Wearing makeup to the beach is a little like traipsing through sand in stilettos—we’ve seen women do it, but nobody ever quite pulls it off (unless, of course, you’re Rihanna). The models sporting the latest line of swimwear from Eres this weekend in East Hampton, however, made a case for contrasting your solid maillot or bikini with a single swipe of traffic-cone orange this summer. Makeup artist Neil Gogoi chose cult-classic and universally flattering NARS Heat Wave for all of the girls, then upped the ante with Le Blush Crème de Chanel in Présage (last seen on the lids of Nicola Peltz) and MAC Cosmetics Splashproof Lash mascara. While the last two products are optional, we’re saving a special spot in our beach bag next to our SPF, gossip rags, and Chablis for this tube of tangerine.
EXCLUSIVE: Alexander Wang Spills the Secrets Behind Balenciaga’s Fall Campaign and Gisele Bündchen’s Cropped Cut-------
Alexander Wang’s goal at Balenciaga is not to adapt but to “break the mold.” And for his third runway season at the storied house, the young designer did just that—adding knitwear with new hybrid treatments to the mix and experimenting with asymmetrical shapes that play on the brand’s classic codes. In the latest Fall 2014 campaign, shot by Steven Klein, Wang continues to push boundaries and rock the status quo by depicting Gisele Bündchen—a model made a legend thanks to her feminine curves and beachy waves—with a masculine cropped cut. The 360-degree view we’re given of her shorn and slicked-back strands in a series of cracked mirrors makes each image all the more intriguing. Similar to an audience questioning how a magician pulls a rabbit out of thin air, the viewer is left wondering how Wang stripped the super of her hallmark attributes to pull this one off. Here, the artistic director does the unthinkable and reveals his secrets exclusively to Style.com.
How does this campaign represent your vision for Balenciaga?
Compared to the first two campaigns that I did with the brand, we really wanted this one to break the mold a little bit. The first one was an homage and more austere, and we never really showed the face. And for the last one, with Daria [Werbowy], it became this idea of transformation. I like this idea of taking iconic supermodels and showing them in a new light and a different way. Specifically with Gisele, she’s known for her hair, so we said, “Let’s show Gisele like she’s never been shown before and this idea of mystery and vanity.” She’s in this black, mirrored room and she’s breaking out of it. In the first season, we had the marble veins [on the runway and in the collection], and then it became the ivy, and then this season the cracked glass—so it was a continuing thread that tied them together as well.
Does the cracked glass represent breaking the mold of what Balenciaga once was as a house?
I mean, in a sense. Yes, I guess vaguely. I think there’s something so beautiful when there’s an organic touch to it. I love this idea of veins in the marble or things that [are] graphic [but still] organic. That element is very interesting to me because there is a rawness to it.
Where did your inspiration stem from for these visuals?
We worked with Gisele on the show, she closed the show, and we really wanted her. Gisele has been around and shown in so many different ways. So we said, “OK, we want to show Gisele in a way that people have never seen her before.” That was the first goal for us to achieve, and that’s very hard for someone that has done almost everything and has worked with so many different brands and people! It really started with this idea of transforming Gisele and capturing what we felt was different about her being part of the Balenciaga brand. We love showing her really uncompromised and that ultimate extreme beauty breaking out of a mirror. It’s almost beauty so powerful [it can't be contained]. And also to empower women to cut their hair and feel confident and feel beautiful and feel desired.
We’ve seen Gisele recently and her waves are still very much intact. Was there a bit of Photoshop magic at play within this campaign?
I mean, yes, of course. There was a whole team involved. We had a specialist [Jane Choi] come in who actually works on movie sets doing prosthetics. We spent two days making a prosthetic bald cap on a Gisele body double. And then we had to get another body double who we had to give the exact same haircut. So for every picture we took with Gisele, we had to take another picture with the body double. Then we fused those two together. It was the first time I’ve ever worked in that way, and [master retoucher] Pascal Dangin, he’s just incredible. He’s a true artist and a painter. When he was showing me the mock-ups, I was blown away by what he was able to achieve before we even got to the shoot.
How hard was it to achieve the finished result, as you see the hair from so many different angles?
The funny thing was that Gisele had to come in three hours before call time just to put the bald cap on. We had to wrap the hair very, very flat to her head, put the bald cap on, and then paint the bald cap to the exact same skin color as Gisele. It was basically like putting her into what you usually see on sets like X-Men. Every time we shot the picture it was kind of crazy because it was always just shooting her with the bald cap on and then having to visualize a bald Gisele. Then we’d go in and shoot the body double and that whole process. In the end, seeing it all come together was really magical.
Since we’re seeing Gisele in an entirely new way, who is the Balenciaga girl and how has she evolved since you arrived at the house?
I feel that for me right now the most important thing is to show this idea of empowerment, and people always talk about confidence and strength. It was a bit more understated, and this collection was [one] where I was really breaking through a lot of barriers and connotations, and I wanted the campaign and visuals to represent that. It’s kind of like a continuing dialogue. I never like to put exactly into words who the girl is because the collections speak for themselves. Also, there is something that is celebrated about individuality, and I like that any woman can come to Balenciaga and make it her own.
What do you think Cristóbal Balenciaga would say about seeing a woman with a shaved head in one of his campaigns?
I don’t know! He was always one to look at women in a different way. I think that’s something that I share in terms of an outlook. If he were living today in our world and our society, and wanting to do something that was different and open up some eyes…hopefully I did him proud.
In terms of Balenciaga, what’s next? What are your plans for expansion?
We have the fragrance [B. Balenciaga, pronounced Bee-dot] that’s coming out this fall. That’s going to be big for me because I’ve never done a fragrance before. And we have a couple of new launches, so it’s a little too early to say, but you’ll just have to stay tuned!
Stay tuned we will.
Want to replicate the Balenciaga buzz without losing all of your length? Anthony Turner, the hair pro who created the slick style that was placed over Bündchen’s bald cap in post, says: “Try pulling your hair back with a low masculine-inspired side part and strong hairline to give the impression of a shorter cut.”
As someone who spends the majority of the summer under a beach umbrella or running to the “shady” side of the street on the way to the subway, “working on my tan” isn’t on my to-do list. You won’t find spray tanning on there, either. In other words, as a cab driver once told me in Morocco, I am “white, like a chicken.” (Hey, I’ll be having the last laugh when everyone else is agonizing over wrinkles.) But if there’s anyone who understands my plight, it’s makeup artist Nick Barose, who attends to fair-skinned stars like Kate Mara, Lena Dunham, and Emma Roberts. Here, he offers his top product picks for believably boosting your glow.
Over a platter of Nutella French toast earlier this week, hair pro Andy Lecompte (the go-to guy for A-listers like Madonna and Penélope Cruz) revealed that the Tracy Anderson workout puts as much strain on your strands as it does your muscles. “Guess what happens when you bounce around like that?” he asked the breakfast table. “Your ponytail breaks off.” Dedicated followers like blond bombshell Gwyneth Paltrow and rainbow bright Nicole Richie are particularly at risk because their hair is routinely processed, leaving it brittle and more susceptible to breakage. His advice for Anderson’s band of followers (or anyone who hits the gym on the regular): Apply a moisturizing oil (like Wella Reconstructive Elixir, on shelves in July) and gather your length into a topknot. You’re going to sweat anyways, so you might as well forget about sustaining your blowout and treat your hair to some much-needed hydration instead. His other fitness tip (and secret behind his own hot bod): “I started breathing.” Who needs sustenance when you already have air?
Remember the song “Barbie Girl” by Aqua? We’re pretty sure it was playing in the Love magazine studio for Cara Delevingne’s recent shoot. Dressed in little else but Missoni bottoms, go-go boots, and a cotton-candy wig, the often-tomboyish model was almost unrecognizable. Spotted on her Instagram, the look might not translate to everyday life, but it’s certainly feeding our current rainbow hair color obsession. Plus, we imagine the sugar high from the supersized taffy stick she’s riding kept the catwalker awake on set.