July 29 2014

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61 posts tagged "Sam McKnight"

EXCLUSIVE: Backstage At Chanel Couture, Peter Philips Updates The Classics


The idea behind the beauty look for Chanel’s Fall Couture show started as it always does. “I just got a sketch,” the brand’s creative director of makeup, Peter Philips, told us last week when we had the pleasure of chatting with him about Miroir, Miroir, his latest video vignette starring a range of Chanel products. The sketch expressed Karl Lagerfeld’s inspiration for the show: new vintage. “I took some [basics] and twisted them in subtle way,” Philips says of his approach, which focused on familiar makeup elements—a smoky eye, an eyeliner and blush application, a French manicure—made modern.

Starting with a clean base, the face painter concentrated most of his attention on lids, crafting a “blue/gray metallic eye” that began with a dusting of Chanel Ombre Essentielle Soft-Touch Eyeshadow in Furtif that Philips swept across the upper lash line through the crease and dragged underneath the lower lash line. To that, he applied a thick, “bulky” scrawl of black liner, which he topped off with a few swipes of Chanel Inimitable Mascara in Black and an etching of its Kohl Liner in Clair, a pale beige, that he traced along the inner rims to open the eyes a bit. Blending a swirl of Chanel Joues Constraste Blush in Rose Initial onto the apples of models’ cheeks, albeit “a bit higher than usual,” Philips finished the face with a neutral pout that he framed with its Lip Liner in Natural and filled in with its Rouge Allure lipstick in Evanescente.

The show’s theme was best realized through Sam McKnight’s silver-lined, forties-era hair nets and the nails, where Philips took the idea of the classic French manicure and gave it a touch of now, thus ushering in Chanel’s first foray into fashion’s continued embrace of the nail art revival. “When we were playing around with the idea of doing a nail polish, we evoked the idea of using two shades on one nail,” Philips explained, employing a discontinued chrome color that launched in 2007 to outline the entire nail bed, rather than just the tip, which had been lacquered with two coats of May, a melon varnish from the Spring 2012 show. “[New vintage] is…preparation for something that could last,” Lagerfeld explained to our intrepid runway reporter following the show, which we’ll take as a sign that nail art isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. At least now we have a new design to challenge our manicurist with.

Photo: Luca Cannonieri /

The New Aggy


With all the recent talk of Fall’s severe brunette dye job, fashion’s former obsession with blond strands—of the platinum and honey variety—seems to have taken a backseat. But the industry’s reigning queen of the peroxide bottle has made us take notice of the fairer hue once again. Since Sam McKnight famously cut Agyness Deyn’s hair into a spiky pixie and colored it a shade of white cornsilk, thus coining the original “Aggy,” the British beauty has dabbled in all manner of hair alter egos: There was the black bob and the pseudo mohawk-plus-fade, before Deyn got real crafty and shaved her head clean. The last year has seen the former catwalker go back to platinum while growing her locks into a uniform, chin-grazing length. But this month, she’s warmed things up with a true golden tone, which was on display at last night’s Jameson Empire Awards in London. We’ve always been of the mind that Deyn wears platinum with the best of them, but her latest spin on the color wheel seems to suit her just fine. Do you agree?

Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Jameson; Tommaso Boddi/WireImage

The Girl With The Chanel Fine Jewelry In Her Hair


It goes without saying that we wish were in Tokyo for last night’s cocktail, dinner, and Chanel Haute Couture reprise that went on in Japan’s capital for a select group of Karl Lagerfeld’s friends and fans who were able to make the trip. Not only do we live for the spectacle that is Tokyo—its bustling shops, over-the-top hotels, and unreal fish markets—but it just so happens that we loved Lagerfeld’s Spring Couture stewardess homage the first time we saw it, back in January. But maybe not as much as his Métiers d’Art pre-fall collection, which we still dream about four months later (please allow us to direct your attention to looks 41 and 64, if you need a little refresher course)—which is why it was hard to miss French-Spanish actress Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, who selected look 65 off that Raj-inspired runway for the evening’s festivities. As we pored over images of the Pirates of the Caribbean star’s dress, we noticed that while she eschewed Peter Philips’ dark, kohl-rimmed eyes from the show, she did incorporate Sam McKnight’s bejeweled hairstyle. Rather than work one of the large-scale pieces of Chanel Fine Jewelry that McKnight clipped into model’s dreaded locks back in December, Bergès-Frisbey selected a long string of gold and lavender crystal orbs, which she wound through a long, tousled, side-slung braid. Her off-the-catwalk interpretation only made us love the look that much more. Thoughts on her haute hair?

Photo: Courtesy of Chanel

Backstage At Chanel, “Browdazzling” Goes Big


Peter Philips is a makeup artist who likes to think outside the box—which is presumably how he scored his coveted role as Chanel’s creative director of makeup four years ago. The Belgian-born face painter became something of a household name after debuting a few off-kilter, on-trend shades of nail lacquer for the French house, but his body of work also includes its fair share of inventive application techniques, including the reoccurrence of 3-D, textural makeup. Philips incorporated this unique skill into handwoven eyelashes for Karl Lagerfeld’s Fall 2009 show; six seasons later, it’s all about the brow.

“The theme [of the show] is minerals—there are minerals coming out of the set!—so Karl made a sketch and he wanted minerals on the eye,” Philips explained, presenting a series of stone-encrusted rectangular mesh panels that he glued over models’ natural arches using a prosthetic adhesive. “We had to find a way to make it contemporary so it wasn’t like a cabaret thing,” he explained of the accessories, which led him to Lesage, the Paris-based embroidery atelier that helped turn Lagerfeld’s illustration into a reality. Creating a full-coverage base with Chanel Mat Lumière Fluid Foundation, Philips shaded lids and cheekbones with Notorious, a new eye shadow/blush hybrid from his forthcoming Les Essentiels de Chanel Fall collection, before pressing on the “brows” that came in variations of gray, green, pink, and purple. Why the elaborate embellished detail? “It’s a show, it’s a catwalk,” Philips responded, explaining that there should be room for some drama. “It also gives a uniformity,” he added, “an almost military effect, which makes it easier when you have so many girls because you have one line to do: shading and contouring and the eyebrows.” Philips’ soldiers also received two coats of his new Le Vernis de Chanel nail polish in Frenzy, a pale lilac-tinged greige, which will hit shelves in September along with Vertigo, the range’s darker hue.

“I want an army of Chanel girls,” Sam McKnight proclaimed of the uniformity he was also seeking with the hair, which manifest itself into a series of sleek ponytails. Citing a wealth of collars, McKnight wanted the hair to be up, but found that a chignon was “too madam.” Adding a severity to the style with a coat of shine-enhancing gel, he paraded around the backstage tent that had been erected at the Grand Palais to ensure that his team was gathering strands straight back into the elastic, rather than in an up or down direction. “I hate to use the word equestrian, but it’s got the strictness of a rider,” McKnight said of the precise execution, before doing himself one better and calling the aerodynamic look “the ponytail version of the Nike Swoosh.” He’d better get a copyright on that, stat.

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.”