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August 30 2014

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EXCLUSIVE: Backstage At Chanel Couture, Peter Philips Updates The Classics

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The idea behind the beauty look for Chanel’s Fall Couture show started as it always does. “I just got a sketch,” the brand’s creative director of makeup, Peter Philips, told us last week when we had the pleasure of chatting with him about Miroir, Miroir, his latest video vignette starring a range of Chanel products. The sketch expressed Karl Lagerfeld’s inspiration for the show: new vintage. “I took some [basics] and twisted them in subtle way,” Philips says of his approach, which focused on familiar makeup elements—a smoky eye, an eyeliner and blush application, a French manicure—made modern.

Starting with a clean base, the face painter concentrated most of his attention on lids, crafting a “blue/gray metallic eye” that began with a dusting of Chanel Ombre Essentielle Soft-Touch Eyeshadow in Furtif that Philips swept across the upper lash line through the crease and dragged underneath the lower lash line. To that, he applied a thick, “bulky” scrawl of black liner, which he topped off with a few swipes of Chanel Inimitable Mascara in Black and an etching of its Kohl Liner in Clair, a pale beige, that he traced along the inner rims to open the eyes a bit. Blending a swirl of Chanel Joues Constraste Blush in Rose Initial onto the apples of models’ cheeks, albeit “a bit higher than usual,” Philips finished the face with a neutral pout that he framed with its Lip Liner in Natural and filled in with its Rouge Allure lipstick in Evanescente.

The show’s theme was best realized through Sam McKnight’s silver-lined, forties-era hair nets and the nails, where Philips took the idea of the classic French manicure and gave it a touch of now, thus ushering in Chanel’s first foray into fashion’s continued embrace of the nail art revival. “When we were playing around with the idea of doing a nail polish, we evoked the idea of using two shades on one nail,” Philips explained, employing a discontinued chrome color that launched in 2007 to outline the entire nail bed, rather than just the tip, which had been lacquered with two coats of May, a melon varnish from the Spring 2012 show. “[New vintage] is…preparation for something that could last,” Lagerfeld explained to our intrepid runway reporter following the show, which we’ll take as a sign that nail art isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. At least now we have a new design to challenge our manicurist with.

Photo: Luca Cannonieri / GoRunway.com

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