“When you have a brand with a signature feeling, you kind of just go with it,” Redken creative consultant Guido Palau said backstage at Rag & Bone, referencing designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright’s signature style. And so, as she has in nearly every season past, the downtown cool girl reared her languid, texturized head of hair yet again. There were “Patti Smith goes to India” references being bandied about as well, but not in any kind of literal way. “She’s a traveler but she’s still rock ‘n’ roll,” Palau clarified, explaining why strands were a little bit more “dread-y” than usual thanks to Redken’s Full Frame 07 Protective Volumizing Mousse, which was slathered onto wet strands. Palau then added its Rough Paste 12 Working Material paste once the hair was dry. “It defines the texture,” he said of the sculpting product, as he set hair in twists to allow for movement.
The India component was actually Revlon artistic director Gucci Westman’s idea. “The boys were inspired by the jump in severe poverty and wealth [there],” Westman explained, which led her directly to that classic Indian beauty staple enjoyed by women of all income brackets: kohl eye liner. “I used three different eyeliners—a gel, a kohl pencil, and a liquid,” Westman said of her application technique, which relied heavily on Revlon Crème Gel Liner in Black, its Luxurious Color Eye Liner in Black, and its Liquid Liner in Blackest Black. For a slight change of pace, the face painter opted to trace the lower lid only, smudging as she went so it looked rough, “like decay.” Skin was kept “porcelain-y” thanks to a precise layering effort of a blend of skin correctors and luminizers, including the highlighter from Westman’s limited-edition shadow palette for fall in Midnight Express. To ensure that the effect was “pure and angelic,” she misted models with water as they hit the runway for an instant dewy look.
After making its debut backstage at Marc Jacobs two seasons ago, the “dominatrix ponytail” has been getting a lot of backstage play. But the high, tight, and totally intimidating updo at Jason Wu this afternoon came with a message that was less fetish and more fighter. “Be strong! Go for it!” was hairstylist Odile Gilbert’s battle cry as she applied waist-grazing extensions to models’ hair and coated them with Kérastase’s Fibre Architecte to smooth and treat dry ends. “Jordan loves this stuff,” Gilbert effused of the lightweight serum that repairs damage as she finger-combed it through Jourdan Dunn’s hair. Pulling lengths into a super-high ponytail, Gilbert wrapped strips of black latex around the base of the style for an additional element of toughness before spritzing it with a halo of Kérastase Double Force Hairspray for hold. The only girl that didn’t get the ponytail treatment was Tao Okamato. “Jason wanted Tao to represent the boy in in the film In the Mood for Love,” Gilbert said, explaining Okamoto’s sleek, Cary Grant-era iconic men’s pompadour that appears throughout Wong Kar-wai’s classic film.
Makeup artist Diane Kendal was working within a similar cross section of warrior-meets-old school glamour, which manifested itself into a strong, diffused, emerald-green eye. “It’s Ming dynasty and 1940′s Hollywood,” Kendal said while building up lids using MAC Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Tealo to create a base for its Eye Kohl in Minted, a light green, that she layered through the crease. To add texture and dimension, Kendal blended MAC Eyeshadow in Club and its Pigment in Kelly Green outward toward the temple before tracing the lash line with its Eye Kohl in Blooz, a dark blue, and a black cream liner to extend the elongated shape of the pigments. “The actual shape is the Hollywood part,” Kendal said of the classic cat’s-eye silhouette. MAC Haute and Naughty Mascara amplified top lashes only, while lips were left bare, save for a touch of its emollient Lip Conditioner.
As for the models’ complexions, they needed very little help in the way of makeup, thanks in large part to skincare guru Sunday Riley, who was on-site to provide mini facials. Fashioning impromptu masks using her Ceramic Slip clay-based cleanser and a good helping of her Good Genes treatment cream, which contains lactic acid and lemongrass to clarify and smooth skin while stimulating circulation, Riley was able to create a totally natural, healthy glow.
“I remember when Peter was making clothes for teenagers,” makeup artist Tom Pecheux said backstage at Peter Som this morning, reminiscing about his long-standing relationship with the designer. “But every season, his woman is growing up,” Pecheux continued. Fall 2012 is no exception. To contrast the “grown up” feeling of Som’s clothes, as Pecheux described them, the facepainter kept complexions deliberately fresh with a matte finish to add sophistication. Prepping skin with MAC Mineralize Charge Water Moisture Gel, he worked its Matchmaster Foundation into the skin with his fingers so that the layer of MAC Prep and Prime Translucent Finishing Powder he applied on top would sit flawlessly. “[If you're using a powder], you need to drop your brush, drop your sponge when you apply the foundation,” Pecheux explained of the technique. To maintain a hint of youthfulness, he created a sculpted contour with MAC Mineralize Blush in Stratus, a beige pigment laced with the surprising addition of iridescent lavender. The only part of the face that had a dewy component were eyelids, which were given a slick of MAC Lipstick in Delectable Mattene, a warm peach, that was also applied to lips and matted down with translucent powder. As a finishing touch, Pecheux feathered lashes with a brown mascara and filled in brows to create the illusion of “women with confidence.”
For Wella Professionals global creative director Eugene Souleiman, it was about a confidence that read very masculine. “We’re not making them look pretty like we usually do, we’re making them look handsome,” he said coating models’ hair with Wella Ocean Spritz Beach Texture Hairspray before carving out a deep side part that he left polished on top. “It has a very mid-90s feel to it—Helmut and Calvin when they were major,” Souleiman explained gathering the lengths and pulling them into a low-laying bun that he would ultimately undo to reveal a texturized bend. “It’s perfection with rawness,” he concluded.
Ever since Redken creative consultant Guido Palau championed the ponytail at the Fall 2011 shows, the easy, girl-next-door style has become perfectly acceptable runway—and red carpet—fare. But in an exciting first, the simple technique turned up backstage at Valentino yesterday, making an unlikely appearance at Couture week. Palau was after a “beautiful, innocent” vibe, which was decidedly conveyed through models’ blown-out middle parts and extra-low, satin ribbon-tied lengths. Hair was kept deliberately loose around the hairline, allowing for soft wisps to fall around the face, which lent an unfinished, mysterious air to Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s beautiful, eighteenth-century-inspired dresses. To add a slight edginess to the equation, makeup artist Pat McGrath built a flawless, clean base, to which she added a square, black liner application, similar to the technique she employed backstage at Lanvin two seasons ago. “They really wanted it to be just about that square and that perfected skin,” McGrath said of the designers’ directive. True to form, the face painter also put her stamp on brows, “lightening” rather than fully bleaching them, to create more of a contrast with the blocked-off, winged liner.
Before Karl Lagerfeld’s space shuttle Couture show took off yesterday in Paris, he gave Chanel’s creative director of makeup, Peter Philips, a brief with two specific directives: “blue, and make sure they don’t look like stewardesses.” Bearing Lagerfeld’s anti-Pan Am sentiment in mind, Philips kept his attention squarely on the eyes—something the famed face painter has made a habit of at recent shows (Philips acolytes will recall his homage to kohl liner at the house’s Raj-inspired pre-fall extravaganza last month). This time, though, it was shades of navy, rather than black, that informed his palette. “Instead of going for black khol, I created a few blue alternatives for this ‘flight,” Philips joked.
After building a flawless base by prepping skin with Chanel’s forthcoming Hydra Beauty Serum, due out in April, and its Perfection Lumiere Long Wear Flawless Fluid Makeup, Philips used Blue Aerien, a new intense blue Le Crayon Yeux Precision Eye Pencil, to contour lids. Then he applied two new shades of his creamy, blendable Illusion d’Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow in Apparition, a grayish-blue that he swept through the crease and faded out toward the temple, and Destination, a silvery satin blue that he dotted along the brow bone and onto the inner corners of the eyes for a subtle dose of light. To keep the blue theme going, Philips lined the rims with Chanel Le Crayon Khol Intense Eye Pencil in Marine before slicking on a few strokes of its Inimitable Waterproof Mascara in Black. The layering effect had a slightly lived-in, rock ‘n’ roll feel to it, which was helped along by hairstylist Sam McKnight’s series of faux fades and mohawks—a nod to new Chanel ambassador and model-turned-thrash metal drummer Alice Dellal, no doubt. And because no Chanel show, Couture or otherwise, would be complete without a custom-designed nail lacquer, Phillips whipped up a pale, pearly blue shade called Sky Line for the occasion, which unsurprisingly was a perfect match with Lagerfeld’s collection. Made to order, indeed.