September 3 2014

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The Life Aquatic, Backstage At Chanel


The sea, and all of its fluid, textural qualities and mystic creatures, has become a big trend for Spring, informing stand-out shows from Giorgio Armani and Givenchy already this season. But leave it to Karl Lagerfeld and his global creative director of makeup, Peter Philips, to put their own spin on the watery wonderland at Chanel. Like all showgoers who arrived at the Grand Palais, which was outfitted with gigantic pieces of shimmering coral and clam shells, the first thing Philips knew about the collection was the set. “I knew they were going for an underwater theme in white,” Philips said, which caused him to focus his energies on creating glow and shine. “It’s a huge space so I had to do something that wouldn’t overtake the clothes but also made sure the girls wouldn’t disappear.” So models were given a smooth base of Chanel Pro Lumiere Professional Finish Makeup for a semi-matte finish that contrasted well with the “wet shine” eyes Philips crafted using his Illusion d’Ombre long-wear luminous eyeshadow in 81 Fantasme, a glimmering white cream pigment. “It blends out into Illusion Ombre 82 Emerveille, a peach color, so the sparkle becomes a glow,” Philips pointed out, lining the inner rims of eyes with Chanel Le Crayon Kôhl intense eye pencil in Clair, a light beige, and using its Stylo Yeux Waterproof long-lasting eyeliner in black shimmer along the upper lash line to further carve out definition. Cheeks were dusted with its forthcoming L’Horizon de Chanel, a blush compact with graduating shades of pink that can be swirled on for multi-dimensional color, while mouths were coated in its new Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer lip shine in Plaisir, a sheer pink hue sans sparkle, so that when Abbey Lee, Freja, Lindsey, Stella, and co. walked, the light hit their lacquered mouths just so.

But what really helped the girls pop as they strutted around the maze of a runway were flat-back Swarovski pearls, which were stuck onto brows, ears, and nostrils with a latex-based glue to resemble piercings. Most stunning was Arizona Muse’s pearl-dotted spine, which only further served to spotlight her swanlike neck.

Larger pearls—some of them bearing the house’s indelible CC logo—were also adhered to bobby pins that coiffing star Sam McKnight slid into yet another incarnation of the season’s big beauty hit, wet hair. “But wet hair and down looked a little sad,” McKnight admitted. Instead, he prepped strands with Sebastian Mousse Forte and Pantene Pro-V Repair and Protect Conditioner, a leave-in mask, and swept them up into a chignon, letting the ends hang out. McKnight advocated for using mousse—rather than gel—to get the desired level of saturation. “Gel can be difficult to manipulate and mousse just distributes better,” he said. “I added a slight side part, too, so there’s a little bit of a Chanel boyish feel.” As for the style’s prevalence, McKnight said the only thing you could say under the circumstances. “I guess there’s something in the water.” Zing.

Photo: Luca Cannonieri /



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