At McQueen, Guido Palau’s Night Of Shining Armor
“You’ve got to mention Goody,” Guido Palau modestly implored as the oohs and ahhs over his “hair helmet” backstage at McQueen started flying. The popular mass-market hair accessory brand sent him 6,000 silver and metallic black barrettes for the show, which were splayed out in Tupperware buckets in a cavernous area behind the makeshift runway setup at La Concierge. With 100 barrettes designated to each of the 34 models in Sarah Burton’s show, Palau used over half of them.
This is the second extraordinary coiffing feat the shear genius has pioneered with Burton, after implementing box-woven panels at her debut outing last season. “I know the DNA of the brand—I’ve worked with them for so long so it’s almost instinctual. Sarah is the same way,” Palau said. For Fall, the idea was “robotic and fetishistic—almost futuristic,” which Palau achieved by essentially covering the whole head with metal, either in linear patterns or crisscrossed shapes. “I tried it on a ponytail originally but we wanted to take it to another level.” (Suffice it to say, mission accomplished). “[It’s] strong but still beautiful—not weird and ugly, but aesthetically and visually pleasing,” Palau pointed out of the style—not unlike the “Crystal Cave” nail designs Minx co-founder Dawn Lynch-Goodwin had flown in for the show from L.A. by way of the Eurostar from London. “We presented 20 to 22 different designs in the theme of the ‘Ice Maiden’ inspiration,” Lynch-Goodwin said, explaining that the winning nail was taken from an image of an ice storm seen through the confines of a cave.
Famed face painter Peter Philips was also building off his new relationship with Burton by playing up a similarly ethereal look to the paled-out faces and golden highlights he designed for Spring. “We’re trying to find an identity here—the Alexander McQueen girl,” Philips said. “The clothes are like armor, so we didn’t want to distract from that with complicated makeup.” The result was alabaster skin, which Philips created using his go-to bottle of Chanel Pro-Lumiere Foundation in #10, the lightest shade in the range, whitened even further with a special mix of shimmering pearl pigment that was blended into the base. After lining lids with Chanel Le Crayon Yeux in Khaki Platine, Philips dusted shimmering ivory and gold highlights onto the sides of the face, the nose bridge, the inner corners of the eye, and the cupid’s bow of models’ mouths “just to bring it all alive so they don’t look dead.”
As yet another example of Fall’s departure from the color-blocking of seasons’ past—the bold lip colors, pastel nail varnishes, and bright eye shadows that have made a comeback of late—Philips pointed out that he is embracing a new, “cocooning effect” of makeup. “It’s less graphic and more about applying pigments with your fingers while playing with shine and luminosity. But that’s just my opinion”—which holds a lot of weight, as far as this reporter is concerned.