Backstage At McQueen, “A Little Fantasy” Goes A Long Way
If the lace masks at Sarah Burton’s show for Alexander McQueen looked familiar, it’s because anyone who made it to the wildly successful exhibition celebrating the house’s late namesake designer at the Met this summer has seen something like them before. “The idea came from the masks we created for the McQueen exhibit,” confirmed Guido Palau, who dreamt up another series of similar headgear with Burton for Spring. “People expect a little fantasy from this show,” Palau pointed out, which he delivered by weaving tight, half-inch-thick rings of braids all around models’ heads. “It’s like a wig wrap, but I wanted it to look more embellished,” he explained—which happened to be the complete opposite of Peter Philips’ M.O. “It’s almost like a sculpture,” the famed face painter said of the full-body muting technique he employed, applying a continuous wash of Chanel Pro Lumiere foundation on faces, limbs—anywhere skin was showing. “It’s all the same color; we wanted to make sure everything was covered,” he said, taking the season’s monochrome makeup trend to the next level. While Philips finger-pressed foundation into lips as well, there was one area of the face that he enhanced: the brows. “We tried bleaching them, but it looked too alien,” he said, opting instead to flatten arches, coating them in the same latex-based glue he used only a few hours earlier at Chanel. “It puts some life back inside those masks.”
The real embellishment was left to Minx co-founders Dawn Lynch-Goodwin and Janice Jordan. Back in London, manicurist Marian Newman told us that Burton had given the women four words to use for inspiration when conceiving a series of different nail overlays for her to choose from for the show; today came the big reveal. “Water, mother-of-pearl, shell, and sea foam,” she said, applying the six winning designs to models’ tips. Using three different bases of pink, beige, and ivory, Jordan and Lynch-Goodwin layered different combinations of Minx in holographic gold and silver on top to create “organic, random” layered patterns. “It took over 1,000 man hours,” Jordan proclaimed. If the crowd at Centquatre wanted fantasy, they no doubt left satisfied.