August 31 2014

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12 posts tagged "Topshop Unique"

“Light And Airy” Beauty Begets The Return Of The French Manicure, Backstage At Topshop


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.

Photo: Samir Hussein/Getty Images

Lips And Tips, A Love Affair


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?

Photo: Sebastian Kim for Numero #129; Luca Cannonieri /

Hieroglyphics And Honey, Backstage At Unique


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.”

Photo: Getty Images

At Unique, Beauty With A Bark


Last season, Topshop hit on the seventies trend. For Fall there was something a little more off-kilter afoot backstage. “It’s all about Katie Grand’s humor,” shear genius Paul Hanlon said of the super-stylist’s 101 Dalmatians‘ directive, which inspired him to employ Japanese geisha techniques for rolling hair into two dog ears and finishing them off with black ribbon bows. “We made the ear shapes no bigger than our fists; otherwise it would take away the chic element,” Hanlon said of the style, which he prepped with TIGI Bed Head Superstar Queen For a Day thickening spray. That element was decidedly diminished by the shiny black triangles makeup artist Hannah Murray drew onto ten models’ noses, but fun rather than fashion has been the name of the beauty game in London thus far (see face painter James O’Reilly’s confetti-clad faces at Louise Gray).

Almost a year after launching Topshop’s makeup line, Murray had the range’s vast selection of offerings at her disposal for playing. “This is a real Topshop girl who’s tough and cool, so I gave her a bold black, grungy eye,” Murray said of the Topshop Eye Kohl in Coal she etched along models’ inner and outer lash lines, asking them to blink to give the look an authentic smudge. Bleached brows were also on the agenda, with all 44 girls hitting the peroxide bottle. “I wanted the skin to be really creamy and by bleaching the brows, it gives this rich effect,” Murray explained of her decision to eschew Fall’s fuller brows.

To complete the Dalmatians theme, nail guru Sophy Robson painted spots onto nails. “It’s the new animal print,” she quipped of Topshop’s matte white polish topped off with glossy black puddles. Heel, ladies. We’re going to bet that Robson posts a tutorial on her well-read blog sometime soon with step-by-step instructions for duplication.

Meet Sophy Robson, The Manicurist With The Most-est


There is a lone nail guru in London whose blog we have long followed and whose backstage handiwork in Europe must be credited for the nail art movement that’s picked up steam over the past few seasons. Her name is Sophy Robson, and this ode to her nail art prowess has been a long time coming. New York may have had a few high-profile designer polish collaborations, but thanks to Robson, London has had pink and orange gemstone-encrusted tips at Topshop Unique; densely layered glitter oval-shaped nails at House of Holland; and—let us not forget—the multicolored sherbet lacquers she used as a base for Giles Deacon’s trademark cartoon eyes, which she meticulously hand-painted onto over 50 models’ fingers at the designer’s show on Monday. (Devout readers of her blog will recognize said manicure from a little experiment she posted back in June). It’s for all of these reasons—and her impressive editorial portfolio—that Robson has been given her own pop-up nail bar at Selfridges for one week only, beginning September 24 through September 30, giving her just enough time to hightail it to Paris, where we’ll be holding our breath for more great works of art on the tiniest of canvases.

Photo: Courtesy of