“They are all hating me right now,” Lucia Pieroni joked of the models backstage at Missoni, where she had doled out “dry mouths and sticky eyelids” for the house’s Spring show. That, of course, was an incredibly simplistic description of the makeup artistry that was afoot here, which was attributed to “cosmic couture Japanese manga girls” and just so happened to feature one of the best lips we’ve seen all season.
“It’s a strong, fluoro pink,” Pieroni said of the four-part mouth that included a blend of MAC Lipmix in Magenta, Orange, and White, which the face painter topped with its loose Pigment in Red Electric. “When you mix it, it kind of gets orange, like tequila sunrise,” she explained. The color amounted to a retina-burning melon, which popped against glowing skin that had been lightly contoured through cheeks with MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural face powder in Medium Deep and highlighted with a layering of its luminizing Cream Colour Base in Luna and Pearl. “I wanted there to be something cartoony about it,” Pieroni continued, grooming brows and emphasizing a matte finish on mouths that had been brushed rather than lined. “It starts in the middle and sort of bleeds out,” she stressed of pouts’ “felt tip” quality.
Working off a collection that was very much for “a modern-day girl,” according to Eugene Souleiman, the Wella global artistic director brought the past and the present into the fold with a dichotomous ‘do. “It’s modern-day hippie and slightly space age,” he said of center-parted strands that he “squashed” with Wella Professionals Ocean Spritz Beach Texture Spray. “Normally, when you create a flat hairstyle, you use a gel,” Souleiman explained, pointing out that he was purposely using “the wrong product to get the right result.” The saline spray helped give the coiffeur the “sculptural” look he was that boasted a slight masculinity after he slicked down front sections to resemble long sideburns. “It’s very graphic,” he surmised of the hair—which, as far as he’s concerned, is a textile not unlike clothing. “It’s a fabric you can play with.”
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana‘s ever-present homage to their native Sicily makes for a reliably gorgeous hair and makeup look, as there’s not much that can top the southern Italian island’s reputation for classic, sexy beauty. “It’s Sicilian summertime,” Pat McGrath said of her specific direction for Spring, which meant a pink, rose, and apricot flush paired with an elongated eye. “There’s nothing heavy,” she emphasized. “It’s about shape, glow, and perfect skin.”
Creating a base with Dolce & Gabbana The Makeup Luminous Liquid Foundation, McGrath indulged in some blush—three of them to be exact, in Sole, Mocha, and Apricot—which she swept across cheekbones and up toward the temple for a warm radiance. “[The designers] also showed me this fab picture from Avedon,” she said, motioning to a black-and-white fifties-era glamour shot that hung from a mirror and prompted her to draw on “a more modern version” of a cat-eye that was extended from upper and lower lash lines that had been completely rimmed using a combination of Dolce & Gabbana’s Crayon Intense Eyeliner in Chocolate and its Khol Pencil in True Black. “Use the pencil first,” McGrath advised for achieving the perfect flick, which she initially drew on with the Khol Pencil and then retraced with its liquid Glam Liner in Black Intense for added opacity and drama. Lids received a dusting of pale gold shadow from Dolce & Gabbana’s Eyeshadow Quad in Desert before McGrath dabbed its Classic Cream Lipsticks in Chocolate and Iconic onto mouths, blotting with her fingers as she went to leave a faint wine stain that was slightly darker around the cupid’s bow. “There’s a lot of bold colors in the collection,” she explained; no need to overdo it on the face.
“Dolce really understands the beauty of a woman,” Guido Palau effused as he added to the narrative with an “updo,” as he called it. “It’s not really a twist or a knot,” he insisted of the folded and pinned coif that was decorated with 79 different silk scarves, one for each model that walked in the show. “There’s a lightness and desirability,” he continued of strands that were rough-dried with Redken Aerate 08 Bodifying Cream Mousse and meant to resemble “how a Sicilian woman would just tie her hair up in a scarf.” As Josephine Skriver held her printed accessory close to her head, Palau tied it at the nape of the neck and slightly askew, making sure the hairline was visible. “The rough texture makes it softer and more feminine,” he said, offering up a few pointers for proper scarf-wearing, including this one: “Make sure it’s touching the ears,” he added, positioning the crisp fabric accordingly. “That helps loosen the idea.”
Consuelo Castiglioni is known by the Marni faithful for a certain way with prints. And there was plenty of that in her Spring collection today, although patterns were well paced with plenty of solids as well. “I wouldn’t call it minimal,” the desiger’s longtime face painter Tom Pecheux surmised of the wealth of white, black and color-blocking at play; “I’d call it essential”—which prompted him to take the makeup in a similar direction. “We decided [it] should be very pure,” he said.
“Pure,” in this case, did not mean bare as it has at so many other shows this season. Instead, Pecheux started each girl off with one of his signature massages—a deep-tissue rubdown with Estée Lauder Daywear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Cream and its Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator—followed by a finger-blending of MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation, which provided a “healthy, glow-y” base. “We are using our fingers to melt everything” he elaborated of the “fresh” color that was applied to cheeks using a combination of MAC Cremeblush in Posey and its red-tinged Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Lushlife. A slightly darker incarnation of the transparent rouge hue appeared on eyes as well as Pecheux smudged MAC’s Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Glamour Era, a plummy black, across lids, mixing it with its Cream Colour Base in Root, a dark brown, which he buffed into the lash line. Just the tips of lashes were treated with mascara to “tint” them before Pecheux set to creating filled-in, “creamy” brows and mouths that were stained with a layering effort of both aforementioned lipsticks.
Castiglioni gave Paul Hanlon carte blanche with the hair. “She wanted me to do my own thing,” the styling star revealed—which usually means some incarnation of a deconstructed coif with a worn-in texture and a downtown feel. This time around, it was way simpler than that. “A lot of girls that work with Consuelo wear their hair like this,” Hanlon said of the sweeping, “organic” ponytail-knot hybrids that were prepped with TIGI Bed Head Superstar Queen for A Day Thickening Spray and treated individually, rather than uniformly. To let girl’s personality shine through, nary an extension could be found at Hanlon’s station as he simply groomed Janice Alida’s newly shorn fade and effortlessly brushed Athena Wilson’s bowl cut to one side.
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.