August 21 2014

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How To Primp Like A “Crazy Girl”: Burlesque Beauty From Paris’ Finest


As models start making the exodus from London to Milan for the next round of shows, another group of stunners has arrived on British soil, promising an entirely different kind of professional beauty workshop. As the bright lights of LFW go down, the curtain will come up on Paris’ Le Crazy Horse burlesque troupe, which starts its three-month residency tonight at London’s South Bank at Doon Street. Their new show, “Forever Crazy,” combines numbers from founder Alain Bernardin’s original 1950s lineup with new routines by choreographer Philippe Decouflé—and a whole lot of red lipstick. Here, catches up with dancers Kanella Chado and Enny Gmatic to talk personal wigmakers, DIY face painting efforts, and how to keep the body burlesque beautiful, with a few Paris primping destinations thrown in for good measure. Fashion warriors en route to the City of Light next week, take note.

You’re hitting London at the tail end of the Spring shows. Do you take inspiration from the catwalk?
Enny Gmatic: Actually, the opening number of all Crazy Horse shows is inspired by the Changing of the Queen’s Guards. It’s been that way for nearly 60 years.

What kind of physical regimen keeps the Crazy Horse stars in shape?
EG: Obviously, healthy food and sport are required daily as we are weighed every week—we have a specific weight on our contract, which we must respect to the nearest 2kg. But Le Crazy Horse is about women with shapes, so we can enjoy our food—just without excess. Before a tour we need physical preparation: Most of us train in Club Med Gym in Paris or go to dance classes. I like hatha yoga—good for body and mind.

Seeing as how you leave very little to the imagination with your stagewear, your skin essentially becomes your costume. How do you prep for a show to ensure it’s at its best?
EG: Near the Crazy Horse venue in Paris is the Bahn Thai Spa (5 rue Mandar) and the Bioesthétique salon (35 avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie)—they take care of the Crazy Girls. I also use Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Amazing Dry Oil and natural ginseng-based skincare from Galerie Lafayette. From there, it’s up to the producer and light technician. Lights are 70 percent of our clothes.

Kanella Chado: I use Caudalie products to condition the skin before and after each show.

Who inspires the Le Crazy Horse looks?
EG: Our founder, Alain Bernardin, was the creator of the Crazy Horse look. He set out the specific heights and figures of the performers, and the iconic haircuts with a fringe—each girl has her own wig cut on her head by the Crazy Horse wigmaker! We keep this original look for the older numbers, whilst other famous names have added to the image over the years—Paco Rabanne, Karl Lagerfeld, and Azzedine Alaïa have made costumes; Christian Louboutin has made shoes…

How does makeup play into this “look”?
EG: Glamour here is a mix of sexy, sensual, and beauty, and the makeup is an essential part of the Crazy image—especially the sensual red lips.

KC: I mix two different lipsticks: MAC’s Lipstick in Russian Red and 418 Transparent from Make Up For Ever, applied with a brush. I don’t like foundation because it makes my skin suffocate with the sweat—I prefer using Bare Minerals Matte Foundation that I apply with a big brush, and Make Up For Ever’s HD Micro Finish Powder to hold it in place under the lights. Big sexy almond eyes are the other focal point.

EG: The black eyeliner and lashes from Make Up For Ever are essential.

KC: Yes, and I use Rimmel London Volume Flash Scandaleyes Mascara, MAC Eyeshadow in Coppering and Carbon as eyeliner, stretching farther than the outer corners to create that cat-eye look. It takes about 20 minutes in all. When we start, we all have makeup training, so we can take care of ourselves. We’ve got to get it absolutely right.

Le Crazy Horse “Forever Crazy” runs from September 18 to December 22 at London’s South Bank at Doon Street, SE1. Tickets from £35 available at

Photo: Courtesy of Le Crazy Horse



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