The Asian influence in Peter Dundas’ Spring collection for Emilio Pucci was evident long before models got into their first looks, following a casual round of Champagne drinking and conversation. “It’s Indochine in a modern way,” Luigi Murenu said of the ivory hair pins carved with elaborate dragon motifs that he slipped through long, center-parted half-up, half-downs. “We have to keep it quite Pucci, though,” he added, pointing out that the reference couldn’t be too literal as to abide by the house’s DNA, which necessitates a girl that “has an easy approach to hair but is stylish.”
Prepping elongated strands with Phyto Professional Intense Mousse, Murenu created a painstakingly straight texture with a slick of John Frieda Frizz Ease before cutting short wispy pieces around the face for “modernity and coolness.” As the coiffing star finished his last girl, Dundas made a surprise guest appearance in his chair to get a touch-up before the show. Setting him up with a makeshift barbershop gown, Murenu treated the designer’s signature curls to a few scrunches of Kérastase Nutritive Oleo-Relax Serum.
Lisa Butler kept her nods to Dundas’ Eastern influences duly light-handed. “It’s a concept, not really a reference,” the face painter said of the makeup’s “Zen simplicity.” Rimming lids with MAC Eye Kohl in Smoulder before deliberately removing the black pigment to leave behind just a trace of sultriness, Butler placed a “blob” of its Chromaline gel eyeliner in White above the center of the upper lash line and blended it for “dimension.” Before models hit the runway, Butler added a slick of gloss to lids and a dusting of powder through the T-zone so girls looked a “bit more done.”
“I worked with Jil a lot on campaigns a long while ago—with Guinevere [Van Seenus], in the old days,” Pat McGrath said backstage at Jil Sander, where the old days all of a sudden seemed new again. Van Seenus made a surprise runway appearance this week in Milan, and today, Jil Sander returned to helm her namesake line for the first time in eight years.
“The DNA [of the brand] was always very simple, but there was still something going on with the makeup,” McGrath continued, slipping back into flashback mode when describing the Spring beauty look, which had all the same elements of nineties-era Sander—the tonal lids and lips, the filled-in arches, and the clean skin—but with a slight nudge of modernity that came by way of a creamy highlighter that was blended onto cheekbones, temples, and eyes to catch the light as girls walked the white-on-white concave runway. “There’s a lot of maintenance,” McGrath explained of the bulk of her backstage duties, which included everything from eyebrow plucking and brow recoloring to exfoliating with Olay Regenerist Pro-X Cleanser and applying SK-II Signs Eye Masks to girls in need of a little de-puffing. “They really do work!” she proclaimed of the hydrating cloth strips.
Guido Palau, another one of Sander’s longtime collaborators, was feeling similarly nostalgic. “It’s kind of funny doing Jil Sander with Jil Sander,” he joked, having previously worked both with Sander and her predecessors, including current Dior creative director Raf Simons. That said, Palau is plenty familiar with the house codes, which called for “really rich, simple, simple hair.” Cue the ponytails that hung low and long thanks to blunt-cut extensions prepped with Redken Satinwear 02 Ultimate Blow-dry Lotion and its Shine Flash 02 Glistening Mist. “It’s stick straight,” Palau said of flat-ironed strands, before gathering them into an elastic, which he “dragged down” so it didn’t sit too tight or too perfect.
“You realize how forward-thinking she was,” Palau reminisced of Sander as finished models scurried toward the dressing room to get into their clothes for the show.”She has a keen eye for pure beauty”—the kind that dominated the first half of the Spring shows and was perhaps at its best here.
Peter Philips likes to think outside the box. The makeup artist known for his way around a perfect complexion and a gorgeous rose-petal pink or red lip is just as often referenced for mixing makeup mediums—an embroidered eyelash here, a precious gemstone brow there. Blame it on his art school education. At Fendi, it was the latter inclination that, er, stuck. “The idea was to use colors from the collection, and the best way to do that is to use the actual collection,” Philips said as he glued pre-cut fabric strips onto models’ lower eyelids.
“It was a bathing suit,” Philips explained of the neoprene swatches in peach, teal, royal blue, neon orange, tan, and yellow that he placed beneath the lash line in a three-part system: “There is black on the bottom, pointed outward,” he elaborated, followed by a color strip in the middle, and a shorter, brighter piece on the inner corner. “After rehearsal, I noticed the blue really worked,” Philips said of why most models ended up with the same royal blue center. Otherwise, faces were left bare to appear “more young and playful” and less “theatrical”—a directive that came right from Karl Lagerfeld, who dropped by to pay his respects. (“I didn’t want to interrupt you; I just wanted to say hello,” the designer said to Philips in passing). Never one to miss a nail opportunity, Philips added to the season’s neutral polish palette with a nude-salmon varnish, the result of Chanel Le Vernis Nail Lacquer in Ming, a warm, shimmering pink, mixed with white and a few drops of its Mimosa, a sunny yellow.
The same pastel colors could be spotted in a range of embellished headbands that Lagerfeld made for the show to accessorize Sam McKnight’s “sharp, aerodynamic” updos. “It’s not soaking-wet,” McKnight explained of what he ultimately deemed a “malleable, sea-wet” texture, the result of strands that had been prepped with Frederic Fekkai Marine Summer Hair Beach Waves and divided into four sections. Creating a flat bun in the back to remove excess weight, McKnight folded hair over from one side followed by the other, which was twisted and pinned down. Having left the top section free, McKnight ultimately rolled that backward, attaching it to the finished coif. “There’s about 40 pins in each girl,” he estimated, “so we’re not advising them to go to the airport anytime soon.” Zing!
As previously mentioned, blue is making a case for makeup color of the season, giving more standard applications of black liner, shadow, and grease a real run for their money. Last we checked, incarnations of the placid hue in shades of navy and aqua at shows like Altuzarra and Michael Kors in New York had made the trip across the pond, turning up at Mary Katrantzou and Clements Ribeiro in London. The color touched down in Milan this weekend at Versus, too, where Pat McGrath added a stroke of cobalt blue genius to the equation. “It’s a pop of color,” she said, singling out one of many bold shades from Christopher Kane and Donatella Versace’s collection of rainbow brights. “We tried a bunch of different colors—greens, yellows,” McGrath revealed, although blue—applied with “just a sweep of the brush”—was the clear winner. There—and elsewhere; an etching of midnight pigment appeared along the upper lash lines at Just Cavalli yesterday, and this morning at Fendi (more on that in a bit), Peter Philips played with royal blue via glued-on, fabric strips turned eyeliner. We’re gonna go out on a limb here and say it won’t be the color’s last cameo.
The words came backstage at Versace, as they so often do. “She’s a sexy, cool girl,” Pat McGrath said as she worked on a “dramatic,” shaded eye. “It’s just very much Donatella; she loves the smoky eye.” It’s a truism that can’t be denied—and one that manifests itself into similar incarnations of black-tinged beauty here each season, although for Spring McGrath served up the sultry with a noticeably lighter hand. “There’s a casualness [to the collection],” she explained—and therefore a little less smolder on the lids. Giving skin a “pretty, gorgeous, healthy” satin finish with a “sun-kissed” glow, the makeup artist smudged a layering effort of black and brown pigment through the crease of the eye, keeping it sheer and topping it with a dusting of shimmering bronze pigment. Swiping lashes with a few coats of mascara, McGrath filled in sparse areas with tiny individual hairs.
Guido Palau went so far as to call the look “much more natural” than usual. After Fall’s faux-fringe festival, the Redken creative consultant chose to keep things simple, center-parting strands and drying them with Redken Guts 10 Volume Spray Foam mousse to simulate thickness. “Donatella likes a cool length,” he said of the collarbone-grazing snips he made into the front sections of most models’ hair, spritzing with Redken Powder Refresh 01 Aerosol Hair Powder dry shampoo as he went for additional texture before fashioning a loose bun that he took out right before the show to “create movement.” So, how did catwalkers like Kati Nescher, Jacquelyn Jablonski, Daria Strokous, and Anna Selezneva take to the impromptu shearing? “They were very understanding,” Palau said. What’s a few inches in the name of runway perfection?