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6 posts tagged "Haider Ackermann"

High-Strung Brows, Backstage at Haider Ackermann


haider-ackermann“Simplistically complicated” was the oxymoron Eugene Souleiman used to describe the sleek, sculptural heads at Haider Ackermann. “We’re looking at hair as a medium and a fabric, not a hairstyle.” A wig wrap was crafted before a black cap was slipped over top. Next, three black hair bands were interspersed with three ultrasmooth hair extensions glued on from various directions. The end result—”Constantin Brancusi meets Greta Garbo”—wasn’t necessarily where Souleiman started. “I’ve done four fittings for this show. When the collection changes, I change—and I changed at two this morning,” he explained just a few hours later, coffee in hand.

“Everything in this collection is quite big and can be interpreted as slightly heavy, and I don’t want the beauty to feel that way.” This was the brief face painter Yadim received from Ackermann. The ultimate solution: “brows that feel as if they are being lifted by tape.” The makeup artist borrowed bolts of taupe and black elastic string from Souleiman to craft quite expressive arches. It was one of the first elements he noticed upon looking at reference pictures of “eccentric society women somewhere in the realm of Diana Vreeland” with the designer. “They all had these smug brows,” he noted. “Cold” skin served as the backdrop for this defining feature, which involved taking both lighter and darker complexions to extremes. “Haider was obsessed with the girls looking pale,” he noted, which was done using MAC Face and Body Foundation in 1 and 2. On the flip side, girls with darker skin tones had their complexions deepened with Studio Finish Skin Corrector in a chocolate shade tinged with blue—similar to “Alek Wek shot by Herb Ritts in the nineties, or Grace Jones.”


Severe Weather Calls for Equally Severe Eyes


kel-markeyIt may be a balmy 33 degrees today in New York City (a heat wave in comparison to the below-freezing temps created by the polar vortex), but you’ll still have to bundle up to brave the great outdoors. Here to offer some beauty inspiration to pair with your multiple layers is model Kel Markey in a recent editorial from the January issue of Vogue Taiwan. A graphic gray cat-eye, reminiscent of the angular wing seen at Haider Ackermann for Spring 2014, is striking—especially when framed by an extra-large collar and fuzzy Alexander Wang hat.

Photo: Vogue Taiwan

“Sexy, Assertive, Bad-Attitude” Blondes, Backstage At Haider Ackermann


The hair at Haider Ackermann sort of stopped you in your tracks backstage. Pieces of platinum strands were floating in the air as Eugene Souleiman trimmed hand-dyed, white-gold wigs that were left black at the root to resemble natural grow-out. “It’s an unnatural blond, a fifties blond,” he said of the specific bleached-to-oblivion color he had been working on for the past three days, in preparation for this show. The idea came from the Marilyn Monroe soundtrack playing as models took to the catwalk, but clearly the bombshell’s familiar set would not have worked here. “That’s what Haider is about: challenging your perception of what you think is beautiful,” Souleiman explained of why he tweaked the retro color with “techniques of now.” Using a boatload of Wella Professionals Ocean Spritz Beach Texture Spray, Souleiman applied a dusty, matte texture through the lengths, which he fashioned into a thick bun in the back while adding spiky extensions to top and leaving natural hair visible underneath. “We actually colored the roots with felt tip pens,” he explained of the dark base that was meant to stand out in stark contrast to the army of “sexy, assertive, bad attitude” flaxen-haired beauties. “It’s sort of like an alternative Daphne Guinness,” Souleiman suggested, referencing the heiress’ signature skunk streak style.

Lucia Pieroni was on support staff essentially, working on a makeup look that played to the hair. Using black eyeshadow to blend the hairline into the skin, which had been prepped with MAC Face and Body Foundation, Pieroni went heavy on MAC’s illuminating Strobe Cream and its neutral Cream Color Base in Groundwork that she layered across lids, underneath the lash line, and on the tops of cheeks for a “hallowed” look. “[Haider] actually showed me a picture of James Dean,” Pieroni said, name-dropping another 1950s icon and dotting the face with MAC’s Mixing Medium in Shine to create a glossy finish. “Feral” arches that were brushed, built up with its Brow Quad, and topped and with mascara “to make them more werewolf-y,” brought a certain strength to the face.

Photo: Luca Cannonieri /

Purple Lips And “Sumo Hair For Women,” Backstage At Haider Ackermann


“There’s no mental masturbation with me; it’s instinct,” Stéphane Marais said straight-faced backstage at Haider Ackermann this morning when asked about that purple lip. “It’s right for the collection,” Marais asserted, “and a refreshment from all the red you have seen”—which was not untrue. Reds, corals, and pinks we have seen this season; an iridescent violet mouth, not so much.

“It could have been a disaster, but it works,” he continued of the unusual pout color, which, it should be noted, did have a way about it: When we walked into the backstage area of Paris’ POPB on Boulevard de Bercy, we crossed paths with Irina Kravchenko, whose mouth flashed with an indigo sheen in the spotlights erected backstage. That was thanks to a finger-patting of MAC Pigment in Violet, which boasts flecks of blue and lavender shimmer. “The more you polish it, the more it shows,” Marais said of the powder that he was rubbing into a mix of MAC Chromagraphic Lip Pencil in Rich Purple and its Lipmix in Burgundy. What kept the striking shade from looking “ugly,” in Marais’ estimation, was that the rest of the face was kept pure. Skin was given a light treatment of MAC Face and Body Foundation, with a sweep of its luminescent Cream Colour Base in Shell across cheekbones, while eyes got a dusting of its Iridescent Powder in Silver Dusk right at the lash line to create an almost wet effect. Ackermann wanted the brows to look “nervous,” so Marais obliged him by diminishing the natural arch with a line of MAC Eyeshadows in Coquette, Concrete, and Brun, creating a straight shape akin to “the wing of a bird,” according to Marais. “It’s very rock, but chic, chic, chic,” he surmised.

For his part, Wella global artistic director Eugene Souleiman set to fixing slicked-back coifs that segued into a ponytail that was folded over itself and tied into three different sections. “It’s sumo hair for women,” he explained, pointing out that the high-shine, abstract shape complimented Ackermann’s collection. “He makes women look very handsome,” Souleiman continued, while squashing Wella Texture Touch Reworkable Clay into roots and spritzing its Shimmer Delight Shine Spray through lengths for glisten. “I am a serious lover of this look,” the super stylist said. He most certainly wasn’t the only one.

Photo: Luca Cannonieri/

Backstage At Haider Ackermann: “What Hair Would Look Like If Jackson Pollock Was A Hairdresser”


Every season, there are a few shows that jar us out of any complacency that may have set in after three straight weeks of work and traveling, and make us open your weary eyes wide in awe, even at 7:30 in the morning. On a Saturday. Today we had such an awakening. “It’s all about this kind of apparition feeling—not ghosts but irrealism,” makeup artist Stéphane Marais said backstage at Haider Ackermann, where he created otherworldly pale, transparent skin using a particularly off-kilter method: “I’m doing a clay mask and breaking it off with a brush,” he explained.

And so, models took coffee and wandered back and forth from the dressing room wearing full, powdery face masks that Marais literally mixed with water on-site and painted on, allowing them to harden before he swept them off, rather than removing them with a damp washcloth. “All of the silhouettes [of the clothes] are strong, but I love the mix of strong with fragile,” he said, elaborating on the rationale behind the paled-out complexions that he ran by Ackermann on a casual meeting of minds. “We’re neighbors,” Marais said of the designer. “I went over to his house and we realized that every girl was going to have one outfit.” To play up that individuality, Marais also added a custom-colored lip that ranged from coral to red to fuchsia to violet to plum, using MAC Lip Pencils in Vino, Spice, and Night Moth topped with its Lipstick in Rebel, a deep berry, or Vegas Volt, a bright orange-red. Eyes were sculpted through the socket with MAC Eyebrows in Lingering while lids were shaded with a blend of its Mixing Mediums Shine and Cream Color Base in Bronze for a glossy, gilded effect that juxtaposed the texture of the matte lip and velvety skin. Marais’ unique face-painting effort had a dual purpose too. “When [the girls] leave and wash off the mask, their skin will be baby soft!”

Eugene Souleiman’s “roughest, rawest, ugliest” hair that was purposely made to look “unhealthy” was presumably less of a treat to deal with postshow. “[The hair] is meant to seem like it’s evolved—maybe it’s been bleached, then it was dyed black, and then we added a little bronze,” he explained. Prepping strands with Wella Professionals Ocean Spritz Beach Texture Hairspray, Souleiman gathered the lengths into a ponytail brushing a halo of baby hair forward, before he sprayed a black aerosol hair color all over the roots and across the ponytail itself in a “nonchalant way.” Then, after securing a messy, “raw” knot that he literally just smashed onto the head and pinned down haphazardly, Souleiman brushed the baby hairs backward, sprayed the ends with a silver hair color, and then painted them in stripes of creamy metallic bronze makeup. “It’s what the hair would look like if Jackson Pollock was a hairdresser,” he surmised of the style. “It’s not about thinking about it, it’s about gestures, and the grand gesture here is: I don’t care.”

Photo: Luca Cannonieri /