Nail Bling, Brows, and Grace Jones, Backstage At Chanel Couture
Few fashion-show teams work the way Karl Lagerfeld, Sam McKnight, and Peter Philips do; like the designs in Lagerfeld’s Chanel Couture collections, the accompanying hair and makeup looks also come directly from his sketches. “Literally he [draws] with makeup,” Philips said of Lagerfeld’s proclivity to pick up lip pencils and powders instead of pens and crayons, which is where the precise idea for the beautifully faded Chanel Joues Contraste Blush in Plum Attraction that Philips applied along the temples, and on the very tops of models’ cheekbones, came from. “[Karl] also made a really strong eyebrow,” according to Philips, so the makeup artist followed suit crafting a “smoky brow,” rather than a smoky eye, diffusing the darker brown shades from Chanel’s forthcoming Les 4 Ombres eye shadow quad in Mystere through arches to keep them thick and sculpted. “It looks a bit futuristic with the set and the theme of the show,” Philips continued, describing the impressive build-out inside the Grand Palais as a “destroyed movie theater with elements of sci-fi.” A thin stroke of Chanel’s Le Crayon Khol in Noir along the outer corner of the upper lash line and a light dusting of the pale gold shade from the same eye palette across lids ensured that even guests in the makeshift auditorium’s cheap seats could catch a glimpse of Philips’ handiwork.
What may have been less obvious from the old-timey wooden chairs that were carefully assembled in the show space was the lack of a noticeable nail color on models’ fingertips, a detail that has become something of a Philips signature over the years. In its place was a newfangled approach to nail art in the form of rings that clipped around the actual nail bed and along each knuckle on models’ fingers.
Sam McKnight was working with his own bit of bling—or “back bands” as he referred to the crystal-encrusted demi-lunes that sat above long ponytails treated with Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Hairspray for a hint of definition after all the kinks had been worked out with ghd’s Eclipse straightener. “It’s a Grace Jones flat-top,” McKnight said of the front half of the dual-sectioned updo, which in some cases was accessorized with a square silhouetted hat, and boasted hints of 1950s rockabilly and eighteenth-century masculine quiffs, “with a huge element of Karl in there as well,” McKnight insisted. Using just models’ natural hair—no extensions—and “quite a lot” of Pantene Touchable Hairspray, the coiffeur admitted that he had chosen the labor-intensive path. ”Wigs are easy; this is very difficult.”