When we arrived backstage at L’Wren Scott this morning, there was a large black-and-white picture of Theda Bara taped up to the wall. “She was one of the first sex symbols,” Lancôme artistic director Aaron De Mey said of the silen- film star. “She’s the person the word ‘vamp’ was coined for—and the woman Scott assigned the title of beauty muse for her Fall show. Working off a sepia image of Bara that boasted a blue tone, De Mey chose to build the screen legend’s classic, round eyes with midnight blue instead of black shadow. “We’re using it as a neutral,” he said of the steely shade of Lancôme’s Le Stylo Waterproof Long Lasting Eye Liner in Minuit, which he drew close to the lash line and up through the crease and then dusted with its Color Design Sensational Effects Eye Shadow in Garment, an equally deep navy, around the edges. To give it a “lived-in” feel, De Mey dotted a clear gloss on the center of the lid. “It’s really all about the eye,” he concluded, beefing up brunettes’ brows with Lancôme’s Le Crayon Poudre in Sable and bleaching blonde models’ arches accordingly.
“It’s one of L’Wren’s favorite colors,” De Mey continued of the prominent blue-black eye pigment—which manicurist Yuna Park capitalized on as well. “It’s custom-made for her show,” Park said of the almost-black, navy polish that was inspired by one of the dresses in Scott’s collection and painted onto both fingers and toes. (Park also hinted that the designer might produce the lacquer if there’s “enough of a demand”).
To finish off the gothic tribute to the twenties, hairstylist Serge Normant created side parts that he treated with a hefty dose of his Meta Lush Volumizer and Meta Luxe Hairspray before back-combing, ironing in a soft Marcel wave and pinning the lengths underneath themselves. Fall’s faux bob strikes again.
Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have a thing for boyish beauty. Face contours and full brows have become as essential to a Proenza Schouler collection as an emphasis on hand-crafting, which makes Diane Kendal’s job fairly easy. “It’s really simple—classic Proenza,” Kendal said of the makeup backstage at the designers’ Fall show, blending MAC Sculpting Cream in Richly Honed, a sepia brown, onto models’ eyes and grooming brows with its Eye Shadow in Coquette so that “the girls looked like themselves”—and a little like Melissa Stasiuk. The heavy-fringed Argentinean catwalker opened the show, and her naturally stained lids and high cheekbones couldn’t have been more on point.
Stasiuk’s languid locks were also in line with Paul Hanlon’s decision to revisit the kind of straight, “street” hair he christened backstage at Joseph Altuzarra. After washing every models’ strands on site with Frédéric Fekkai’s Apple Cider Clarifying Shampoo to remove the residue of six days’ worth of shows, Hanlon set to putting a certain “unkempt tension” back into the hair, working Fekkai’s Coif Anti-Frizz Silkening Cream into individual sections to add weight so it wasn’t about volume. “We’re constantly bombarded with the idea that big hair is beauty,” Hanlon said, starting on a tirade about the rise of “skinny hair.” “You never see Kate Moss walking out of the house with big, va-va-voom hair,” he remarked, ensuring that each models’ roots were flat and that there was a slight kink through the lengths, which he achieved by twisting two front sections and tucking them behind the ears. To further remove any persisting perceived glamour from the hair, Hanlon asked Ben Gregory and Mari Ohashi—both members of his team—to take the red out of Stasiuk’s brunette locks so they were “slightly darker and more matte.” Kel Markey, Lida Fox, and Marie Piovesan also got dye jobs for the show.
Black cat-eyes may have dominated the Spring runways, but for Fall, they’ve gone Technicolor. Already turning up in red, orange, and chartreuse incarnations this week in New York, Pat McGrath added azure to the mix backstage at Anna Sui, where she whipped up theatrical blue wings. “There’s beautiful upholstery fabrics in the collection,” the CoverGirl global creative design director explained of the color’s origin, crafting a “fat” liquid line along models’ upper lash line with an upward flick on the end. “You draw your shape, fill it in, and add your shadow,” McGrath said, demoing the process on the back of her hand with CoverGirl Liquiline Blast Eyeliner in Blue Boom and its Eye Enhancers 1-Kit Shadow in Indigo Impact. Tracing inner rims with a white pencil to open the eye, McGrath added a few coats of CoverGirl LashPerfection mascara for a dramatic sixties feel. “It’s my favorite,” the face painter said of the slim tube. As a finishing touch, she flexed her 3-D makeup muscle, as she was wont to do last season, and placed hand-colored, hand-cut circular stickers below the lower lash line. “It adds a little extra interest,” she said of the detail, which was lined up exactly with models’ pupils. Nails were painted a similar shade of blue courtesy of Anna Sui’s own lacquer in #103.
Picking up on the sixties vibe that is part-and-parcel to almost everything Sui does, Garren sculpted a side-parted low ponytail that he teased at the crown. “It’s kind of Adele,” Sui’s longtime coiffing collaborator said of the style that was prepped with Rene Furterer Volumino, heavily back-combed, and finished with a halo of L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray. “[When it comes to hair spray], there’s only Elnett,” the super stylist said of the classic gold aerosol can.
A warm cheek and wind-blown hair are par for the course backstage at Michael Kors, whose sporty woman has frequently just come in from skiing, sunning, or a safari, as was the case last season. For Fall, she hit the slopes again and had just returned to the lodge for an après-ski cool-down when we caught up with her. “It’s an American well-bred couple , and they’ve just come back to have a little cocktail,” Orlando Pita explained. “So she takes her hair back, twists it into a little knot, and puts a bobby pin on the side,” the hairdresser continued, displaying a sheet of clips that had been spray-painted alternating shades of matte bronze, black, and white. “It’s a little undone,” Pita added of the style, using his T3 Elevate Heat-Seeking Volumizing Spray to add a bit of texture, taking extra care not to blow-dry “too much.”
“It’s more like après-sex,” Shiseido artistic director Dick Page interjected, using the brand’s forthcoming Lacquer Rouge in Drama, a deep crimson, to coat lips and blend a creamy flush from the apples of models’ cheeks all the way down to the jaw, “the way you’d get if you were cold, or hot, or excited,” Page explained. Shiseido’s Luminizing Satin Face Color in Soft Beam Gold and High Beam White dusted along lids and cheekbones added a transparent glow. “Blush makes everyone look better,” the face painter surmised. “It’s a very simple way to look and feel glamorous.”
Behind the makeup is a new video series in which Style.com takes you beyond backstage for an insider’s look at the unique creative relationship between designer, makeup artist and hairstylist at the idea conception phase. As you may have suspected, the glossy chignons and bold red lips that debut at the shows often see a series of incarnations before they hit the runway.
“It’s murder,” Dick Page said last weekend at the hair and makeup test for Narciso Rodriguez’s Fall show when the idea to do multiple makeup looks came up. But equipped with an “incisive” color palette and the complete faith of a designer who considers himself “fortunate” to have worked with the Shiseido artistic director for so many years, Page went for it anyway. Drawing inspiration from the colors in Rodriguez’s collection, he chose three shades of Shiseido’s forthcoming Lacquer Rouge in Blaze, a burnt orange; Drama, a blood red; and Savage, a chocolaty brown, which he alternated with two different eye looks, a dirty mandarin and a clean chartreuse, each of which was offset by a “scratch” of black liner. “It’s about the idea of individual color, individual women, not only in the clothes but in the makeup,” Rodriguez said of his collection.
Hair was kept uniform, though, styled as “a cross between a Mohawk and a mullet,” according to Wella Professionals global creative director Eugene Souleiman. “You have to think like him,” Souleiman said of getting to the heart of what Rodriguez wants each season. “And it’s all about quality with Narciso.” Case in point: Every model wore gloves on Rodriguez’s runway, but he had manicurist Deborah Lippmann paint their nails with Fashion, her mauve-beige lacquer, anyway. “They wanted her to be finished, because the Narciso woman would be finished,” she explained.
While Souleiman admitted that “nothing’s ever set in stone” when it comes to the beauty component here, team Rodriguez has a pretty good track record. “We’ve never had a drama, day of show,” the designer told us. Yesterday was no exception. Above, watch the process unfold in real time.