The Sixties Strike Again, Backstage At Gucci
Like hemlines on a dress, you can often gauge the feeling of a season by the way Pat McGrath grooms an eyebrow. A bleaching proponent who is just as adept at sculpting full, bushy arches, McGrath is one of the industry’s best arbiters on beauty. So it goes without saying that we arrive backstage at Gucci every season—McGrath’s first big stop on what will be a whirlwind European tour—with high expectations. And they were met today, not because of what she did to brows, but what she didn’t do. “There were enough brows in New York,” the face painter said at Frida Giannini’s Spring show, leaving brows alone and referencing the minimalist, nineties beauty movement that reigned in Manhattan and required clean skin and beefed-up brows. “Let’s move on,” McGrath suggested, building a “strong eye” in contrast. “This is Milan. We’re not going to bore you with no makeup anymore.”
Applying a healthy dose of highlighter to cheekbones for a luxurious, luminous complexion, McGrath layered dark brown eye shadows and pencils across lids and underneath the lower lash line, focusing on an “almond, smoked-out” shape that anchored not one but two sets of false eyelashes. “It’s very Marisa Berenson but a little more natural,” said the woman known for applying upwards of ten lash sets to one model. The reference worked just fine for Luigi Murenu, who added seventies model and muse Maria Schiano to the inspirational mood board.
“It has a kind of sixties/seventies feeling to it—an Eastern, orientalist sophistication,” the coiffeur said of the Kiehl’s Clean Hold Styling Gel-slicked hair that he gathered into a low-slung knot at the nape of models’ necks. To give a sense of “structure and architecture” to the look, Murenu coated color-matched extensions with the same product and flat-ironed them so they resembled wooden panels, which he cut straight across and pinned into the base of the buns using John Frieda Frizz Ease Serum to smooth away errant strands. “Before they go out, they’re going to look like statues,” he surmised of the resulting stark uniformity.