It seems as if beauty’s tendency to go both ways for Fall is still trending for Spring, with the words “androgyny,” “handsome,” and “boyish” making more than a few cameos. At Altuzarra, hairstylist Paul Hanlon put a name on the increasingly popular look: “It’s like nineties David Sims,” he said of the general vibe that’s been dictating “strong and masculine” coiffing techniques in New York, including the deep side part he fashioned with blunt, razor-cut extensions prepped at the roots with Frédéric Fekkai Advanced Full Blown Volume Styling Whip. Spritzing on its Advanced Brilliant Glossing Sheer Mist for shine, Hanlon pulled a front section of hair forward and over each model’s left eye and coated it with Fekkai Coiff Magnifique Ultra-Light Finishing Cream for structure and hold. “It’s important to Joseph that when the girls walk, nothing moves.”
Makeup artist Tom Pecheux channeled Elizabeth Taylor. “Brows are the hanger of the eye,” he remarked, recalling Taylor’s epic arches and replicating them on models like Altuzarra muse Vanessa Traina. But in an interesting twist, the Altuzarra woman wasn’t Liz on the red carpet. “It’s Elizabeth Taylor at the gym,” Pecheux clarified, explaining the lived-in feel of the brow, which he dusted on using MAC Eyeshadow in Feline and Carbon-no pencils or waxes here. “You have to use something powdery, because the hair is over the eye. This way it won’t smudge.”
“You already know the parameters,” Redken creative consultant Guido Palau said backstage at Alexander Wang, referring to the quintessential Alexander Wang girl. “She’s ‘downtown’ or she’s done her hair herself,” he elaborated, highlighting the beauty elements that remain a constant in the Wang archetype. For Spring, Palau added a new “devil-may-care attitude” to the equation in the form of a wet look—make that soaking wet. Saturated strands are becoming an early beauty trend here in New York, turning up at BCBG, Prabal Gurung, Helmut Lang, and just this morning at Victoria Beckham (more on that in a bit). And so it went at Wang, where the sporty inspirations of choice were car racing and motocross. Prepping hair with Redken’s Full Frame 07 All-Over Volumizing Mousse, Palau coated locks from roots to ends before creating a messy center part and rough-drying. Redken’s new All Soft Argan-6 Multi-Care Oil imparted a high-shine aftereffect.
Makeup artist Diane Kendal also took a page out of the Wang beauty book, in which clean skin, greasy eyes, and strong brows are always part of the plotline. “Urban nineties” is how Kendal described the well-moisturized skin she accessorized with MAC’s Eye Kohl in Smolder. As a final touch, Kendal applied MAC Gloss Texture to the center of lids to bring a sense of the dewy and damp to models’ complexions.
There was one totally new beauty element on display yesterday, though, in the form of Alexander Wang’s three-piece nail selection for Sally Hansen. Available in April, the varnishes include Oxblood, a dark bordeaux; Petrol, a steely blue; and Parchment, a sheer cream that was lacquered onto tips for a polished but barely-there finish.
If you’re unfamiliar with Japanese artist Nobuyoshi Araki’s work, the retina-burning ombré pink lips at Prabal Gurung were likely a bit of a jarring site. But put in the context of the photographer’s vivid images of exotic blooms, the mouths made perfect sense. “It’s like there is an intoxicating flower coming out of her mouth,” makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury said of the different shades of MAC Lipmix she applied in gradation from deep purple to magenta to fuchsia. “Its a play on darkness and light.” Pouts were kept matte to contrast with dewy, highlighted skin and purposely overdrawn at the corners “as though she’s been snogging,” said Tilbury, pointing out that the key to coloring outside the lines is to use a soft, melted pencil without a sharp tip so you “keep from looking like a drag queen.” To further acheive that delicate balance between looking “sensual, but strong and powerful” at the same time, Tilbury swept an elongated stroke of silver gray cream eye shadow across the crease of models’ lids.
Coiffing star Didier Malige was happy to hone in on the strong and powerful end of that dichotomy, slicking back hair into a middle-parted wet look. “The [Prabal Gurung] woman is super confident. She has nothing to hide,” Malige said, prepping strands with Frederic Fekkai Coiff Extra Control Styling Gel and finger-combing it backward before adding a generous helping of its Brilliant Glossing Sheer Shine mist for added glisten. To set the sleek look, Malige spritzed on Fekkai’s Coiff Sheer Hold Hairspray.
The piece de resistance came by way of Jin Soon Choi’s tasteful touch of nail art. Starting with a base coat of Sally Hansen’s Lacy Lilac lacquer, Choi added a centralized stroke of its Loves Me Not, a shimmering aubergine that’s part of Gurung’s latest polish collection for the nail giant (the three piece range hits stores in April). “I’m calling it a slim silhouette–not a reverse French manicure,” Choi clarified. “I hate that!”
“It’s the best Spring collection they’ve ever done,” Revlon global artistic director Gucci Westman effused backstage at Rag & Bone. Mrs. David Neville is admittedly a little biased, but the layered pops of orange, green, and aqua in Neville and Marcus Wainwright’s surfer girls-at-a-rave presentation were certainly eye-catching-which is precisely why Westman chose to keep the makeup relatively muted. “I didn’t want to complicate things,” she explained, powdering models’ complexions to counteract the shininess that had cropped up on everyone’s face backstage—the Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade included—thanks to the hot and humid weather. To achieve the kind of “healthy, vacation-y, effortless, and easy” finish she was after, Westman used Revlon Powder Blush in Tawny Peach and its Powder Bronzer to impart a natural flush, before carving out lids with a smudge of its Eyeshadow in 16H Addictive, a dark brown. After she lined lashes with Revlon’s Luxurious Color Eyeliner in Sueded Brown for added definition, Westman painted on a muted nude lip using its Super Lustrous Lipstick in Demure and Silver City Pink. Nail guru Jin Soon Choi also kept it neutral, coating nails with Revlon Nail Enamel in Smoky Canvas, a flattering shade of cool pale gray. “I’m over greige,” Choi said of the warmer slate hues that have been popular in seasons past.
The rave vibe was also alive and well in Guido Palau’s “easy, modern hippie” hair, which he prepped with Redken Satinwear 02 Ultimate Blowdry Lotion and gave a natural bend using Sulta’s Multi-Purpose Iron, before sticking a pair of clear goggle-like glasses above each model’s hairline. Luckily, the candy-flipping tribute ended there. We’re happy to report that nary a pacifier necklace or glow stick was spotted.
A lot of designers are just starting to get on the skincare tip, inviting complexion-saving experts backstage to join their hair and makeup teams, but Tom Pecheux has always been a firm believer in a thoroughly cleansed, toned, and moisturized base. The Estée Lauder creative makeup director brings a selection of the beauty giant’s face salves with him wherever he goes. “You can see the difference,” he said yesterday morning at The Row, where he was layering the brand’s Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator and Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher with its DayWear Plus Multi Protection Anti-Oxidant Crème for a dewy, refined canvas. Proper skin prep was particularly important for the bare-faced beauty directive Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen gave to Pecheux, referencing angels. “It reminds me of a Peter Lindbergh woman—slightly fresh, but a little moody,” Pecheux said of the luminous skin he created using a new Estée Lauder transparent liquid foundation and its new-for-Spring limited-edition Gelée Bronzer, which he brushed on in vertical swipes, rather than horizontally for contour, to “catch the volume of the cheekbone.”
“There’s a gentle power to it,” Pecheux surmised. “The only thing you can see is a strong eyebrow,” which he embellished with Lauder’s Sumptuous Extreme Bold Volume Mascara in either black or brown. Lids remained bare, but lashes were treated to a signature Pecheux trick, in which he applies black mascara at the roots to top lashes only and reserves brown pigment for the bottom. “All black is too dense,” he pointed out, before moisturizing lips with Homeoplasmine and topping them with Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick in Beige, a creamy nude.
Hairstylist Odile Gilbert received the same divine inspiration from the Olsens, which led her to a textural updo. “It’s a small head, a bit like an old statue of angels̶not Victoria’s Secret angels,” Gilbert clarified. Prepping strands with Kérastase Volumactiv Conditioning Mousse and its Mousse Substantive for guts and density, Gilbert sprayed on copious amounts of its Double Force Hairspray for a matte effect. Then, taking random sections, she twisted and braided the lengths, pinning them up onto themselves to create a concentrated mass of coils. “Everything is round—like the head and the earth,” she philosophized.