April 21 2014

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Taking It Easy, Backstage at Chloé


chloe“If someone looks like they put too much effort in, it’s almost not cool,” said hairstylist James Pecis—that’s especially true if you’re the Chloé woman. “Soft,” “fresh,” and “easy” are just a few of the key words both he and makeup artist Diane Kendal used to describe the brand’s DNA and its aesthetic. For Pecis, that meant forming a side part just above the inner corner of the eye, pulling the right side back and tying it at the nape with a piece of elastic to give the impression of an asymmetrical cut. Texture was created via L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni Art Volume Lift Spray-Mousse, which was applied from roots to ends and blown dry. Sections were then wound loosely around a curling iron for a bit of bend and finished off with Wild Stylers Next Day Hair, a formula that works similarly to a dry shampoo. While the end result appeared quite simple, there was an underlying precision. “All of the parts are made on the right and the hair [swooped over] to the left,” Pecis explained. “It’s very specific, because when the models turn the first corner on the runway, the wind catches in their hair. We have to make sure it opens it up so the cameras can get each girl’s picture.”

This season Kendal reached for a hue well outside the beige family. “Clare [Waight Keller] was saying she really wanted to incorporate violet,” the face painter noted of her discussion with the creative director. Of course, this was no in-your-face purple eye, but an iridescent lilac shade created with a mushroom-colored “greasepaint” and MAC Eye Shadow in Beautiful Iris. For a smoky effect, Kendal used a taupe sculpting cream in the “banana” of the lid and underneath the lower lashes, pulling it out into a subtle feline shape. Next, a gray-blue shimmer pencil was run across the waterline for a brightening effect. Similar to the airy chiffon dresses or cozy, oversize coats (one of which was worn by none other than Sasha Pivovarova) in the collection, the pastel palette employed on the eyes was fiercely feminine.

Photo: Sonny Vandevelde/

Twin Peaks Meets Blue Velvet, Backstage at Kenzo


kenzo“We’re taking a classic look and twisting it—a bit like a David Lynch film,” explained mane master Anthony Turner. Inspired by the collaboration between the designers (Carol Lim and Humberto Leon) and the famed director on the sculptural set and music for today’s show, the backstage pro crafted a “Twin Peaks ponytail.” After making a strong center part and securing the hair at the back of the head, he wrapped the band with extensions and “hacked off” the ends with scissors or “men’s clippers,” forming a blunt, severe line. To cancel any flyaways, L’Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil was smoothed on top.

Another Lynch film, Blue Velvet, obviously served as a reference for face painter Aaron de Mey. He used MAC Chromaline in Marine Ultra on the upper rims, a shade he described as “Yves Klein blue.” His reason for selecting such a vibrant hue: “The [runway] is dark and tough, so this gives it an elevation and illumination.” As for the “fifties” wing shape, it was reminiscent of Sherilyn Fenn’s signature cat-eye in the aforementioned nineties series, de Mey explained. The finishing touch that channeled the cinematic theme were models’ flocked navy nails, whose fuzzy texture and color recalled—what else?—Isabella Rossellini’s crushed velvet robe.


The Three-Step Braid Makes a Second Appearance, Backstage at Viktor & Rolf


viktorandrolfThe “one, two, three” braid—it’s a plait hair pro Luigi Murenu has been making a case for this season. We saw a similar look at Emilio Pucci, but here he lost the elastic in favor of a more disheveled, “last moment feeling.” To achieve the dry texture, he worked Kérastase Mousse Bouffante through strands before blowing them dry and employing a curling iron for texture. Then he divided the length into three sections and wove them loosely together near the nape, finishing with a generous amount of hairspray to ensure plenty of hold. Forgoing the band was a feat in and of itself, and the finished product perfectly complemented the designers’ more accessible offerings.

Pat McGrath kept the makeup equally as attainable. Aside from beautiful skin, a slight flush, and “rich” brows, only a gray-brown shadow was washed around the eyes. “It looks like the street in there,” she said of the show space located in the Jardin des Tuileries. “The girls should just look like they are simply walking down the street.”


High-Strung Brows, Backstage at Haider Ackermann


haider-ackermann“Simplistically complicated” was the oxymoron Eugene Souleiman used to describe the sleek, sculptural heads at Haider Ackermann. “We’re looking at hair as a medium and a fabric, not a hairstyle.” A wig wrap was crafted before a black cap was slipped over top. Next, three black hair bands were interspersed with three ultrasmooth hair extensions glued on from various directions. The end result—”Constantin Brancusi meets Greta Garbo”—wasn’t necessarily where Souleiman started. “I’ve done four fittings for this show. When the collection changes, I change—and I changed at two this morning,” he explained just a few hours later, coffee in hand.

“Everything in this collection is quite big and can be interpreted as slightly heavy, and I don’t want the beauty to feel that way.” This was the brief face painter Yadim received from Ackermann. The ultimate solution: “brows that feel as if they are being lifted by tape.” The makeup artist borrowed bolts of taupe and black elastic string from Souleiman to craft quite expressive arches. It was one of the first elements he noticed upon looking at reference pictures of “eccentric society women somewhere in the realm of Diana Vreeland” with the designer. “They all had these smug brows,” he noted. “Cold” skin served as the backdrop for this defining feature, which involved taking both lighter and darker complexions to extremes. “Haider was obsessed with the girls looking pale,” he noted, which was done using MAC Face and Body Foundation in 1 and 2. On the flip side, girls with darker skin tones had their complexions deepened with Studio Finish Skin Corrector in a chocolate shade tinged with blue—similar to “Alek Wek shot by Herb Ritts in the nineties, or Grace Jones.”


French Filles, Backstage at Isabel Marant


isabel-marant“She likes really good skin,” said Lisa Butler of Isabel Marant’s makeup vision. “That’s where we’ve been spending our time—making sure it is absolutely flawless, but without looking really made up.” After prepping complexions with Shu Uemura DepSea Hydrability Intense Moisturizing Concentrate, Bobbi Brown full-coverage foundation was dabbed only where needed to ensure models’ faces still had “dimension.” Butler skipped contouring and mascara, but created a highlight on the eyes without piling on products. A “blob” of & Other Stories Face Contour Cream (a shimmery taupe shade) was applied to the inner and outer corners, then joined in the crease—leaving the center of the lid bare. A shadow in the same tone was dusted over the top to set. MAC Paint Pot in Antique Diamond was dotted along the bottom lashes with fingers for “twinkle.” For brows that were “thick and bushy” without being “dark and heavy,” Butler combed Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel in Auburn or Blonde through arches. Because the clothes were “quite strong and dark,” a berry hue was rubbed into the middle of the lips to make models look “pretty, not harsh.”

“She’s undone rather than overdone,” Sam McKnight explained of the always chic Marant woman. It’s a story we’ve heard before, but it never gets old. Show me a girl who doesn’t want to be “natural, sexy, and French” and I’ll show you a liar. The hair pro achieved this coveted cool-girl vibe by blow-drying strands using L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni Art Mousse, adding a slight bend with a curling iron for movement, and misting Bumble and Bumble Dryspun Finish throughout for texture. This style may be inspired by Parisians, but I’m taking it back to New York (along with those polar vortex-worthy fur boots that came down the catwalk).

Photo: Sonny Vandevelde;