23 posts tagged "Balmain"
Balmain is often associated with words like embellishment, sharp lines, and a certain rock ‘n’ roll sex appeal that it evokes thanks in large part to the stellar lineup of hard-to-get models the French house regularly enlists for its runway shows each season. What it’s less known for are hairpieces, but artificial strands have been a lucrative part of the company’s business since the sixties. “When Balmain started as an haute couture house, they started with wigs,” says Linda Dekkers-de Oude, Balmain Hair’s business development manager. “We went from wigs to extensions and from extensions to ready-to-wear [hairpieces]—things that are easy to blend,” adds Richard Guliker, the brand’s aRt&D director and the son of Dick Guliker, a hair pioneer who inked the original beauty deal with Pierre Balmain 38 years ago.
“It’s very big in Europe,” Guliker insists of the house’s lesser-known hair arm, although he’s hoping to expand its stateside presence by joining forces with Michael Angelo’s Wonderland beauty parlor in New York. “Linda was nice enough to let me dive into the archive and curate a collection that made sense for Wonderland,” says Angelo, who just started carrying the brand’s new Clip-In Fringe at his model-favorite Meatpacking District salon, as well as a selection of clip-in colored and highlighted add-ons. “What I did with their archive is think about what do people constantly beg me for: I want bangs but I don’t want to cut my hair; I want a pink streak but my mother’s going to kill me; or I want volume,” Angelo continues, explaining the new Clip-In Couture service he has dreamed up as a result of the partnership. “It’s like a couture appointment. You come in and we talk about what you want it to be, then I’ll call Balmain, say these are the shades we need, these are the number of pieces we need, they ship it to me and then you’ll come back 48 hours later, we’ll put the hair on the head, place it, show you where to place it, and cut and color it if we need to.”
“It’s not about adding piles of [fake] length,” Angelo is quick to point out about the Balmain Hair difference, which boasts incredibly natural textures and tones rather than an immediately recognizable synthetic look. “It’s like the perfect makeup application, that ‘is she or isn’t she’ [quality],” he elaborates—a quality that has also impressed backstage regular Sam McKnight, who often employs the subtle strands to catwalkers’ hair at Olivier Rousteing’s (and Christophe Decarnin’s before him) seasonal collections, according to Guliker. The fake-hair stigma, both men assert, is long overdue for an overhaul, and the creation of a professional service to help educate consumers on the art of going faux just may be its best chance for redemption yet.
Wonderland Beauty Parlor, 418 W. 13th St., New York, NY 10014; (212) 524-2800.
After three weeks of nonstop shows, we are entering the home stretch of the Spring season—which means excitement and exhaustion are both at a high. “The girls are getting tired, the skin is getting tired. You can start having little damages,” Tom Pecheux said of battle-worn complexions backstage at Balmain. Although you wouldn’t have guessed that models here had been in New York—or London and Milan for that matter. “The key word is fresh,” Pecheux said of the natural look he designed for Olivier Rousteing’s presentation. “And skincare.”
“It’s the only thing we can do—it’s the only thing you have to do with this look,” Pecheux elaborated of what amounted to “50 percent makeup, 50 percent skincare,” in his estimation. Starting with a triple-threat massage using his standard mix of Rodin Olio Lusso, Estée Lauder Daywear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Cream, and its Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator, Pecheux built a base using either KETT Cosmetics Hydro Foundation or Estée Lauder Double Wear Light mixed with MAC Strobe Liquid for a dewy finish. Eyes were given a highlight with a dusting of MAC’s Eyeshadow Quad in Caramel Sundae. “I’m lazy,” Pecheux joked, sweeping his brush across the peach, yellow, champagne, and bronze palette to pick up a little bit of each shade. Brows were groomed individually—”Iselin has bleached brows and we filled them in. [Juliana Schurig] has bleached brows that we left; Mila has a thin line so we’re adding color not to increase darkness but to increase size, and Manon, she’s new so her eyebrows are virgin. We’re not building them up”—and lips and cheeks were treated to a touch of muted color from MAC’s forthcoming spring 2013 Lip Palette. To give lashes definition without leaving behind visible product, Pecheux “tinted” them using an interesting technique in which he dipped an angled brush into his trusty tube of MAC Haute and Naughty Mascara and hand-painted each hair.
For hairstylist Sam McKnight, the key word was Sade. “She was a starting point,” he said of the eighties singing sensation who made hoop earrings and a slicked-back braid part of her R&B act’s signature. Blowing hair dry with hair spray to create texture, McKnight secured lengths in a ponytail, created a simple, three-strand braid, and tied it off with another elastic at the end. “I wanted it to look like I wasn’t there,” he elaborated of the style’s ease, which necessitated some “little bits” around the front to make it appear more lived in. McKnight also threw around the word “grunge,” as most people have this season, but emphasized that it’s a “new grunge” that we’ve been seeing. “It’s a healthier grunge. It’s not dirty; it’s more natural.”
The Balmain beauty look is pretty much as consistent as it gets—which is to say you’re never going to see a statement lip and an avant-garde eyeliner application here. Hair and makeup with a little rock chick, devil-may-care-attitude is more like it. “It’s even rawer than we’ve ever done this season,” Sam McKnight said of Fall’s slightly texturized strands that, for the most part, he wasn’t really tinkering with. “I do need clean hair,” he emphasized, starting with a good lathering of Pantene Pro-V Repair and Protect Shampoo, which he followed with little else. “For the girls with super-dry and frizzy hair, we’re using Magic Move,” he said, producing a jar of the Japanese hair wax that imparts a piece-y, smooth finish. “But for most girls, we’re not doing anything at all!”
Tom Pecheux’s face-painting effort was meant to look similarly modest, although even the barest of makeup looks benefits from an expert’s hand. “The collection was inspired by Fabergé eggs—so true luxury,” Pecheux explained of Olivier Rousteing’s clothes, which compelled him to keep things simple as a way of balancing out the extravagance. “Skincare is very important [with a look like this],” Pecheux explained of the toned, well-moisturized base, to which he applied select swipes of concealer where needed, as well as a “veil” of contour and a concentrated swipe of powder along the T-zone to control shine. “Balmain always gets the 25 most beautiful girls in the world, so they don’t need much,” Pecheux admitted. The one place that he did use purposeful pigment was on the brows, re-coloring the remaining few models who are still bleached from Milan and filling in sparse areas with a two-pronged approach. “The pencil corrects the holes if there are any, and the mascara paints every single hair and keeps them in the right place,” he elaborated, dipping a clean wand into light brown, dark brown, or black mascara tubes to color-match each individual model. “Even if she’s undone, she still needs to look polished.”
Last night, while we were online-stalking a few of the shows here in Paris (sometimes poring over pictures from the presentations —in addition to attending them in person—is a must), we noticed something interesting. While most models have had their their brows dyed back after Pat McGrath’s bleaching spree in Milan—some by McGrath herself backstage at Dolce & Gabbanna—Aymeline Valade has opted to stay the brow-less course. Even as Martine Sitbon’s side-parted gaggle of girls worked their way down the Rue du Mail runway last night, arches intact, Aymeline opted to go all-forehead.
“It’s a technical issue,” the French beauty told us this morning at Balmain, where she let Tom Pecheux redraw her brows (more on that in a bit). “When you bleach them and then color them and then you have to bleach them back, the concentration of chemicals is very bad for the skin and the hairs—they fall off! I have very fragile hair that’s easily broken, so as soon as they bleach them, I just leave them like that until the very end of fashion week.” It’s a stance that Valade stays strong on, too; not only does she choose to not recolor her brows during the shows, she doesn’t recolor them afterwards either. “I prefer to let them grow in naturally and the color comes back [by itself]. It usually takes two months.” It’s a question of quality as well. “If I color them back, I won’t get the perfect shape because you end up coloring the baby hairs, the blond ones. I did it one season—color, bleach, color, bleach—and since then, the density of my eyebrows is a lot less. And I like thick eyebrows because they fit my style.” As far as the risk of a patchy grow-out phase is concerned, Aymeline isn’t that worried. “I don’t really care. It’s funny; I see the reaction of people in the street—a lot of people ask me, ‘Is it normal?’ And I’m like, ‘No, it’s just a fashion thing.’ “
The androgynous stunner is fairly nonchalant about her beauty look in general. “Outside of the shows, I don’t make myself up at all. It’s just easier that way because if you always make yourself up, and then you need to do something more, what can you do? I prefer to keep it cool and when I have to do something, I just put on a little mascara,” she explains of her less-is-more approach, which is a reference to the laid-back stylings of her countrywoman and beauty icon, Charlotte Gainsbourg. “You know, very natural,” she emphasizes. The catwalker is more specific about skincare, though, and has one face-saving tip that even blew our mind. “I wash my face a lot and the last step is always clear water—not from the tap, from the bottle.” Quoi? “It’s the purest water I can find,” she says of the bottled spring water she pours onto a cotton pad and then glides over her enviable cheekbones. Does Aymeline have a specific brand that she prefers to others? She sure does. “Volvic is the best—Volvic and Evian.” Commence nationwide Volvic shortage right about…now.
“When we went to the fitting, there was a slight Spanish influence,” hairstylist Sam McKnight said of Olivier Rousteing’s first full-scale runway collection for Balmain. “But the rock ‘n’ roll element is always there,” he added of the house’s archetypical girl, who seemed unwilling to give up her mattified locks and black-rimmed lids for Spring, no matter who happened to be at the design helm. Translated into hair terms, this meant “something sexy that’s not too severe but also sophisticated,” which equaled a smoothed-back ponytail—just as it did last season, although today’s look featured a higher, slightly more kempt rendition of Fall’s low-lying, looser style. “It’s still got that ‘Balmain texture,’ though,” McKnight explained of the “natural, not straight and not wavy” quality of the lengths, which were coated with a little bit of Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect Serum.
Famed facepainter Tom Pecheux’s first order of business before he started in on “makeup leftovers”—an endearing term he coined for that worn-in, smudged look pigments take on after a night of hard partying—was a thorough facial massage with Rodin Olio Lusso, Estée Lauder DayWear Plus Multi Protection Anti-Oxidant Creme, and its Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher. “Massage is part of the makeup. It gives the girls a little bit of a break,” Pecheux explained as an appreciative Carmen Kass beamed from his chair. Applying a “little layer” of MAC Face and Body foundation “mostly for the HD cameras,” Pecheux transitioned into what he called the “new evolution” of the Balmain woman. “Usually, we do a rosy cheek, but now, we’re into contour,” he explained, using MAC Sculpting Powder in Taupe to slightly carve out definition. Then came the “makeup leftovers,” which Pecheux served up by lining the lower waterline with MAC Eye Pencil in Coffee and placing its black, Smolder shade in between upper lashes before blending the strokes with his fingertip. MAC X Mascara in Dark Brown and a naturally filled in brow completed the face. “Above all, the Balmain girl is self-confident, and full brows read power,” Pecheux declared.