-garde chignons that resembled messy knots, rather than actual buns, with excess hair hanging out at each end à la Basquiat’s own haphazard, spiky strands. Taking into account the delicate fabrics and white palette of Wang’s collection, Palau decided to block out any semblance of natural hair color—hence the chalky white streaks. Once his updos were done, he coated sections of models’ hair with the ivory paste, topping them off with Redken Forceful 23 hairspray for hold and hitting them with heat from the blow-dryer to “bake it all in.” Makeup artist Diane Kendal was also harking back to the 1980s downtown art scene, building a more-than-minimal “very cool” makeup look that included face moisturizer and bleached brows—and that’s it. Kendal was mixing up her own lightening concoction with Wellite—a powder hair dye—and she assured us that she’d dye models’ arches back post-show—except of course if they wanted to make like Lara Stone and keep the all forehead look alive.

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