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Summer Down Under: The Top Ten Beauty Looks from Fashion Week Australia


Photo: Clockwise from top left, Getty Images at Michael Lo Sordo; Getty Images at Lisa Ho; Getty Images at Shakuhachi; Getty Images at Watson X Watson; Xiaohan Shen at We Are Handsome

Considering the endless spells of dry heat, Australian summers typically beget beauty routines that mainly consist of sunblock and lashings of waterproof mascara; it’s no surprise, then, that fashion week Australia always runs the risk of favoring a “no makeup” makeup look over more complex trends. What we saw this week was anything but, however, thanks to a thriving creative spirit and the imported face-painting stylings of British makeup maverick Val Garland. “What I love about Australians is that they have no fear and are willing to give it a go. They’re very enthusiastic, and you feel like everyone is so happy to be here,” said Garland, who made a surprise cameo at the shows this season. Here, we round up the ten best backstage moments from the week that was.

Lisa Ho
Lisa Ho’s woman never lacks sensuality, and Val Garland gave it to her in spades, courtesy of a dark, lacquered lip—”Like an oil slick,” she said of the precise texture—and gloriously glossy skin. Bodies were given that quintessential Bondi glow with the cult-favorite gradual tanning product Summer by Beauty Department, while ghd hair director and session stylist Alan White added “a power element” to strands via a segmented hair parting and a dual texture that was accented with tinted extensions in midnight blue. By cutting the extensions two inches beneath models’ own hair, White aimed to “create chicness, not a color statement,” he explained.

Watson x Watson
If you were in the market for a true-blue Aussie beach experience, you didn’t need to look any further than Watson x Watson, Somer and Liberty Watson’s young upstart line. “It’s when you go to the beach and your hair soaks up the elements like salt and it grows in texture,” Redken hair director Philip Barwick explained of the saturated strands that were pulled back into a half-up bun. “The shape comes from when you get out of the water and brush it off your face and the ends of the hair are blown out and windy.” The makeup here was similarly summery, inspired by the pink zinc that was a popular staple for eighties-era teen queens. To prevent the look from becoming too juvenile, Maybelline artists added a touch of glamour via bronzed contours and a clean base.

We Are Handsome
“[It] references the relationship that Guy Bourdin and Charles Jourdan had,” stylist Jolyon Mason explained of the direction for the swimwear label’s presentation, which manifested itself into a preference for the photographer’s beloved jewel-toned smoky eyes, high-blush contours, and shiny red lips. Fluffy seventies disco hair and tanned limbs, courtesy of St. Tropez, rounded out the homage, which got a small dose of the here and now via crazy and colorful nail decals from Rock Beauty London.

Michael Lo Sordo
Michael Lo Sordo loves geometry. The designer (who was recently nominated as a finalist for the Australian Woolmark Prize) kept his hair-and-makeup look sleek, simple, and contoured for Spring but asked his face-painting team to add a few, er, points of interest: blue triangles were painted onto models’ temples to serve as “futuristic beauty spots,” rather than architectural cat-eyes, as was the case when a similar technique was employed backstage at Erdem for Fall 2012.

At first glance, the beauty look at Shakuhachi was a little Givenchy Spring 2012, but makeup artist Natasha Severino’s references had nothing to do with the underwater theme Riccardo Tisci honed three seasons ago. “My brief was ‘techno chic,’ ” she explained backstage. “There were a lot of metallics and prints in the collection, and the silhouettes were almost raver. We wanted something to offset the metallic fabrics and shoes, so we decided to go with a white pigment powder overlaid with a glitter.” To add a touch of “glitz,” Severino stuck a single Swarovski Crystal underneath the lower lash line to provide an “extra ping” as models walked down the runway.

Photo: Clockwise from top left, Xiaohan Shen at Romance Was Born; Xiaohan Shen at Ellery; Getty Images at Easton Pearson; Getty Images at Maticevski; Getty Images at Alice McCall

Romance Was Born
“This is my kind of gig,” Val Garland said of the pastel explosion that occurred backstage at the most anticipated show of the season. “Having worked with the likes of John [Galliano], Lee [McQueen] and Vivienne [Westwood], when you can get the chance to do these kinds of things, it’s great,” she continued. “These kinds of things” included extravagant anime-style hand-painted doll lashes and hyper-color lids and blush, as well as ghd hair director Alan White’s bright bowl cuts that were heavily influenced by Vidal Sassoon’s original Five-Point haircut and asymmetrical bobs. “Color is here to stay,” he insisted.

Ellery brought the “cool” to fashion week, advocating an anti-hairdo, anti-makeup, and fuss-free attitude that managed to be completely flawless. Toni&Guy hair specialists gave models disheveled center parts, while Napoleon Perdis’ team slicked on white eyelids and nude lips, which were worn particularly well by the trio of top models that turned up at this show: Julia Nobis, Ruby Jean Wilson, and wild child Hanne Gaby Odiele were all present and accounted for.

Easton Pearson
Tippi Hedren in Hitchcock’s The Birds got a futuristic fifties spin this season at Easton Pearson. “I decided on the colors for the models’ hair depending on their faces,” Cloud Nine hair ambassador Renya Xydis explained of the bright streaks she placed into towering French twists. “For example, if the girl’s look was too sweet, then I’d toughen her up with a blue.” To create the gravity-defying style, Xydis loaded hair with “at least a quarter of a bottle of sea-salt spray,” she revealed, before setting strands with Cloud Nine’s The O Rollers, and then teasing them into shape.

Alice McCall
Alice McCall asked her glam squad to look to the ocean for her show’s hair-and-makeup look, which meant “opalescent, metallic-like” skin that Natasha Severino created by layering five different moisturizing and shine products together before turning her attention to clumpy aqua-blue lashes that were meant to look like “pieces of coral.” Ghd hair director Sophie Roberts created slick, wet-looking side-parted strands and tied them into a low-slung ponytail with irregular twists and knots as a complement.

One of the most breathtaking beauty looks of the week was at Maticevski, which is unsurprising given that the inspiration was “Grace Kelly as a geisha.” Ghd hair director Jayne Wild gave strands a polished fifties texture, but instead of opting for classic waves, she pulled them back into two ponytails and created a square-shaped chignon that resembled the obi belt fold of a kimono. Napoleon Perdis also channeled the late Princess of Monaco by dusting skin with classic pastel contours in light pink and lilac and adding a touch of kitsch via star-shaped beauty marks.



  1. bpicky says:

    Really great wrap up. Australian make up artists are killing it!

Backstage Reviews