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27 posts tagged "Balmain"

“Fresh” Skin And Smooth Operator-Style Hair, Backstage At Balmain


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.”

Photo: Luca Cannonieri /

“Undone But Polished” Beauty, Backstage At Balmain


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.”

Bleached Brows And Spring Water: “It’s Just A Fashion Thing”


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.

Photo: Luca Cannonieri / Go

“The New evolution of the Balmain woman,” Backstage At Balmain


“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.

Photo: Luca Cannonieri /

Talking Undercuts With Freja Beha Erichsen, Supermodel And Activist


As we made our way around the steamy backstage area at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hôtel for Balmain this afternoon, we spotted something unexpected as models meandered around makeup artist Tom Pecheux and coiffing star Sam McKnight’s respective stations (more on that in a bit)—namely one Freja Beha Erichsen. Erichsen skipped New York, London, and Milan for Spring, making Balenciaga her season opener earlier this morning. And not only was Erichsen there, in the flesh, about to get her hair done, but she was rocking a freshly shaved undercut. “Sam did it for me,” Freja said when we inquired about the eighties-era punk mainstay that’s having a bit of a moment of late. “He did it a couple of months ago but just touched it up today. It’s complicated stuff,” she joked of the style that simply requires a razor and a devil-may-care attitude. It turns out Erichsen wanted to talk about the complicated stuff. “I’m trying to get everyone to donate a day’s salary on October 4 to Doctors Without Borders,” the Danish stunner told about a charity initiative she has taken up. “I’ve always admired what they do around the world as first responders—and in some cases the only responders,” she added. Visit to learn more about the cause and sign the petition to donate now.