Style.com

April 21 2014

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Working Girls, Backstage at Christian Dior

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DiorGone 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.

Photo: Sonny Vandevelde; Indigitalimages.com

“Forties Grunge,” Backstage at Carven

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carven-crop“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.

Midnight in Paris, Backstage at Lanvin

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lanvin“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.

Photo: Sonny Vandevelde; Indigitalimages.com

A Mixed Bag, Backstage at Rick Owens

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rick-owensSpring 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.

Photo: Sonny Vandevelde; Indigitalimages.com

Breaking Out the Big Guns (and Not Much Else), Backstage at Balmain

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karlie-kloss“The girls are booked for who they are, so it’s not about stamping a look on them,” explained hair pro Sam McKnight. When you have models like Angela Lindvall, Joan Smalls, Karlie Kloss, Anja Rubik, Jourdan Dunn, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley all in one room, do you even need hair and makeup? Add a swipe of lipstick and the Hôtel de Ville might just spontaneously combust from the overwhelming amount of beauty. Nevertheless, a little foundation, concealer, and brow powder never hurt anyone. And that’s about all maquillage master Tom Pecheux used backstage to create the “safari goddess” who would wear Olivier Rousteing’s high-octane clothes through the jungle. The only alteration he made was paling out the skin with a lighter shade of base. “It’s still the minimum of what you can do in terms of makeup, but it’s much more than last season,” Pecheux quipped.

An “unbrushed, lazy ponytail with a structured front,” was how McKnight summed up the strict center parts and textured tails that showed off the collared necklaces and door-knocker earrings created by the designer. To coax out natural wave, he spritzed strands with a combination of water and Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray after tying off the length with a string of elastic. As for who, of all the girls, has the “ideal” hair: Huntington-Whiteley, of course. Sigh. As if that face and body weren’t enough.

Photo: Sonny Vandevelde; Indigitalimages.com