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April 20 2014

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New Faces, Same Girl, Backstage At Isabel Marant

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Isabel Marant is a favorite stop on our Paris tour, as much for the clothes as for the hair and makeup. With a casting like the one the reigning queen of Parisian cool typically commands—which this season garnered perennial French favorites like Aymeline Valade and Julia Frauche, as well as an international coterie of catwalkers cut from the same cloth, like Nadja Bender, Kasia Struss, and Caroline Brasch Nielsen—very little is needed to ensure that models are runway-ready. But it’s that deliberate, light-handed approach that is so impressive. For Fall, the face-painting reins were handed over to Estée Lauder creative makeup director Tom Pecheux, who knows a thing or two about channeling that special brand of effortless, French chic. “I’ve known [Marant] for a long time; I do a lot of her campaigns, and it’s a really good connection between Isabel and me—and me and Estée Lauder,” he explained, shouting out the beauty giant that picked up sponsorship duties here for the first time.

To ensure that skin looked flawless “but not too made-up,” Pecheux focused most of his energy on a pre-makeup facial treatment. “The massage takes 25 minutes, the makeup takes five minutes,” he joked, creating small, circular motions with a mixture of Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex and Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher, as well as an emollient layer of its Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Creme on top. If needed, Pecheux applied a minimal coverage of its Double Wear Light Stay-in-Place Makeup before giving everyone a subtle dusting of its Lucidity Translucent Loose Powder in Transparent for a “matte satin” finish. Working on a “friendly, not aggressive” contour, Pecheux used a mixture of Lauder’s Pure Color Blush in Sensuous Rose and Blushing Nude to sculpt the face with peachy hues, instead of sharper taupes and browns, before “flattening” eyes with a swipe of the light beige shade in its Pure Color EyeShadow Duo in Vanilla Pods. To lift lids back up again, he scrawled a barely perceptible stroke of shimmering gray shadow from its forthcoming Pure Color Instant Intense EyeShadow Trio in Smoked Chrome right onto the lash line to catch the light as models walked. “We’re doing everything but mascara,” he laughed, curling lashes and slicking on a nude lip while beefing up arches with Lauder’s Artist’s Brow Pencil/Double Groomer. “In France, you think of the eyebrows,” Pecheux elaborated of the face-framing touch. “It’s [our] version of the British rose [complexion].”

Paul Hanlon became another newly christened member of team Marant after shooting with the photographer David Sims on the set of Marant’s Spring ad campaign in Saint-Tropez. “I’m a big fan of her,” Hanlon said with genuine enthusiasm. “Every girl who sits in my chair says she wants to wear the clothes, which is a refreshing environment to be in.” Trying to work a bit of consistency back into the fold, Hanlon gave everyone extensions, not to lengthen but to thicken the hair, before applying Frédéric Fekkai Full Volume Mousse to add a subtle texture. “[Marant] wanted the hair to look more conditioned than it has,” Hanlon said, layering in its Silky Straight Ironless Smooth Finish Serum. “Like a young Carla Bruni or Jane Birkin—not so rock ‘n’ roll,” he explained of the barely perceptible shift in focus. Fashioning loosely centered parts, Hanlon proceeded to run lengths through a curling iron, just once, to create a very soft wave that he spritzed with a bit of water and shook out to “lighten the richness.” The Isabel Marant girl isn’t interested in a just-out-of-the-salon set, after all.

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