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July 30 2014

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Untouched Beauty, Backstage at Prabal Gurung

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prabal-beautyThe inspiration for Prabal Gurung’s collection started in Mustang, a “secluded kingdom” high in the Himalayas in Nepal where the designer went trekking during a visit home. “What I really loved about the whole place was the incredible colors and incredible way of dressing—it’s almost like sportswear, because they have to layer everything,” he explained. The spirit of Gurung’s woman, however, remains the same season after season, no matter where his travels take him: “It’s a femininity with bite,” he said. For Fall 2014 he moved away from the formaldehyde-dipped strands and neo-pastel pouts created for Spring, and opted for “great skin,” “beautiful hair,” and “tactile clothes.” That element of strength key to his aesthetic comes courtesy of “natural femininity and natural beauty.”

Makeup artist Diane Kendal kept with the spirit of the clothes by using MAC Cosmetics Face and Body foundation to even models complexions, forgoing powder to create a dewy finish. Just the apples were flushed with a ruddy-colored cream blush, and Pro Sculpting Cream in Accentuate was dabbed along the tops of the cheekbones and across the center of the lids to highlight. Eye Kohl in Fascinating (a white pencil) was used on the lower waterlines to brighten, while Pro Sculpting Cream in Coffee Walnut was used to contour the crease and hollows of the cheeks. Brows were brushed up, filled in with a corresponding shadow (like Omega, Bark, or Concrete) and set with wax for a “bushy” finish. To tone down any redness in the lips, Kendal applied a touch of foundation to models’ mouths.

Manicurist Jin Soon also focused on simplicity, using two of the three forthcoming Sally Hansen nail lacquers in the designer’s limited-edition polish line out in September: Himalaya (a nude) and Rupee Red (a bold burgundy). The majority of girls received clean, sand-colored paint jobs, while five had a straight, vertical line drawn down the pointer, middle, and ring fingers.

Directing my attention to the designer’s mood board at the hair and makeup test, mane master Paul Halon pointed out a photo of a Nepalese woman with straight, glossy, center-parted strands—his jumping off point for the style. To re-create it for the modern, urban consumer, he used Chi Volume Booster at the roots “to give hair guts” and applied Silk Infusion to the ends before blowing everything straight with a round brush. For movement, he pulled the length up into a loose bun, spritzed it with Infra Texture Hair Spray, heated the makeshift knot using a diffuser, and finally blasted it with a shot of cold air. “When you undo it you get a little kink, but I don’t want to use a tong because it [starts to] look cosmetic very quickly,” he said. The hair was then topped off with a silver chokerlike necklace designed by Gurung, or pulled back into a low ponytail with a black band. “When they walk, it’s very light, very airy,” he said of the final result—almost like a brisk mountain breeze was blowing down the catwalk.

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