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.
In case it wasn’t clear from the flick of black liquid liner, rows of fluttery lashes, perfectly pink cheeks, and moisturized lips, the goal at Christian Dior Couture was pretty, minimal beauty. “Very fresh” is how makeup artist Pat McGrath described the soft, ingenue look that encompassed a light veil of foundation, glowing, slightly rosy cheeks, and lids accessorized with a bit of an obsidian wing. “It’s contemporary,” coiffing star Orlando Pita added, prepping hair with his Plump heat-seeking liquid hair plumper before crafting a deep side part and curling ends under into a rolled faux bob. It’s a new approach to couture hair and makeup, Pita explained of the decidedly novel order of the day backstage, where spectacle typically triumphs over all; to see models without elaborate headdresses, sequined eyes, and blocked-out brows here is a rare occasion indeed.
When it comes to beauty, Stella McCartney likes to keep things minimal. “Stella doesn’t like a lot of makeup,” face painter Lottie Stannard deadpanned backstage at McCartney’s pre-fall presentation yesterday, adding that Stella wanted to keep the skin “super-clean and fresh,” as she’s wont to do. So, Stannard set to applying a light veil of MAC Face and Body Foundation, which she sponged onto well-moisturized skin that had been treated to a thorough mini-facial at the hands of complexion guru Sunday Riley. “It’s been weird weather in New York and a lot of these girls are coming in from places like Sweden so they have dry, chapped skin from indoor heating and traveling,” Riley explained, prompting her to mix her Good Genes, a lactic acid-laced multitasker that resurfaces as it hydrates, with her Stimulant II, an anti-redness treatment that helps soothe irritation. Riley then layered her Juno Transformative Lipid Serum with a dollop of her Skin Adrenaline, an antioxidant-rich antiaging concentrate to impart the perfect matte-radiant finish.
The green-leaning scientific skincare approach that comes along with any cameo from Riley (who recommends drinking lots of coconut water—”from Brazilian coconuts, not the ones from Thailand”—to help further fight winter dryness from the inside out) has become something of a regular occurrence at Stella’s New York shows; ditto the kind of dewy skin perfection it yields. But there was one unusual sighting on the faces on display in the West Village last night. Once complexions had been perfectly polished by Riley, Stannard applied a thin stroke of MAC Fluidline gel eyeliner in Royal Wink, a bright cobalt, across the top of models’ upper lash lines. “It’s just a hint of color,” she explained of the blue accent that she picked up from fabric in McCartney’s collection. Subtle highlights across cheekbones courtesy of MAC Cream Colour Base in Pearl and a slight flush from its Cremeblend Blush in Something Special finished things off.
Staying true to the McCartney model of chic simplicity, coiffing star Sabrina Michals prepped hair with Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray and its Prep Lotion for texture. Once strands were dry, Michals raked its Sumo Wax through the ends and then gathered the lengths into a low-lying chignon. “[Stella] wanted it to look like the girls had done it themselves,” Michals said of the easy style before pulling out a few pieces toward the top for added volume.
When Chanel creative director of makeup Peter Philips got the word from Karl Lagerfeld that this year’s Métiers d’Art show was to be a nod to classic Indian decadence, his mind went to one place: black kohl. “We wanted a graphic interpretation of an iconic Indian beauty ideal,” Philips said of the almond-shaped black-rimmed lids that were the focal point of the beauty look he created backstage at the Grand Palais. Once Philips built a base out of his Perfection Lumiere foundation dusted with “a touch” of Chanel Joues Contraste Blush in Brume d’Or for a hint of cheek color, he devoted his attention to that eye, which he described as “something between mysterious and rock ‘n’ roll.” Key to skirting that line was a new shade of Philips’ ultra-luxe Illusion d’Ombre in Nirvana, a deep onyx cream eye shadow that he blended beneath the lower lash line and through the crease, dragging his brush upward into a slight wing toward the temples. Chanel’s Le Crayon Kohl Eyeliner in Noir drawn along the water line and its Inimitable Intense mascara in Noir achieved what Philips called a “pitch black” finish.
To keep the focus squarely on the eyes, lips were painted a muted shade of pink courtesy of Rouge Coco Shine in Empreinte for a natural dewy effect before Philips got to work on gilded accents, which he used to bring out the metallic embroidery and lace in Lagerfeld’s collection—not to mention the sparkling pieces of Chanel Fine Jewelry peeking out of hairstylist Sam McKnight’s dread-ed updos. “At the last minute I added some golden highlights on cheeks and eyes,” Philips said, dipping into Chanel’s forthcoming, limited-edition Route des Indes palette due out in June. Fingertips were treated to a few coats of a golden lacquer fittingly named Diwali “in homage to the famous ‘celebration of light’ that takes place in India,” according to Philips. It’ll likely prompt a similar excited frenzy when it hits shelves this summer.
If the lace masks at Sarah Burton’s show for Alexander McQueen looked familiar, it’s because anyone who made it to the wildly successful exhibition celebrating the house’s late namesake designer at the Met this summer has seen something like them before. “The idea came from the masks we created for the McQueen exhibit,” confirmed Guido Palau, who dreamt up another series of similar headgear with Burton for Spring. “People expect a little fantasy from this show,” Palau pointed out, which he delivered by weaving tight, half-inch-thick rings of braids all around models’ heads. “It’s like a wig wrap, but I wanted it to look more embellished,” he explained—which happened to be the complete opposite of Peter Philips’ M.O. “It’s almost like a sculpture,” the famed face painter said of the full-body muting technique he employed, applying a continuous wash of Chanel Pro Lumiere foundation on faces, limbs—anywhere skin was showing. “It’s all the same color; we wanted to make sure everything was covered,” he said, taking the season’s monochrome makeup trend to the next level. While Philips finger-pressed foundation into lips as well, there was one area of the face that he enhanced: the brows. “We tried bleaching them, but it looked too alien,” he said, opting instead to flatten arches, coating them in the same latex-based glue he used only a few hours earlier at Chanel. “It puts some life back inside those masks.”
The real embellishment was left to Minx co-founders Dawn Lynch-Goodwin and Janice Jordan. Back in London, manicurist Marian Newman told us that Burton had given the women four words to use for inspiration when conceiving a series of different nail overlays for her to choose from for the show; today came the big reveal. “Water, mother-of-pearl, shell, and sea foam,” she said, applying the six winning designs to models’ tips. Using three different bases of pink, beige, and ivory, Jordan and Lynch-Goodwin layered different combinations of Minx in holographic gold and silver on top to create “organic, random” layered patterns. “It took over 1,000 man hours,” Jordan proclaimed. If the crowd at Centquatre wanted fantasy, they no doubt left satisfied.