There was a lot going on backstage at Gareth Pugh‘s Spring show. After walking through the incense and smoke-filled venue, we arrived to find makeup artist Alex Box cooing over her nine-week-old baby. “He likes the attention,” she said of Marlo Ray, who was getting plenty of it from models like Nadja Bender, who came over to marvel at Box’s beautiful little boy. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I feel I’ve been melted and someone’s poured me back into me,” the proud mother effused. No wonder there was a noted change in the beauty look here.
“I thought I’d do something for people to wear for a change,” the woman responsible for Pugh’s Spring 2010 gray-tinged, “goddesses from the grave” faces and Spring 2012′s plastic-film eyebrow moment deadpanned. The molten red “structural, but felt” lids courtesy of a blend of MAC Eyeshadows in Coppering, Cranberry, All That Glitters, Honey Lust, and Basic Red that was given definition with a line of its Lip Pencil in Cherry along the inner rims may not count as “wearable” for some people, nor will the drip of special-effect liquid tears Box added right before girls went out onto the runway for an “emotional” element likely find its way into many people’s daily routines. But this might be as close as we’re going to get with Pugh and Box—the latter of whom’s red lip, a combination of MAC Lip Pencil in Auburn and its Lipmix in Red, ranks right up there with some of the most impressive mouths we’ve seen this season.
But that’s not all we have to report. In a season that’s been filled with nude nails and less successful nail art moments, Marian Newman managed to turn out one of the coolest polish protocols we’ve seen. You asked for it on Instagram, so without further adieu, the method behind Newman’s “blood and tears” manicure madness: Start with a thick “blob” of MAC Nail Lacquer in Rogue Marie at the cuticle line and paint a quarter of the way up the base of the nail. Then add its crimson varnish in Shirelle toward the top, blending the two colors with upward brushstrokes for an ombré effect. Top with a glossy coat of MAC’s Overlacquer and congratulate yourself on pulling off our favorite nail moment yet.
There are certain collections that lend themselves to strong beauty looks, and under Marco Zanini’s tenure, Rochas is definitely one of them. “There are these incredible rosebud-colored patterned florals towards the end [of the show]; you kind of want to wear them on your mouth,” Clé de Peau creative director of makeup Lucia Pieroni said at Zanini’s Spring outing, where lush fabrics were a huge part of the story. The other conversation piece? Pieroni’s flat-finish cerise mouths.
“I’m obsessed with lips at the moment,” the makeup artist joked, having already gifted us with one of the month’s best last week in Milan. Giving skin a pastel, luminescent finish courtesy of a few swipes of Clé de Peau’s Luminizing Face Enhancer in #11, Pieroni dusted lids with the gold color from its forthcoming Eye Color Quad in #209 Sapphire and brushed up brows, leaving lashes without mascara. Then came those pouts, painted with a blend of Clé de Peau Extra Rich Lipstick in R1, “a beetroot red,” according to Pieroni, and R2, “a pillbox red,” which she mixed together and topped with a bit of its Blush Color Duo in Pink for a mattified texture. “Matte to me seems quite modern,” she said, dragging a cotton swab around the edges of the mouth to ensure a soft-focus effect, “as though they’ve really been sucking on a lolly.”
It wasn’t the first look she and Zanini tried, but it was the one that stuck. “The music’s very California, and we went through the process of having the girls look sun-kissed, but they looked too much like a Dutch painting with those hoods,” Pieroni elaborated, motioning to the silk visors-turned-headscarves that Zanini commissioned from the French couture house Lemarié. “She’s a romantic dreamer who does not go out into the sun,” Zanini chimed in of the accessories, which left Wella global creative director Eugene Souleiman very little to work with.
“A ponytail is a little boring, but logistically, it was the only thing we could do,” Souleiman said somewhat begrudgingly, leaving his mark on the look by giving models what he called “premium hair.” “It’s really, supernaturally straight, ” the coiffeur explained, stretching strands with a blow-dryer, coating them with Wella Professionals Shimmer Delight Shine Spray, running them through an iron, and gathering lengths into a low ponytail that he pulled out a bit from the top of the elastic to create a voluminous, pseudo bob beneath the bonnets. “It’s maximized,” he admitted of the end result, “but so subtle it’s not vulgar.”
“The first idea Dries [Van Noten] showed me was a Kurt Cobain/Courtney Love image, so I thought about a lip,” Peter Philips said backstage at the designer’s Spring show. Not the burnt brick red that Love made famous during her early days in Hole—there were no remnants of red at all, in fact. “Not after Milan,” Philips joked, referencing the crimson color used at Prada that is still no doubt burned into most fashion insiders’ brains. Instead, he went with an eye-catching dusty magenta mouth. “It’s a bit more street,” Philips said of the color.
Giving skin a pale, satin finish, the face painter brushed lids with a green-gray wash of eye shadow “for definition,” before lining the inner rims with Chanel Le Crayon Khôl Intense Eye Pencil in Clair to open them up. Tracing the outline of pouts with its Le Crayon Levres Precision Lip Definer in #55 Fuchsia, Philips proceeded to apply the corresponding shade of Rouge Allure Velvet luminous matte lip color in #37 L’Exubérante. “The clothes are part couture and part grunge,” hairdresser Paul Hanlon elaborated. “So Peter’s doing the couture part; I’m doing the grunge part.”
Hanlon has made reimagining nineties styles something of a career calling card at this point, and his expertise was in full effect today as he referenced grunge-era heroines like Emma Balfour and the glossy pages of The Face in which she lived. Spritzing strands with a cocktail of Frédéric Fekkai Coif Oceanique Tousled Wave Spray and TIGI Bed Head Superstar Queen for a Day Thickening Spray to give manes a “stringy” quality, he glued on different colored extensions so it appeared blonde models had sections of bleach amid their golden locks. Then, raking TIGI Bed Head After-Party Smoothing Cream through lengths to create an even more lived-in feel, he proceeded to brush roots with a range of MAC Eyeshadows in shades of carbon blacks, dark browns, and grays. “A lot of people are on the nineties tip at the moment,” Hanlon admitted, “so it’s nice to find an identity.” It’s not the first time we’ve seen him break out this technique, although witnessing that kind of ingenuity never truly gets old—especially when the perfect song is playing in the background: Hanlon typically prefers to work to bass-pumping club beats, but queuing up College featuring Electric Youth’s “A Real Hero” from the Drive soundtrack added a certain cinematic specialness to the beauty moment.
“What is amazing with Anthony [Vaccarello] is that in two seasons, he created his woman,” Estée Lauder creative director of makeup Tom Pecheux said backstage at the designer’s Spring show. And for most admirers of Vaccarello’s work, that woman is Anja Rubik in the pelvic bone-baring white-gown-heard-round-the-world from the Met ball this year. There was some of that here (see Rubik’s show-closing black gown), but as Pecheux rightly pointed out, while some designers are “showing a dream that is unreachable,” Vaccarello’s clothes are much more wearable this season—some of them, at least. So too was the makeup. Gone was the molten, burgundy-tinged black smoky eye from Fall; in its place, something much more natural. “It’s more like the girl hanging out by the pool, not coming out of the club,” Pecheux suggested—or, rather, the reflection of the light off a pool, an optical phenomenon that inspired his color palette of washed-out blues and iridescent grays that created “La Parisienne,” the kind of face-painting effort that is barely perceptible yet striking.
Fittingly, French-born Estée Lauder face Constance Jablonski was in Pecheux’s chair as he administered a massage using his trusty tub of Estée Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Crème and its Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher that he topped with a finger-patted application of Lauder’s Double Wear Light Stay-in-Place Makeup and Double Wear Stay-in-Place Flawless Wear Concealer to create a base. Brushing its Pure Color Blush in Blushing Nude upward underneath cheekbones, “so the color fades into the cheek” and contours while providing a flush, Pecheux toiled over eyes, which he lined with a forthcoming aqua shade of Estée Lauder Pure Color Intense Kajal Eyeliner, which was blended out for just a trace of blue and topped with its as-yet-unreleased Pure Color Stay-On Shadow Paint in Sinister and Steel. A dab of its Pure Color Gloss in Opulent Opal added a light-reflecting effect meant to mimic the middle section of Vaccarello’s collection, which included “materials that looked like liquid,” according to Pecheux. Swiping glossy brown pigment on the inside lashes and a richer black color on the outer corners with Lauder’s Sumptuous Two Tone Mascara, Pecheux brushed up brows and created what he likes to call “the French kiss,” a nude mouth slicked with its Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick in Vanilla Truffle, a honey-hued neutral, and accented with the slightly darker Barely Nude only in the center of pouts.
Anthony Turner sculpted “very French hair” in complement. “It’s confident in a very understated way,” he elaborated of strands that were spritzed with L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Volume Architect, finger-combed in back and dried with a large round brush in the front to get a little volume. “It’s cool but not grungy,” he continued of the sweeping side parts that he let fall over Cara Delevingne and Arizona Muse’s right eyes. “We’ve always done vampy hair here so it’s nice to do something that’s wearable,” Turner surmised of the coifs—which was a true enough sentiment. Delevingne’s hair, we could easily sport; the dress she wore in look 17, however, maybe a little less so.
The Roberto Cavalli girl likes her black eyeliner; always has, always will. But she lightened up just a touch for Spring. “It’s more fresh and modern this season,” makeup artist Diane Kendal said, skipping heavier shadows and pigments and sticking with MAC Eye Kohl in Smoulder, which she used to rim lids, blending as she went.
Kendal, one of the season’s biggest “contours, not color” proponents, flexed her MAC Sculpting Cream muscle again here, using the Coffee Walnut shade, a medium brown, to carve out cheekbones and eye sockets before adding a few swipes of its Haute and Naughty Mascara to “help keep the eyes open” amid the blur of black. As Kendal took lips down a nudge with concealer, MAC’s resident nail art junkie, Keri Blair, mixed up two custom polish colors for the show. “I wanted to do a clean neutral nail that nods to the salmon pinks and dusty corals in the collection,” Blair said of the sheer stains she made by mixing MAC Nail Lacquers in Snob, a bubble gum pink, and Fiestaware, a warm melon, with its high-shine, clear Overlacquer and its matte topcoat to pick up the glossiness of Cavalli’s clutches and the flat finish of the bounty of leather in the lineup.
Guido Palau looked right to the collection when devising a hair look as well. “The clothes are saying it all, so the girls can be a little downplayed,” he explained of middle-parted, straight strands that were dampened with water, dried with a little bit of Redken Guts 10 Volume Spray Foam mousse, and then treated to a few spritzes of its Wax Blast 10 High Impact Finishing Spray for a “satin” texture. “When the girls came in [for the casting], we saw how naturally gorgeous they looked,” Palau revealed of the inspiration behind the simplicity. Sometimes, it’s that easy.