True Grit, Backstage at Rick Owens
All season long makeup artists and hairstylists have been riffing on “real girl” beauty backstage—leaving strands and complexions purposely au naturel so that the consumer can more easily imagine herself wearing the clothes. But at the end of the day, as Tom Pecheux put it at Balmain, supermodels are still supermodels—and the rest of us are just “real.” But the unlikely lineup of forty step dancers from Washington, D.C., and New York City-based crews (Momentum, Soul Steps, Zetas, Washington Divas) at Rick Owens was an exuberant celebration of authenticity. “The whole point was to make them look and feel pretty,” said Owens. “If a girl didn’t feel comfortable with something, we didn’t do it—we wanted them to feel powerful.”
To emphasize their dynamic movements, hair pro Luigi Murenu designed four different styles. The first being a fluffy texture that he aptly dubbed “dandelion heads,” created by straightening strands, “biting” them with a crimping iron, and brushing out the kinks with a Mason Pearson to get a “cotton candy-like” finish that flew with each aggressive stomp. The other three included a slicked-back chignon (which he formed using Kérastase Vinyle Nutri-Sculpt and hair spray, sometimes fitting the dancer with a “nunlike” veil), stick-straight hair with center parts, and low, sleek ponytails.
“What they’re doing is so ‘wow’ that it’s about them and the clothes—it’s not really about this bit,” face painter Lucia Pieroni said of the “fresh” makeup. “There’s no particular thing on everybody,” she added. Pieroni used a light layer of foundation and concealer, filled in arches where needed, and moisturized lips with a clear balm—tailoring the look to each dancer. The end result, although stripped down, relayed an important message: When individuality is this spectacular, why attempt to conform?