The excitement level backstage at Burberry kicked up a few notches when Wendy Rowe picked up a bullet of red lipstick. It was as though time stopped, except for the singular, slow-motion movement of the makeup artist grabbing Burberry’s Lipstick in Siren, moving it ever closer to Constance Jablonski’s mouth. After many years of loyalty to an all-natural, earth-tone-only makeup palette, it appeared as though Christopher Bailey had decided to make a bold beauty move. “We’re doing a Norman Parkinson woman,” Rowe revealed. “She’s retro but also modern and has a definite forties look about her.”
The crimson pout was the focal point of the look, and Rowe ensured it wasn’t too done. “It needs to look sassy and sexy,” she insisted, applying the creamy scarlet pigment with a brush and blotting it as she went. “[The Burberry woman] is a bit cheeky and flirty this season,” Rowe continued, blending in the brand’s new-for-spring Fresh Glow Foundation, which she dotted with its forthcoming Illuminator.
“Natural and definitely not too glamorous” were the house codes that Neil Moodie abided by when it came to the hair, which he prepped with Bumble and Bumble Does It All Styling Spray and gave an off-kilter center part. Running a few sections through a curling iron to create movement through the lengths, Moodie finished things off with a touch of Bumble and Bumble Brilliantine on the ends of the hair for the appearance of a healthy, moisturized mane—wear and tear from almost two weeks of back-to-back shows not withstanding.
Gone was the Victoriana-goth girl that ruled the mood boards backstage at Erdem for Fall. In her place: “otherworldly creatures,” according to face painter Andrew Gallimore, who set to work sculpting a “much brighter, more luminous lady” for Spring.
“Sci-chedelic” is the neologism that was being bandied about between hair and makeup artists in reference to a certain sci-fi psychedelia that informed the beauty effort. “They’re supposed to be like an army of clones,” Gallimore explained, applying a base of MAC Mineralize Moisture Foundation and a touch of its Prep + Prime Finishing Powder. “It’s a bit Stepford Wife-y,” he continued, working its Strobe Cream into the nose bridge, cheeks, and the cupid’s bow of lips to create a futuristic luminosity. Curling the lashes and brushing brows upward, Gallimore slicked mouths with MAC Lipmix in Mid-Tone Nude before dabbing just the center with its Pigment in Neo-Orange to allow for a punchy pop of color.
“The whimsical, romantic Erdem girl has evolved into a tougher, more androgynous woman,” Charles Worthington artistic director Marc Trinder agreed, sculpting a clean, strong bun for the occasion. Coating strands with the brand’s new Salon Secrets Elixir, Trinder partially dried them so they retained a bit of a greasy, wet finish. Fashioning a deep side part, he proceeded to gather lengths into a low ponytail at the nape of the neck that resulted in a tight, twisted chignon. Worthington’s Front Row Mirror Dazzle Shine Spray and a fat blush brush swept away any lingering flyaways.
There were the direct Frankenstein mentions in Christopher Kane’s Spring collection (see the screenprinted T-shirt in look 30), and then there were the slightly more subtle nods toward Mary Shelley’s nineteenth-century creation. “This could almost be Frankenstein’s daughter,” makeup artist Lucia Pieroni explained of the harsh, black-rimmed eyes she set against an otherwise perfect complexion. “But a little more dainty.”
Prepping skin with a generous layer of NARS Optimal Brightening Concentrate, Pieroni spot-treated with its forthcoming Radiant Creamy Concealer. “There’s a subtle iridescence coming through,” she explained, clutching NARS’ Illuminators in Orgasm and Copacabana, which remained in Pieroni’s hand during her entire backstage tenure as she swiped the creamy, luminescent pigments onto models’ T-zones and high on their cheekbones. Following a dusting of NARS Light Reflecting Setting Powder that imparted a ghostly, almost spooky edge, the face painter made brows strong and straight with a once-over of its Eyeshadow Duo in Pandora. Then, on top of a sweep of NARS Eyeshadow in Pearl Beach, a shimmering sheer mauve, Pieroni etched its Eyeliner in Black Moon along the waterline, smudging it out onto the edges. “The prettiness is balanced by using black along the [lashes],” she explained, adding a touch of NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Via Veneto for opacity and drawing its Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Belle de Jour, a warm nude, onto mouths to ensure the focus remained firmly on eyes.
Applying a thick layer of TIGI Session Series Wet Look Gel across the top of the head and pulling hair straight back into a long ponytail, Anthony Turner declared a similar intention to avoid the pretty and embrace the tough. “The Christopher Kane girl’s hair is not gentle or feminine anymore; she’s fighting against the ladylike collection and she’s a bit of a rebel,” he said. Removing flyaways with TIGI Curlesque Defining Serum and flat-ironing the lengths for a sublimely straight finish, we’d say his mission was sufficiently accomplished.
When designing a hair concept for any given show, Paul Hanlon’s points of reference tend to be varied. But more often than not, they coalesce at the intersection of “an eighties-nineties grungy girl who has stepped from one decade to the next.” And so it was backstage at Giles for Spring, where the coiffing star set to channel his now signature “skinny hair,” which was equal parts disheveled and undone.
Finger-combing Toni & Guy Label M Matte Paste through a low side part for a rough-dried effect, Hanlon mixed its Blow Out Spray with a bit of Sea Salt Spray for additional texture. On thinner hair, he worked its Smoothing Cream through the ends, tying lengths into a small bun, which he then removed to reveal a subtle wave. “This is a girl who will wear a beautiful ball gown but then totally forget to do her hair, so it looks cool,” he surmised of the designer’s woman.
Lucia Pieroni kept things duly casual, pointing out that her stamped-on, matte fuchsia mouths and luminescent skin were meant to resemble “makeup you can do at home.” Massaging skin with MAC Complete Comfort Cream, the face painter added highlights along cheekbones and eyelids with MAC Cream Colour Base in Luna and Hush, so those areas reflected “like lightning bolts” on the runway. Keeping London’s Spring lipstick revival alive, Pieroni slicked on a layer of MAC Lipstick in Embrace Me, a hot pink, which she dabbed over a layer of foundation and then powdered to remove all traces of shine. Nails were painted a similar color while brows were bleached or brushed up depending on the model (blondes got the peroxide treatment while brunettes remained true to their roots). That part is less likely to occur in the comfort of our own apartment; everything else, however, seems entirely doable.
“I’m glad to be getting back to my roots,” Eugene Souleiman joked—no pun intended—backstage at Mary Katrantzou, where the hair hero and Wella Professionals global artistic director made his grand return to London fashion week after a five-year hiatus. He picked a good show for his comeback, too; Katrantzou’s whimsical prints pack plenty of power in the way of beauty inspiration.
“[They're] very conceptual,” Souleiman admitted of the designer’s Spring fabrics, which included colorful, graphic adaptations of exotic stamps and banknotes, which caused the coiffeur to stay the “couture and sharp” course with the hair in complement. “The detail of the clothes needed something minimal to go with it,” he elaborated of the four-section updo that was based loosely on the aerodynamic shape of a “cycling helmet.” Prepping strands with Wella Create Character Texturizing Spray, Souleiman built a tight bun with the bulk of models’ lengths to anchor a panel of hair from the right side, followed by a panel of hair on the left side that he wrapped and secured on top of the chignon. A front section of hair was then combed backward and set with Wella Finish Shimmer Delight Shine Spray to “elongate and extend the shape of the head in a slightly alien way.” An additional otherworldly element came from Josh Wood, the London-based colorist who dyed a few girls, including Australian stunner Chrystal Copland, a platinum shade akin to “crisp linen” using Wella’s new Illumine range.
Makeup artist Val Garland’s contributions centered around a “ballpoint blue eye that referenced the inky colors of an English pound” (editor’s note: Blue is the new black when it comes to eyeliner for Spring). The precise shade of matte midnight pigment was a mix of two MAC Lipmixes in Blue and Red, which Garland drew onto the upper lash line in a thick, elongated, almond shape to adhere to Katrantzou’s mandate that the girls look “modern and linear.” Garland ditched mascara altogether and gave lips a clear moisturized finish with a swipe of MAC Lip Conditioner. Her intention was to keep skin looking “polished,” which was just fine with St. Tropez skin finishing expert Nichola Joss, who was giving models a “velvet tan” by buffing St. Tropez Instant Glow Wash Off Mousse mixed with its Body Butter into skin with a mitt, to which she added a light layer of St. Tropez Rose Skin Illuminator for a pastel sheen.