9 posts tagged "Topshop Unique"
The quintessential grounds of Regent’s University and the in-bloom rose gardens of Regent’s Park spoke of a very serene location for this season’s Topshop Unique show space. Backstage, however, told another story entirely.
It’s 2:15 and only five of the expected twenty-nine models have arrived so far. It’s only forty-five minutes until showtime. It’s bedlam.
Once the models did (finally) arrive, it was straight into the tanning tent, where skincare expert Nichola Joss was armed with St. Tropez Instant Tan Wash Off Face & Body Spray in Medium/Dark. “I’m going for a statement tan,” Joss said. “She’s a global girl and we want her to look like she has been [sunning] all summer.”
The world-traveler theme was echoed in the makeup, as well, where face painter Hannah Murray used a new Topshop matte bronzer (out for spring) to bronze and contour the girls’ faces. “We want her to look like she has just woken up on a beach somewhere—maybe Ibiza—after partying all night,” Murray explained. “Her makeup, applied the night before, is sultry and even a little decayed.” A brown gloss was painted over lids and a metallic silver pencil (also out for spring) was sketched into the inner corners of the eyes to play with textures. Mascara was kept just to the roots of lashes so the ends looked slightly lighter and sun-exposed, and a touch a plummy blush was dusted over the apples of the cheeks.
For hairstylist Anthony Turner, his inspiration was Daria Werbowy. “This season the Topshop girl is sexy, almost Amazonian-like, and definitely not as grungy and rock ‘n’ roll as she has been previous seasons,” he explained. “There’s more oomph and va-va-voom about her.” The oomph came courtesy of L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni Art Volume Lift Mousse and a one-and-a-half-inch curling iron. Hair was waved in random sections before a small amount of conditioner was scrunched in at the roots for a slightly wet look. And there you have the va-va-voom.
Audiences of the front-row (and digital) variety may have gathered en masse at the Tate Modern to see Topshop Unique’s Fall offerings, but spring was in the air backstage, thanks in large part to the uncharacteristically warm and sunny February London day. The euphoric feeling found its way to Hannah Murray’s makeup palette in the form of bright sky-blue eyes—a similar aqua to the one illustrated on lids in the popular Lichtenstein exhibit simultaneously on view at the museum.
“It’s called Solstice,” the Topshop makeup consultant said of the shadow, a shade from a new, as-yet-unreleased eye quad that she swept generously onto eyes, from lash line to brow bone. “An almond shape on the eyes can be both tough and ravishing at the same time. I’m calling it The Almond Panda,” Murray joked, using Topshop’s waterproof kohl liner in black along upper lids to keep the robin’s-egg color from looking “too ethereal.” Following this with multiple lashings of its mascara in black, Murray built a creamy and clean base with designated highlights and a slight flush, courtesy of Topshop’s Lip Cream in Smart.
L’Oréal Professionnel’s Anthony Turner took his cues for the hair from fashion’s favorite beauty icon. “The Topshop Unique girl is rebellious, unkempt, and very British. No one sums that up better than Kate Moss,” he explained, creating messy center parts with his fingertips before raking in L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni Art Pli and Full Volume Extra Mousse to get a soft, fluffy texture. “She’s a touch Kate Bush in the seventies, too,” Turner conceded as he employed his trusty Mason Pearson brush to add a cloud-like finish to the look.
Topshop Unique isn’t typically the first place you’d look for wearable hair and makeup looks that translate to everyday life. Few rushed to replicate the furry eyebrows and frizzy strands on offer at the Fall 2010 show, for example—or the Minnie Mouse noses circa Fall 2011. But under newly appointed creative director Kate Phelan, accessible has trumped kitsch for Fall 2012, in both the clothes and the beauty.
Light and feminine were the buzzwords Phelan gave her glam squad of makeup artist Hannah Murray, hair stylist Sam McKnight, and nail artist Anatole to suitably off-set a collection dominated by military lines, a dark utilitarian palette, and heavy fabrics. “We wanted to create an army of über-beauties,” Murray explained backstage, which was all about “fresh-faced luminosity and a defined eye.” Using a selection of the retail behemoth’s in-house cosmetics line, Murray reached for Topshop Glow, a highlighter that carved out cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, the brow ridge, and the cupid’s bow of lips, before painting mouths with its Lips in Nevada, a nude-peach color. Then she devoted her attention to lids, which were laden with mascara. “I’d been looking at Amy Arbus’ photographs of the 1980′s. I wanted to line the eyes but without a retro flick. I felt a curved wing would be more modern,” Murray explained, tracing Topshop Kohl in Coal along models’ upper lash lines, intensifying it as she went with its Matte Eyes shadow in Backboard.
McKnight kept things dually light and airy. “I wanted clean, fresh hair,” he explained. “No back-combing, just a little soft texture.” Prepping strands with Frédéric Fekkai Coiff Bouffant Lifting & Texturizing Spray Gel for a subtle lift, he coaxed each long mane into a buoyant bedhead with a boatload of shine.
But perhaps the greatest sign that the winds of change were upon us yesterday was that nail artist Anatole steered clear of the art-y designs that have prevailed here for the past few seasons. Gone were the hand-etched hieroglyphics and dalmatian-print spots, and in their place, a return to that old classic, the French manicure. “I haven’t done one in ages,” he admitted. “But look: It’s sheer, fresh, and cool,” the manicurist insisted, painting on a two-coat tip with Topshop Nails in White Lie topped with its creamy opaque Milkshake so the contrast wasn’t too stark.
Nude nails made a comeback at the Fall shows and continued to dominate more outlandish, allout nail art experiments for Spring—with a few notable exceptions, that is. Missoni and McQueen got minxed and Sophy Robson etched individual hieroglyphics onto tips backstage at Topshop Unique, while Jin Soon christened the “slim silhouette” backstage at Prabal Gurung. But as the battle between neutral and next-level manicures raged on, we noticed another trend rearing its pretty polished head: matching lips and tips. Before Mary Quant started picking nail lacquers according to clothes rather than lipsticks in the 1960s (the British designer revolutionized more than just hem lines), it was all about corresponding pout and polish colors. Both Jason Wu and Donna Karan reprised the tradition with classic crimsons and deep burgundies at their shows in September—and makeup artist Maud Laceppe and manicurist Michina Koide have modernized it in the new issue of Numéro with an electric blue mouth and fingers lacquered in the same powdery shade. We’ve personally moved on from the-crazier-the-better varnishing acts, but we’re always plenty happy to give credit to creativity where credit is due. Would you do blue?
The cat was out of the bag when the invitations to Topshop Unique’s Spring show went out last week; the enlarged, black-and-white screen print of Elizabeth Taylor in 1963′s Cleopatra all but spelled out the inspiration for the retail giant’s Spring presentation. “It’s Egyptian, and hieroglyphics,” nail guru Sophy Robson said, painting a base of four different custom-blended colors onto all of the models, including pink, red, blue, and gold lacquers, and then topping them off with a series of hieroglyphic-inspired stickers and hand designs (that’s 400-plus fingers total, if anyone’s counting). “There’s definitely an Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra influence,” hairstylist Paul Hanlon confirmed, although he steered clear of Liz’s iconic black boxed bob, which he thought would look “retro and tacky.” Instead, Hanlon took the collection’s heavy-on-the gold palette and applied it to the hair. “Gel can look cheap and I wanted something expensive,” he said, spritzing a glossing spray onto the top of models’ heads and applying sheets of real gold leaf in one of the most original coiffing techniques we’ve seen yet. “I’m putting honey onto the hair and blowing the gold leaf on top so it sticks, because it’s very delicate,” Hanlon explained matter-of-factly. (Yes, we said honey.) To add “a youthful, haphazard effect,” he let the ends hang down in damp waves and proceeded to crack the gold leaf with a makeup brush so it appeared as though someone had “hit it with a hammer.”
With all the glitz and nail art, makeup artist Hannah Murray’s only choice was to keep the face pared down. “It’s a little bit of a Helmut Lang nineties girl,” she said, dabbing on Topshop’s Duo Concealer and using its Skin Glow, a rose illuminator, on the forehead, down the nose, and on cheekbones for a “polished feel.” While we imagine the urge to paint on a set of bold, black, Liz-like arches was hard to resist, Murray made like the rest of the makeup establishment this season and used Topshop Eyeshadow in Walnut to naturally build brows so they looked “brushed-up and boyish.”