“Virtual Dolls,” Backstage At Prada
There’s something that should be said about the lighting in most backstage areas at most fashion show venues from New York to Paris. It’s unforgivingly bright—and purposely so: the better for makeup artists to see their canvases. So what does this mean for the final beauty look? It can look drastic up close, yet incredibly seamless on the runway. And so it went today at Prada.
“We’ve been here since noon,” Pat McGrath exclaimed before the 6 p.m. presentation commenced, referring to the “busy” face that required a tricolor layering effort on lids. “Mrs. Prada wanted a very strong eye,” the famed facepainter said. And McGrath obliged her, layering an orange greasepaint over blocked-out arches and sweeping a black greasepaint through the crease and up toward the brow bone. Upper and lower lash lines were then rimmed with alternating strokes of black and purple pencil. “They’re all colors from the collection,” McGrath explained of her pigment choices—right up to the theatrical white foundation that she blended from the outer corner of the eyes around the temple, and the ivory paint that helped straighten out the liner.
“They’re virtual dolls,” Guido Palau offered, putting a label on it. “Very manga,” the Redken creative consultant continued, describing the different colored extensions he was adding to emphasize the “synthetic feeling” of it all. “[I chose the extensions] based on which colors clashed best with the girls’ natural hair,” he said. (A long table was littered with opened packages of red, platinum white, and black hues for him to choose from.) Coating hair with Redken Thickening Lotion 06 Body Builder and blow-drying it backward, Palau smoothed strands away from the hairline with its Hardwear 16 Super Strong Gel “so it stayed back,” and then applied its Iron Silk 07 Ultra-Straightening Spray before straight-ironing the entire head. A final mist of Redken Forceful 23 Super Strength Finishing Spray ensured that everything remained superbly structured. “Real girls do this to their hair,” Palau admitted of the ombré streaks that have risen in popularity over the past few seasons on and off the catwalk. “But the perfection here becomes the ‘unreality.’” Leave it to Prada to make something played out, cool again.