This year provided a plethora of New Year’s Eve-worthy looks, and the man that pulls off glitter better than any other on the runway is Peter Philips. Always the master of invention, he created ear cuffs composed entirely out of crystals at Dries Van Noten for Fall, only to follow it up the next season with tinsel-coated lashes (accompanied by gold-slicked side parts by Sam McKnight). And at Chanel, he rimmed upper eyes with a flash of silver glitter that could be seen from every seat in the house. In our esteemed opinion, Philips gets top honors for the most dazzling displays of 2013. Now if only we had a sparkly statue to commemorate the occasion…
To see more brilliant looks, read “2013: The Best of Backstage.”
Hand in hand with the holidays come many a limited-edition candle. Usually, it’s scented like some overly saccharine sugar cookie, toothpaste-like peppermint stick, or pine tree reminiscent of those that dangle from cab drivers’ rearview mirrors—none of which sound enticing now, or post-December 25. Enter Diptyque, a brand that never fails to add some nondenominational and sophisticated delights to the mix. This year, the French fragrance house partnered with Tsé & Tsé (a Parisian duo that designs everything from table lamps to jewelry) for its latest candle collection, which explores more exotic aromas, like Orange Chaya—a blend of quince, cinnamon and ginger reminiscent of the South Asian tea. The lustrous green jar, Écorce de Pin, mixes the scent of snow-covered firs with that of hinoki (a Japanese cypress), along with cedar and patchouli, to create a warm, smoky eau. Encens des Indes recalls the gifts of the Magi—incorporating notes of rose, cornflower and myrrh. These seasonal treats for the senses are guaranteed to please long after the presents have been unwrapped (and returned).
$68 each, diptyqueparis.com
Makeup artist Nick Barose is clear on one thing: He is not quitting his day job. Barose is the man behind the maquillage for celebrities such as Lupita Nyong’o and Kate Mara, but like many other face painters—Serge Lutens, Tyen, François Nars, and Kevyn Aucoin (whom he assisted)—taking photos, and sometimes starring in them, is how he makes his dreams a reality. “It gets frustrating when you have a vision in your head and you can’t bring [it] to life because nobody would shoot it, or it ends up being their vision,” Barose explained. In order to assume creative control, he took the lessons he learned at the International Center of Photography—and from working on the sets of Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Annie Leibovitz, and Patrick Demarchelier—eliminated the flaky models, and created a series of self-portraits in which he explores his Asian roots. “My grandfather was a well-known classical Thai dancer for King Rama VI and had his own troop,” he said. To make these exotic looks appear more authentic, he explored traditional methods of makeup application—opting for fingers and sticks over a bevvy of brushes. Here, the behind-the-scenes mainstay talks us through his time spent in front of the lens:
“I was inspired by the iconic image Monsoon Girl by photographer Brian Brake. I re-created it by using cream bronzer to make my skin more coppery—outdoorsy, like the kind of guy that’s out farming all day, every day—and a little bit of black kohl liner to make my eyes more exotic. The fake raindrops were created with a garden hose, and the bananas came from my parents’ backyard in Thailand.”
“I enjoy looking at photographs of sadhus [holy men] in India. They use only a few colors to paint their faces and all are from nature, like yellow, red, black, brown, and white—which usually come from cow dung and mud. I only used the palms of my hands, fingertips, and a few sticks to create this organic, earthy look.”
“Inspired by Red Boy by Steve McCurry—a photo of a boy at the Holi festival in India that appeared in National Geographic—I used my grandmother’s vintage teacup as a prop, as well as my dad’s ruby rings. The red face paint was actually MAC blush in Frankly Scarlet.”
“This is Princess Rojana and Prince Sung Thong from iconic Thai [folklore]. In this story, the prince has a beautiful golden body inside, but only a person worthy enough would see his true form—an ugly version is on display for everyone else. I interpreted this with gold face paint and the mask on top. Princess Rojana sees the prince’s true [self], so she threw a garland at him and chose Sung Thong as her husband. I had to drape that costume a certain way so that it would cover my bicep and make my arm appear more feminine!”
“I love looking at my grandparents’ vintage portraits. They got all dressed up and posed properly—sometimes with props like flowers, a fan, etc. For this portrait, I painted a unibrow, like in an old Indian painting. I lit it very specifically so the sparks in my eyes mimic the sparks in the earring.”
When one thinks of Murray Hill, an East Side neighborhood in Manhattan that extends from 34th to 40th Streets, the word hip isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind. Kim Vu, owner of Bristle + Crème—a recently opened full-service salon on Third Avenue that offers everything from cuts to color to facials—set out to change all that (alongside Comme des Garçons, which moved in just an avenue and block over). Her story doesn’t begin in beauty; instead, Vu started out in an industry that couldn’t be more different: finance. As an investment banking consultant, she knows a thing or two about building a business, but as far as wielding a curling iron or providing a bikini wax, she leaves that to the pros who fill the new, two-story space. “I let my creative people be as creative as they want to be,” she said.
There are some things, however, that bridge the gap between bankers and those with a more bohemian spirit—such as artisanal coffee, music, art, and spa treatments. And Bristle + Crème has all of them. “I never felt comfortable in a salon; I wanted a place to hang out,” Vu explained. By day, hairstylists share the main floor with baristas, but by night, it easily transforms into a gallery, dance floor, or concert hall where champagne and wine are free-flowing. The canvases that hang on the walls come courtesy of emerging local artists and rotate every three months. Deejays and bands are invited once a month to spin/play after hours, and there’s even talk of having silent theater on the second level. It may seem like a hodgepodge of haircare, caffeine, and creativity, but a melting pot that brings fashion types (like her close friends Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs of Cushnie et Ochs) and buttoned-up business execs together is exactly what Vu had in mind. “That’s NYC, right?” she quipped. Right.
416 Third Avenue, New York, NY, (212) 685-9475; bristleandcreme.com.
Buying special gifts for everyone on your list is a complete waste of time. No really, it’s not just me being Grinch-y; science says so. Not to rain on anyone’s holiday shopping parade, but according to a recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, agonizing over thoughtful presents (a phenomenon known as “over-individuation”) to put under the tree doesn’t necessarily make the receiver any happier than if you had bought a gift card at the checkout and called it a day. All that time spent wandering the aisles in an attempt to find something unique is actually selfish, and, ultimately, this is the season of giving. So do yourself (and those you love) a favor: Buy multiples of a thing all will enjoy, like, say, a good hair day. Fekkai partnered with accessory guru Jennifer Behr to put together a kit complete with the mane master’s cult-favorite volumizing shampoo, conditioner, and a limited-edition jeweled headband (seen here) that is the crowning glory to any New Year’s Eve ensemble. And at $29.99 each, buying in bulk won’t break the bank.
Available at Target.