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Weave Glue And 3-D Makeup, Backstage At Gareth Pugh


“It’s back to the old Gareth,” hairstylist Martin Cullen surmised of Gareth Pugh‘s Spring collection, which featured all of the hits that made the designer such a smash when he first arrived on the scene—the black and white color palette, the stripes, and, let us not forget, the eerie, futuristic beauty. “We wanted the hair to be small but still graphic,” Cullen continued, devising a sleek, retro wig-cap shape with a few ultra-modern twists and turns. “It’s my interpretation of the latticework in the clothes,” he said, coating panels of hair with L’Oréal Paris Elnett hair spray and wrapping them cylindrically. The extra bit of space age sex appeal came courtesy of heavily sprayed and flat-ironed half-inch pieces of contrasting hair extensions, which were dotted with run-of-the-mill weave glue and pasted onto model’s heads in a crisscrossed pattern. Above a few of the coifs sat towering headpieces, which were constructed in an almost counterintuitive manner. “The top is rounded and the bottom is pointed,” nail artist Marian Newman said of the macabre toppers, which served as inspiration for the dégradé striped Minx she was applying to individual nails in variations of black and white, and purple and matte silver.

Minx served double duty backstage, where white strips of the flexible overlays were also being utilized by face painter Alex Box. “It’s about electricity and the early forms of it,” Box said of the makeup look, referencing the early-twentieth-century scientist Nikola Tesla. “That idea of how is it working? How are they doing it?”, which prompted her to create her own optical illusion in the form of three-dimensional brows and eyeliner. Blending MAC Face & Body Studio Sculpt foundation over “lots and lots of moisturizer,” for really nude, “newborn baby” skin, Box bleached brows and put pre-cut triangles of double-sided sticky clear plastic over arches before placing ivory-hued pieces of Minx in the shape of diagonal cat-eyes onto lash lines—an equally decisive throwback to early Gareth, his Spring 2009 show, specifically, when Box employed a similar technique for the designer’s grand entrée onto the Paris fashion schedule. The girls’ otherworldly glow came courtesy of dabs of Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment, which Box “really worked” into cheeks.

Post-show, models were treated to a brow dye job before they left the venue with ashen shades of Wella Koleston hair color to negate any orange aftereffects—although a typically strong-browed Elsa Sylvan was still preparing for the worst. “It always turns out a little weird,” Sylvan admitted. “You walk out looking like Frida Kahlo!”

Photo: Luca Cannonieri /

Backstage Reviews