“It’s Ophelia,” said makeup pro Pat McGrath of the “serenely beautiful, ethereal girls” at Valentino. The overall effect was centered on pale, highlighted skin and deft contouring. McGrath used light gray shades around the eyes and a white hue on the lids, sweeping brown mascara through lashes as a finishing touch. A tiny bit of concealer to perfect complexions, a dash of lip balm, and it was done. “It’s about sculpting with light and shade,” she noted.
To make hair appear wet, Guido Palau misted Redken Shine Flash all over before crafting waves with a series of clips—ultimately leaving strands down save for a small section twisted around the length like a loose ponytail holder. (We suggest you steal this move straight off the runway and whip it out next time you find yourself missing an elastic or simply want to pull back curls without creating a dent.) “The beauty of the Valentino woman is very well defined: She’s always very serene and feminine,” Palau explained of the finished package.
Backstage before Armani Privé, makeup artist Linda Cantello explained how she worked the show’s black and white theme into the maquillage. “We were really going for a modern-couture look, so a red lip didn’t really work and neither did classic eyeliner.” Instead, she paled models’ complexions by adding a few drops of Maestro Zero (on counters in November) to their normal foundation shade and accented lids and cheekbones with a highlighter from the Orient Excess collection (out for the holidays). Next, the pro reached for the house’s new star product, Eye & Brow Maestro in Jet, and smudged the pigment around the eyes and past the outer corners before straightening the brows with the same formula in a tone closer to each catwalker’s hair color. The final flourish was Black Ecstasy, a mascara with a wet finish that is set to launch this September. “She’s a woman of mystery, but couture makeup is becoming much more simple and accessible,” she explained. “It’s real, but it’s more.”
Working with L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni Art Hot Style Constructor, hair guru Peter Gray crafted an “almost DIY,” not-too-perfect twist high at the back of the head. The finished look was soft, with sweeping fringe and a hint of a bouffant as a nod to the sixties. “Whatever we were going to do, Mr. Armani wanted it to feel young and fresh,” he noted. “The actual style was a process of iteration, tweaking until we got it right—a bit like a tailor would fit a piece of clothing.”
Baseball hats have become the accessory du jour for many celebs and street-style stars looking to make a statement (or perhaps camouflage a less-than-camera-worthy hair day). And at Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld put his own couture spin on the backwards cap (with a little help from Maison Michel), which backstage guru Sam McKnight perched low over a flat chignon and offset with an “eighties boy band, New Wave, spiky quiff.”
To achieve this voluminous pompadour, McKnight and his team crafted more than fifty hairpieces—washing them with dish soap to lend a “dry, malleable texture” before styling. Next, he worked L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni Art Full Volume Mousse through strands, blew them dry, and topped off the finished product with a combo of Bumble and Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish and Batiste dry shampoo. After slicking models’ natural hair into a tight bun near the nape of the neck, pinning the faux piece into place, and teasing, McKnight set the style with Sebastian Re-Shaper hairspray. Honestly, what eighties-inspired look would be complete without some strategic backcombing and a liberal dose of shellac?
To see a series of iconic looks McKnight has created for the storied French house, watch the video below:
Peter Philips spent his whole weekend single-handedly cutting seventy pairs of silver adhesive eyeliner that he used on the Dior Couture runway. And just hours before the show began, he received word that the house had worked out a way to produce them. (Look for them on-counter around the holidays.) “The collection explored contradictions, so we wanted to keep it pretty and pure. I just wanted to add one element that was highly contrasting and artificial,” he explained. Metallic liner emerged as the ideal counterpoint to the mirror-and-orchid set. Philips calls it the “empty eye”—meaning no mascara—bolstered by a little white kohl to fade out the lower lashes and a sweep of yellow and white shadows from the forthcoming Candy Choc palette under well-groomed brows. To even out the base, Philips reached for Dior’s new Star Foundation (for drier complexions, he used Capture), followed by a combo of Dior Blush in Rose Corolle and Starlight on the cheekbones (available internationally in October), and polished off pouts with Rouge Dior lipstick in Trompe L’Oeil (a peachy nude). Nails, too, were kept short, neat, and nude, with one coat of gel polish in Muguet followed by a layer of Dior Glow. “She looks like a fragile flower but with historical and futuristic crosscurrents,” he said. “When she moves, she catches the light.”
For hair, the look was natural and unforced. “It’s fresh and modern without reference to any past,” noted Guido Palau backstage. “Raf Simons’ Dior woman has put her clothes on and [needn't] over-bother with her hair.” Palau employed Redken Pillow Proof dry shampoo for texture, added a few extensions, and let the parts fall where they may. “We’re entering a transitional time in beauty where things seem to be much simpler. Women can’t complain anymore that they can’t do it,” he noted, adding with a smile, “which means there are no excuses anymore!”
“Donatella said she wanted to do something different,” explained face painter Pat McGrath. “She wanted couture-modern, but also something graphic, aerodynamic, and fun.” McGrath realized this vision via a thick, two-toned wing in peacock teal. To provide dimension, she applied a lighter shade to the center of the lid and swept a darker hue up toward the temple. A delicate veil of shimmer powder, faux fringe, and “tons of mascara on top lashes only” completed the eyes. The rest of the face remained neutral: Groomed brows, light contouring on perfect skin, and a pale lip balanced out the dramatic shadow. Ditto for nails, which were “natural pale” but ultra-shiny.
The hair was high-gloss, too. “This chignon is very un-Donatella,” conceded hair guru Guido Palau. To lend topknots edge and structure, the pro employed Redken Hardwear gel to shape models’ strands. He then moved the classic style closer to punk territory by using Forceful 23 hairspray and ironing the bottom few inches into a geisha-style flourish. Stella Tennant stood out and received a customized look sans extensions. “Along with the makeup, it’s very rock ‘n’ roll,” noted Palau. “This is a strong woman.”