“It’s a mouth in full bloom,” Pat McGrath told our man on the ground in Monaco this weekend backstage at Christian Dior’s Cruise show. “It’s more intensely pink,” the makeup artist said, referring to the bold fuchsia color she revived for Resort following Fall’s blurred-around-the-edges iteration of the same color. Looking for a “lightness of skin” and, more specifically, a “lightness of eye—lighter than the ready-to-wear [show]“—McGrath diffused a pearly white, shimmering pewter shadow from the inner corners of the eyes toward the temples, rather than return to the precise liquid chrome pen she preferred back in March. “Raf [Simons] said he wanted to ‘feel the girl’—really see her beauty,” she continued, keeping brows groomed and skin slightly sporty with highlights on the cheekbones.
In an effort to keep things from becoming too “over-referenced,” Guido Palau went with the “sophisticated simplicity” of a slicked-down, center-parted ponytail gathered low at the nape of the neck. “There was a future thought,” he admitted, explaining that Simons did mention the 1997 sci-fi flick Gattaca, but without the theatrical undertones. A damp, piece-y texture through the lengths ensured that strands registered as undeniably modern.
Peter Philips has said it before, and he all but screamed it on Chanel’s Cruise runway in Singapore yesterday: Karl Lagerfeld loves an eye. In fact, backstage-beauty watchers will have to look all the way back to the house’s Fall 2010 Couture show to find evidence of the last time Lagerfeld ordered up a statement lip—which might be why Philips is in his comfort zone when it comes to lids; no matter how many times he reimagines them, they never fail to impress.
For Resort, the makeup artist’s handiwork was even more noteworthy than usual, considering the hot and humid conditions of the Southeast Asian summer—and because rather than expand the definition of the word makeup with pieces of tulle, lace, jumbo glitter, and rhinestones, as has become his signature, Philips used plain old pens and pencils, to no less impactful an effect. “We combined an exaggerated graphic black eyeliner on the eyelid, with an electric-blue kohl underliner,” he explained drawing a thick black flick through the crease of the eye with Chanel’s Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner in Noir Intense before using the same crayon in True Blue to create an equally elongated stroke beneath the lower lash line. “I also used lots of black mascara on the top lashes and applied a gently enhanced eyebrow,” the face painter continued, swiping on multiple coats of its Inimitable Waterproof Mascara in Noir. Skin was kept luminous with a touch of Chanel Joues Contraste Blush in Frivole, a warm peach, its Éclat Lumière Highlighter Face Pen, and some expert contouring courtesy of Chanel Les Beiges, an inventive array of sculpting powders that debuts next month. To not distract the attention from the eyes, which were dusted by Sam McKnight’s side-swept faux fringes—the ends of precisely pinned French twists that had been carefully arranged over the forehead—mouths were kept bare, albeit moisturized. “We kept the lips natural, only using [Rouge Coco Baume] lip balm,” Philips elaborated. He did allow for a little distraction on the nails, though, which peeked out of a series of fingerless gloves to reveal two glimmering coats of the cult-favorite Le Vernis de Chanel in Black Satin.
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’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.
By the time the fashion pack arrives at Miu Miu, the unofficial finish line of a marathon month of shows, exhaustion and a certain degree of elation set in—the latter of which was enhanced by Miuccia Prada’s fun, colorful collection yesterday. Equally inspired were the adorable pigtail knots Guido Palau delivered backstage. “The coats are very heavy and very stylistic, and Miuccia wanted a ‘small head,’ ” Palau said, using the industry term for sleek, close-to-the-scalp coifs, reimagined here with two “little bunches” secured below models’ ears. Prepping hair with Redken Hardwear 16 Super Strong Gel for a “very shiny” finish, Palau carved out deep side parts and separated strands into two sections, which he tightly braided and secured into little balls above the nape of the neck. “It’s very cute,” he concluded. And how.
“The braid is part of the language of the beauty here,” Guido Palau said backstage at Valentino—a language, it should be noted, that has garnered almost as much attention as Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli’s gorgeous collections for this house. (Red-carpet watchers will fondly remember the plaited coronets Palau constructed four seasons ago that made a seamless—and well-documented—transition off the runway.) “They really understand what women want with beauty,” Palau continued, explaining the design duo’s low-on-product, high-on-accessibility aesthetic—the “I could look like that” factor that comes with the soft, pure, innocent styles they so often request.
For Fall, Palau prepped strands with Redken’s Satinwear 02 Ultimate Blow-Dry Lotion before devising a center part and weaving a simple three-section braid through extended lengths that were slung over models’ left shoulders. Referencing Flemish painters, as well as nodding to the seventies and Victoriana, he fastened a thick black leather band around the head and over the ears for a “monastic” touch.
Pat McGrath worked off Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring portrait that the designers showed her for inspiration, focusing her attention on creating “a softness but a realness” to the face. “There’s always a certain level of color here,” she pointed out, going through a greatest-hits backlog of her work for Chiuri and Piccioli, which has included exquisite lavender and gray contours in the past. This season, although nails were lacquered with two glossy coats of cherry-red polish, McGrath was working with peach, rose, and beige hues that she traced through the crease of eyes, swiped across cheeks, and blotted onto lips, often layering with foundation to “tone everything down.” Powdering complexions to give them the matte, velvety, “put-together” finish we’ve seen so much of this week, McGrath added brown mascara just at the roots of lashes for subtle definition.