Paris’ Grand Palais is appropriately named. The turn-of-the-20th-century venue is massive, and so are the Chanel shows that take place there every season. The fact that the audience here is perched in stadium-style seating presents an interesting challenge for Peter Philips. “We wanted something that is beautiful close by, but that you can read from a distance,” he explained of the process by which he and Karl Lagerfeld brainstormed a makeup look for Fall. Noticing the metallic threads that were woven into many of the designer’s tweeds, and the twinkling lights demarcating cities in the giant globe that sat at the center of his runway, the idea of using glitter “just came up,” according to Philips, who turned to 3-D eye makeup that utilized “jumbo” silver sparkles as a fairly festive solution to the problem.
It worked. Even from the cheap seats, you could see models’ lids flickering as they circled the world according to Chanel with pieces of sequins affixed close to their lash lines in an elongated shape, and in the lashes themselves. “We actually applied extra glue in the lashes so they get more faceted and catch in the light,” Philips revealed. Keeping skin semi-matte with Chanel Perfection Lumière Long-Wear Flawless Fluid Makeup, dusted with its Poudre Universelle Libre to contrast with the shiny texture on the lids, Philips added a warm flush with Chanel’s forthcoming cream blush, one of six new hues that will launch with corresponding Rouge Coco Shine lip colors this fall—including the transparent, deep berry-rose Instinct that Philips slicked onto mouths today. Nails were painted a similar color with the as-yet-unreleased Le Vernis de Chanel in Elixir. As a finishing touch, Philips drew a long line of its Le Crayon Khôl eye liner in Noir underneath the lower lashes to further ensure models didn’t disappear in the vast space. “It’s a combination between a technical solution and an aesthetic solution,” he said of the graphic element.
Sam McKnight’s “done, but undone” center-parted strands were a reaction to two additional graphic elements. “There are these chokers,” he said, referencing the wealth of necklaces that were placed over the back of models’ hair, creating an indentation. Prepped with Frédéric Fekkai Full Volume Mousse for a slight bit of texture and Magic Move for piecey-ness—”the white one, which is the creamiest one,” McKnight said of the popular sculpting cream—lengths were tucked into overcoats, blazers, and dresses, so all that remained was the illusion of a short-hair silhouette, a shape that was made even more distinct via a series of colored hats shaped like bobbed wigs with blunt bangs. Lagerfeld has always had a soft spot for the kind of short cuts that are making the runway rounds this season, often surrounding himself with cropped, house muses like Saskia de Brauw and Stella Tennant—the latter of whom showed up backstage just in time to get an impromptu trim from McKnight. Talk about a job perk.
Fashion month is a great place for beauty brands to put prototypes in the hands of their artists, to get the kind of professional feedback needed to make any tweaks before products go to market. So far, we’ve seen a few new launches we’re anticipating with more than a little enthusiasm, including Redken’s Diamond Oil Shatterproof Shine, which Guido Palau has frequently relied on to get Fall’s popular shiny, wet finish; Estée Lauder’s dark burgundy Pure Color Vivid Shine Lipstick in Hot Lava that Tom Pecheux debuted at Anthony Vaccarello; and the six new cream blushes—with matching lipsticks!—that Chanel plans on launching this summer (more on that in a bit). But we might be most excited about the MAC Pro Eye Gloss in Black Sea and Mother of Pearl that Val Garland used backstage at Giambattista Valli.
We first spotted the darker color of the buildable, glitter-flecked shine at Roberto Cavalli, where Lucia Pieroni was using it to add a “sexy, punky” feeling to the show’s requisite black smoky eye. Garland came up with a similarly innovative way to employ the multifunctional polish with an impressive glisten. “It’s a bit of nothing, but it’s also everything,” she said of the “cellophane simplicity” she managed to achieve by dipping an acrylic artist’s brush into the flat pot of product and swiping a squared-off strip from the outside of models’ eyes toward their temples and along the cupid’s bow of their lips. “We were actually going to do a red lip here, but it made the collection look ordinary,” she revealed, opting for something extraordinarily subtle instead. “It’s got a good stick on it, so it doesn’t move,” Garland continued of the gloss—which is a good thing to remember if you make a mad dash to procure one when it launches next year: It works best with the kind of “lacquered, no-hair-out-of-place” hair Orlando Pita fashioned for Valli’s presentation.
Phoebe Philo’s Céline show is one of the hottest tickets in Paris—so hot, in fact, getting backstage is a near-impossible task. But not if you’re Dick Page. The Shiseido artistic director of makeup, and longtime Philo collaborator, has been on face-painting duty here for seasons, including Fall 2013, which proved to be a big winner for the designer, thanks in small part to Page’s “natural, healthy, transparent beauty.” Here, Page provides a postcard from the trenches:
“It’s clean and pure. Lightly moisturized skin [with] a wash of foundation where needed to cover any blemishes or redness. I used dark brown concealer to shade around the lash lines—top and bottom—for a naturally shaded effect, and Shiseido’s eyebrow compact brushed through the brows to toughen them up. No mascara. Lips were treated with its Benefiance Lip Balm and muted slightly with a rose-beige camouflage concealer for a very natural lip finish. I did a little color toning on each girl individually, with beige/tawny/brown concealers applied with a fluffy blush brush across the cheeks, the bridge of the nose, and a little around the hairline, depending on the skin tone, leaving freckles and natural shadows [visible] under the eyes. The result? You don’t see makeup. You just see pretty girls in gorgeous clothes.”
There was plenty to lust over at Givenchy. That jacket in look fifteen immediately comes to mind, although we are still thinking about nearly every single aspect of the exceptional forty-eight-piece collection Riccardo Tisci showed for the house—including that hair. “[Riccardo] called me in Milan and said, ‘I want to have a test with you and only you’—it was a test of eight hours,” Luigi Murenu recalls of the process by which he and Tisci, with whom he has worked since the designer started at Givenchy eight years ago, decided on the closely cropped, colorful coifs models wore down the runway. “Usually [the hair] here is very organic. But [Riccardo] wanted to bring the show to another level,” says Murenu. “When I arrived at the studio, the first thing he did was play me all the tracks of Antony and the Johnsons, and he told me, ‘It will be extremely emotional, and I want you to bring something sensitive to the hair.’”
So Murenu obliged Tisci with twenty different ideas that were “masculine but extremely feminine—not androgynous,” and, at Tisci’s request, “looked like there were little roses in the head.” The result was a number of tightly wound pin curls that Murenu and his team saturated with Kiehl’s Clean Hold Styling Gel and applied to every girl, no matter her haircut, completely sans extensions. “We used the length of Saskia [de Brauw] to the length of Isabeli [Fontana]—everybody’s natural hair!” he reveals of the deliberately flat swirls that were meant to have a “Victorian punk” quality, even though there was something seemingly thirties about the almost retro bathing-cap silhouette—those neon faux dye jobs aside. “Originally, it was without color,” Murenu admits of what ultimately became temporary shocks of sky blue, dark blue, orange, fuchsia, red, black, purple, and a light pink that was a real crowd-pleaser. “The girls loved it,” he maintains, pointing out that Natalia Vodianova was quite taken with her bubblegum-tinged locks, which went surprisingly well with Pat McGrath’s glossy red-burgundy-stained eyes and clean skin. She certainly wasn’t the only one: catwalkers like Magdalena Frackowiak and Isabeli Fontana kept their hair totally intact to hit the post-show party circuit. “It was extremely special,” Murenu muses. “We wanted to represent the woman who wants to dream, the people who appreciate the poetry of fashion” (to which we say, thank you).
Black cat-eyes—thin flicks of dark pencil drawn across the upper lash line—are a pretty standard maneuver for makeup artists hoping to incite a feeling of classic glamour. But what if you want to accentuate the lids while steering clear of that feeling entirely? “It’s all about the under eye,” according to Aaron de Mey, who used an elongated uptick of MAC Eye Kohl in Smoulder underneath the lower lash line, inside the water line, and in the root of the lashes to get the reverse effect at Kenzo—or a “punky” vibe, as he put it.
“It’s very futuristic maharaja,” de Mey said of the look, citing references ranging from Stanley Kubrick to India as he topped his hand-scrawled stroke with MAC Eyeshadow in Carbon to intensify the darkness of the pigment and its Fluidline in Blacktrack, which was used on the outer corners only to define the straight shape. “It looks strong, direct, and purposeful,” he continued of the graphic element that contrasted with Humberto Leon and Carol Lim’s incredibly rich, colorful collection—as well as skin that de Mey described as “icy” as he used a blend of its Cream Colour Base in Pearl and its Iridescent Powder in Silver Dusk to create dimension on the high planes of the face. Slicking MAC Gloss Texture across lids for a high-shine finish, de Mey concentrated a small dose of it on the center of mouths as well, which had been made slightly smaller with a finger-pressing of foundation around the edges. “It’s like the girls were sucking on ice,” he explained of the technique—which wasn’t too hard to imagine, considering the subarctic chill backstage at La Samaritaine.
“There’s a lot going on,” Anthony Turner confirmed of the bounty of prints and patterns in the clothes, not to mention the large enameled Delfina Delettrez Fendi-designed earrings that dangled from models’ ears. “We wanted to make sure we brought the girls back into the young Kenzo world,” he elaborated of the “cool, downtown, nonchalant” hair he fashioned by coating strands with Moroccanoil Curl Defining Mousse, drying them with his fingers, and then carving out messy side parts. “I was inspired by skater boys—you know, how they put too much product in their hair,” he continued, slathering lengths with its Intense Curl Cream before tucking them behind the ears and simulating a soft, piece-y frizz around the hairline and the crown, so the style felt more organic. “I live in New York,” Turner declared. “I know what this looks like.”