6 posts tagged "Frida Giannini"
Like hemlines on a dress, you can often gauge the feeling of a season by the way Pat McGrath grooms an eyebrow. A bleaching proponent who is just as adept at sculpting full, bushy arches, McGrath is one of the industry’s best arbiters on beauty. So it goes without saying that we arrive backstage at Gucci every season—McGrath’s first big stop on what will be a whirlwind European tour—with high expectations. And they were met today, not because of what she did to brows, but what she didn’t do. “There were enough brows in New York,” the face painter said at Frida Giannini’s Spring show, leaving brows alone and referencing the minimalist, nineties beauty movement that reigned in Manhattan and required clean skin and beefed-up brows. “Let’s move on,” McGrath suggested, building a “strong eye” in contrast. “This is Milan. We’re not going to bore you with no makeup anymore.”
Applying a healthy dose of highlighter to cheekbones for a luxurious, luminous complexion, McGrath layered dark brown eye shadows and pencils across lids and underneath the lower lash line, focusing on an “almond, smoked-out” shape that anchored not one but two sets of false eyelashes. “It’s very Marisa Berenson but a little more natural,” said the woman known for applying upwards of ten lash sets to one model. The reference worked just fine for Luigi Murenu, who added seventies model and muse Maria Schiano to the inspirational mood board.
“It has a kind of sixties/seventies feeling to it—an Eastern, orientalist sophistication,” the coiffeur said of the Kiehl’s Clean Hold Styling Gel-slicked hair that he gathered into a low-slung knot at the nape of models’ necks. To give a sense of “structure and architecture” to the look, Murenu coated color-matched extensions with the same product and flat-ironed them so they resembled wooden panels, which he cut straight across and pinned into the base of the buns using John Frieda Frizz Ease Serum to smooth away errant strands. “Before they go out, they’re going to look like statues,” he surmised of the resulting stark uniformity.
Gucci creative director Frida Giannini is not your average fashion designer when it comes to adding beauty extensions to the Italian house’s lineup of luxury goods—which is to say she is very, very involved in the entire process. “She knows what she wants,” Sumit Bhasin, global director of research, development, and innovation at P&G Prestige, told me over the weekend in Venice, where he and the rest of Giannini’s partners in perfume had decamped to officially launch Gucci’s latest fragrance, Premiere, against the backdrop of the sinking city’s film festival. “It’s an exploration with Frida,” he continued, explaining that what Giannini was specifically exploring with the brand’s latest flacon was the world of white flowers and “glitz, but [nothing] over-the-top.”
The lily of the valley-heavy scent with subtle notes of sparkling bergamot, smoky leather, and woods subsequently came into being based on two explicit Giannini directives: that it be devoid of anything too saccharine, gourmand, and cloying (“Frida hates sweet notes”) and that it somehow translate as the spritzable equivalent of her couture collection of the same name, which launched at Cannes two years ago on the backs of Salma Hayek and Jennifer Connelly. “Gucci Premiere is about [dressing] the world’s most famous women for one special night,” Giannini reiterated at a dinner to fête the fragrance—its Nicolas Winding Refn-directed commercial and its famous face, Blake Lively—later that evening. “I was looking for a woman who could bring that glamour to life,” she continued of Lively, before the Savages star made a grand, live-broadcast entrance via water taxi. I caught up with Lively on a 48-hour Italian jaunt to talk the end of Gossip Girl, finding beauty inspiration on Pinterest, and why, when it comes to dressing for her own big premieres, she relies on Style.com (she said it; not us).
Following successful partnerships and friendships with brands like Chanel and Christian Louboutin, how did your collaboration with Gucci come about?
I actually met Frida [Giannini] at a couple of different Gucci charity events, then they approached me to work with them. It’s just so inspiring to see; she has so much on her plate—menswear, Premiere couture—she’s doing so much yet she still makes it a priority to be involved in charity every year, and when I saw that I just thought it was super cool. Frida is the best version of a woman. She’s got this strong, grounded, empowered masculine side and she also has that delicate, feminine, glamorous lush side. There are a lot of fashion houses that I’m aware of and that I admire for different reasons, but there’s very few that I would really want to work with and feel like I’m still myself. A lot of [brands], I feel like if I stepped into their world it wouldn’t be as me.
This perfume is about red-carpet moments, of which you’ve certainly had your fair share. How do you prep for your own premieres?
Honestly, I go on Style.com—it’s the truth! I don’t use a stylist so the way I find my looks is by going on Style.com and looking at the shows. My mom always made clothes and she’s great with design—clothes, home. So I grew up with that and having that understanding, going to flea markets with her and finding vintage pieces of furniture. It’s hunting for that special piece. I’m good at knowing what’s going to look good on my body and what colors are going to look good. It all started with Gossip Girl, really—doing all of those fittings for all of those episodes; we have nine looks an episode and 27 episodes a year! You learn how to do it quick.
The tale of Gucci’s famed Flora print is a pretty good one. As the story goes, Grace Kelly visited the Gucci boutique in Milan in 1966 with her husband, Prince Rainier of Monaco, and Rodolfo Gucci insisted that she take a gift with her in addition to the bamboo bag she purchased. When the Hollywood icon-turned-princess asked for a scarf, the designer took it upon himself to create a whole new pattern befitting a woman of her stature, thus begetting the multicolored floral print that has become a signature of the house. Gucci’s current creative director, Frida Giannini, revived the design via canvas bags in 2005, and this year sees its latest resurrection in fragrance form.
Riffing on Gucci’s 2009 Flora scent, a mélange of different blooms blended into a single bottle, Giannini has singled out every prized petal in the original Flora print and created single-note homages to each. The Flora Garden, as the collection of five perfumes is called, includes Gorgeous Gardenia, which blends red berries, pear, and brown sugar with the aromatic white flower; Gracious Tuberose, which pairs this most sensual of all blooms with hints of violet leaf, orange flower, and white cedarwood; Generous Violet, an ode to the pretty purple plant with orris extracts and a touch of suede; as well as Glorious Mandarin, which boasts a fresh burst of citrus tempered by peony and jasmine essences and the intriguing addition of a piña colada accord (it’s not just for tropical beverages anymore). And then there’s Glamorous Magnolia, the freesia and warm chocolate-spiked magnolia eau that happens to be a hit with Gucci Flora Garden face Abbey Lee Kershaw (click here to check out the platinum runway star’s other product essentials). Lovers of more unisex eaux be forewarned: All five flacons are unapologetically feminine. But there’s nothing wrong with getting a little girly—every once in a while.
Beholding the backstage scene at Gucci was something of a serious flashback—and we’re not just talking about the overt references to Surrealist artist Man Ray and Blondie front woman Debbie Harry. There was Pat McGrath, brow bleach in hand, calling to mind her blocked-out arches phase circa Fall 2009, when an all-forehead, all-the-time mandate swept the beauty establishment. While the makeup guru has since joined her face-painting cohorts in ushering the return of full, boyish brows, she wanted a “tougher, stronger look” for Frida Giannini’s 1920′s-skewed presentation—the better to showcase a series of “Art Deco, punk” raccoon eyes. Creating a flawless complexion, McGrath focused her energy on lids, lining the entire eye with Max Factor Kohl Pencil in Black to hold additional pigments like its Smoky Eye Effect Eyeshadow in Onyx Smoke, which was topped with a black shimmer shadow and multiple swipes of its Xperience Volume Mascara.
Like Paul Hanlon at Acne, hairstylist Luigi Murenu was captivated by that phase of life when Debby Harry had bleached-blond hair with black undertones. Conveniently, for Murenu, the new wave rocker’s skunk streaks corresponded well to Man Ray’s avant-garde black-and-white photography. Prepping strands with the John Frieda Luxurious Volume line, Murenu slicked hair back into two ponytails, tucking them underneath themselves and securing them with electrical tape at the base—a way more striking look than a boring old elastic. Then, he used a colored cream makeup to paint black streaks along sleek slide sections, reverting to a gold pigment to create a similar contrast on brunettes. The hair team at Alberta Ferretti was no doubt thrilled when models arrived for the next show.
Full disclosure: All the seventies/Studio 54 references for Spring have become a bit repetitive for us of late. But when that era-specific beauty is re-created with the kind of precision that we saw backstage at Gucci yesterday, it becomes new and exciting again; Jerry Hall and her cohorts could not ask for a more beautiful retrospective than the sleek, polished look makeup artist Pat McGrath and coif master Luigi Murenu churned out for the occasion. Coating models’ hair with John Frieda Frizz Ease Serum, Murenu created deep side parts and secured models’ tresses in ponytails with a leather band (that happened to match the handbags in the show), before braiding and twisting his plaits onto themselves for a coiled chignon. But the real punch came from a smokin’ hot, glossy red mouth that McGrath painted onto pouts with a brush dipped into a mixture of not one, not two, but three different scarlet pigments for the “orangey-red” color she felt was deserving of the navel-baring jumpsuits Frida Giannini sent down the runway. As to avoid making the girls look too “retro,” McGrath focused her attention on dewy skin, using CoverGirl’s as-yet-unreleased NatureLuxe Silk foundation (which she debuted backstage at Anna Sui) and a glossy eye, courtesy of a slick of Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream on top of metallic brown eye shadow. Finishing touches came in the form of CoverGirl’s LashBlast Fusion mascara and MAC Lacquer in Shirelle, a cherry red varnish applied to fingers and pedicured toes, which peeped out of crushed velvet and gold python strappy stilettos. In a word, swoon.