36 posts tagged "Alexander Wang"
Many of the big questions surrounding the Fall shows were answered this morning when Alexander Wang presented his first collection as the newly named creative director of the house of Balenciaga. How’d he fair? Pretty well, where this site is concerned. Our own Nicole Phelps called the debut a “sure-footed start” for the man who replaced the inimitable Nicolas Ghesquière. But what about the man who replaced the inimitable Guido Palau? After years of helming the hair here, Palau was curiously missing from the backstage fray, replaced by strands superstar, Julien d’Ys. An editorial mainstay who is on constant rotation in American Vogue and whose backstage engagements are typically limited to Comme des Garçons shows, d’Ys was called up by Wang for his Paris premiere to deliver a sleek hair wrap accessorized with a gauzy black swathe of fabric. It was a coiffing coup of sorts, made that much more interesting by the fact that Palau created nearly the same look at Nina Ricci a mere matter of hours later, albeit with a softer finish and a Peter Copping-designed black knit band. What does it all mean? Not all that much, save for the fact that Wang and Palau are likely on a similar wavelength, which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering the Redken creative consultant has been charged with hairstyling duties backstage at Wang’s New York show essentially since he started out six years ago. It merely adds up to a funny bit of coincidence that has mounted some extra intrigue, as if this show needed any more.
Fall 2013 marks a season of firsts for Alexander Wang. In addition to showing his debut collection for the house of Balenciaga in Paris next month, he also moved his namesake show to a brand-new financial district venue in New York. It may be a new year, but backstage, it was pretty much the same Wang. “It’s still his girl,” Diane Kendal contended. “There’s no real color in the face.” In its place was NARS Single Eyeshadow in Lhasa, a steely gray, that Kendal dragged through the crease of the lid, using its forthcoming greasy Eye Paint in Transversal, a dark slate, to beef up brows and diffuse the shadow into a soft wash for a “hooded effect.”
While a dearth of catwalking superstar surprises generated a bit of backstage buzz among a crowd used to seeing the likes of Gisele Buündchen, Shalom Harlow, Carmen Kass, and Liberty Ross take to Wang’s runway, the Ukrainian stunner who opened his show last season still appeared to be very much on his mind. “It’s based on Irina’s hair color,” Guido Palau said of Irina Kravchenko’s henna-treated “cognac” strands that he implemented on every girl with a custom-dyed ponytail extension, courtesy of the Whittemore House’s Larry Raspanti. “Alex really wanted a pop of color,” Palau explained as he pulled lengths into a sleek updo, coating the top section of hair with Redken Hardwear 16 Super Strong Sculpting Hair Gel as he went. “It’s quite futuristic,” he continued of the two-tone style, which served to unify the models into a roving tribe of Irinas. “The fakeness of it clones them a bit,” Palau added of the color’s effect. Then, right before models hit the runway, he coated razor-cut ends with Redken’s forthcoming Diamond Oil Shatterproof Shine Intense for a multidimensional glossiness, which was evident even underneath the medieval-hoods-come-hats that models like Julia Nobis, Jamie Bochert, and Juliana Schurig wore down the runway.
Following two seasons of platinum blonde loyalty and a Fall outing that made shades of deep brunette the runway hair hue du jour, the Spring 2013 shows are at a little bit of a color impasse. Castings have been relatively equal opportunity, with a lot of designers—Alexander Wang and Roberto Cavalli to name a few—requesting deliberately dark and light-haired models for the corresponding black and white sections of their presentations; Marc Jacobs, who ushered in the graphic trend with his Edie Sedgwick sixties salute, went as far as to have Laurie Foley take models black or white-gold, accordingly. Which is why it’s been hard to miss Irina Kravchenko. The Ukrainian newcomer who, despite opening Wang’s show, had a slow start in New York is killing it in Europe—not least because she remains one of the only redheads in this season’s catwalking crew. After staring at her from afar at Prada, Bottega Veneta, Jil Sander, Marni, and Roberto Cavalli this week, we finally managed to get the scoop on those gorgeous ginger-auburn locks—despite some initial trouble understanding one another (beauty is an international language, don’t you know). “It’s blonde naturally,” Kravchenko revealed after we maniacally pointed and gestured to her hair (then ours). The word “salon” helped solicit the revelation that she has no need for one, as she does her dyeing herself with—get this—”chenna.” Henna? “Chenna—from grass,” Kravchenko reiterated. That’s right; those rich, show-stopping strands are the result of an at-home application of the plant that has long been used to dye fabrics, skin, nails—and hair. The style set’s superstar colorists are no doubt chomping at the bit to get their hands on this one.
The supermodel surprise that caused more than a few oohs and ahs backstage at Alexander Wang last season was notably missing for Spring, save for a catwalk cameo from Erin Wasson. But there was still plenty of shock value in the catacombs of Pier 94. Following the Kristen Stewart affair scandal that dragged her name through the international tabloids, Liberty Ross was getting ready for the runway; then there were those strips of scalp tape.
“It’s severe and simple-looking,” Guido Palau suggested of the pieces of black—and, in some cases, glow-in-the-dark white—electrical adhesive he stuck to slicked-down middle parts. “It looks more futuristic and takes [the style] to another level so it’s not too simple,” he continued of the accessory he added to a classically placed low ponytail that he prepped with Redken Satinwear 02 Ultimate Blow Dry Lotion, adding a slight bend to the lengths with Sultra’s The Bombshell oval curling iron. Enhancing the modern, otherworldly feel were fingers painted with two coats of Dune, the neutral beige that is part of Wang’s latest collaboration with Sally Hansen (which also includes White Out, a sheer alabaster), and about ten sets of bleached brows, purposely lightened by L’Atelier de Laurie’s Laurie Foley, and modeled by the show’s blond closers including Iselin Steiro, Magdalena Frackowiak, and Daria Strokous.
The makeup was “bold, strong, and sexy”—words we imagine Diane Kendal has all but memorized after seven-plus seasons of building up Wang’s signature “boyish” brows and not much else. Her focus was on arches again this season. Using NARS Eyeshadow in Blondie or Bali to create depth and thickness after treating complexions to a slathering of NARSskin Optimal Brightening Concentrate and a light coat of its Sheer Glow Foundation, Kendal dusted the high points of models’ faces with its new-for-Spring Light Reflecting Setting Powder. Simulating a slight flush with NARS Blush in Zen, she continued, contouring lids with its Cream Eyeshadow in Cayenne, a rich milk chocolate. Then Kendal did something that is gaining popularity for Spring: She skipped the mascara altogether, because glossy black lashes “make you look more pedestrian and normal,” she said. And the intrigue mounts.
There are t-minus four weeks until New York fashion week gets under way, and already we’ve got some breaking backstage beauty news for you. After a longstanding partnership with MAC, it appears as though Alexander Wang has chosen NARS as his makeup sponsor for Spring 2013. What does it all mean at a show where the words “boyish” and “brows” often come into play? That Wang’s favorite face painter, Diane Kendal, will likely be relying on a slew of NARS’ expert brown and mauve pigments and pencils when she reinterprets Wang’s flair for “that balance between sexy and androgynous” for Spring. Stay tuned.