“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).
Gone was the “precious” beauty of seasons past, and in her place was the urban, working woman (the Dior version, at least), summarized Guido Palau. Channeling the theme, the hair was all business. First, it was blown smooth with Redken Satin Wear 02, then the area from forehead to crown was shellacked with Forceful 23 hairspray in order to mold the strands tight to the head. “It’s a sculptural look, but the hair will move on the runway,” he said.
“This is a woman of today; she’s in the real world,” noted makeup guru Pat McGrath of the “street and slightly masculine” muse. The striking eyes were crafted using theatrical latex paint in cerulean blue and earthy khaki green—a material artists rarely employ because it requires impeccable timing to layer products over top. After “playing from 9 p.m. to midnight” at the test the day before, McGrath had the process down to a science: The graphic shape (“not a wing—we’re moving away from that,” she noted) was sketched on with a pencil, filled in with the paint, then a pigment in a similar tone was gently pressed into it. “Gradually, the latex swallows the pigment so you get this ultra-glassy feel—like a mirror,” she explained. In addition to colored mascara that matched the shade swathed across lids, the finishing touch was a sprinkling of glitter that reflected greenish gold or blue tinged with lavender. (For formulas that are less temperamental, we like Dior’s forthcoming 5 Couleurs shadow palette in Carré Bleu or Jardin. Or add a hint of office-friendly sheen with the Skinflash Radiance Booster Pen on the high points of the face.)
Between McGrath’s sparkly eyes and the slashes of vivid color seen on the catwalk, I don’t think the Dior customer could ever come down with a case of the Monday blues.
“She spends more time on her art than her hair,” backstage pro James Pecis said of the Dada-collecting intellectual who inspired the look. The forties influence seen in the clothes was reflected by way of a single marcel wave—created by bending a section at eye level around the barrel of a curling iron. L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni Art Super Dust was used throughout for “traction” (the under-layers were stitched down using a large upholstery needle and elastic string), and mousse was pressed in at the crown to cancel any flyaways. The finished look was “forties grunge,” Pecis explained.
In contrast to the roughed-up strands, the brows were shiny and pristine. Makeup artist Nina Haverkamp painted a transparent Kryolan gel onto arches before topping it with clear lip gloss. Cheekbones were lightly coated with Rosebud Salve, and lids were washed with a shimmery taupe to mimic the color that often appears due to lack of sleep. Trust me, I don’t need eyeshadow to re-create that.
“The girls look like a pen-and-ink sketch,” Pat McGrath said of the painterly onyx liner and blunt lashes on view at Lanvin. She applied a black cream formula with a brush, smudging it along the upper rim. In contrast, the lashes were cut clean and square. The theme of the maquillage was “not being afraid to play,” she explained. “The whole idea of the eye and the lash is about being brave and strong.” And this major lid statement didn’t get lost beneath the bevy of hats in the collection. “Don’t forget, when you’re sitting down, you’ll still see the whole face,” McGrath noted.
To reflect the nighttime sensibility evoked by the feathers, decadent furs, and fringed gowns in the lineup, Guido Palau crafted a wet knot. “With the lighting and smoke, you just feel like the hair wouldn’t be dry—it would almost be too romantic,” he said. Palau doused strands with Redken Guts 10 Volume Spray Foam before raking the length back with his fingers and twisting it into a messy bun, placing it high or low depending on whether the model was donning a marabou-trimmed chapeau. For a glistening effect that played off the graphic pendants or hints of sparkle in the clothes, he finished with a generous spritz of Shine Flash.
Spring provided us with grit-faced step dancers, but this season I was met with a motley crew of models—ranging from real women employed by the designer to current catwalkers (like Hanne Gaby Odiele and Alana Zimmer) to models beyond the ripe old age of 21 (such as Kirsten Owen and Hannelore Knuts). It was yet another powerful message this week that age does not define beauty, or for that matter, fashion.
Makeup artist Lucia Pieroni skipped harsh edges and black shades, opting for varying tones of brown that were customized to suit each woman. The real challenge was making everyone feel comfortable within the context of very little makeup, she explained. Luigi Murenu revived hairstyle hits from seasons past: the “dandelion heads” of Fall 2013 and the “dew rags” hailing from Spring 2009, not to mention a few shaved heads thrown in for good measure. “We have to look at the faces in the mirror and work with it—we’re taking a compassionate approach,” he noted.