10 posts tagged "Topshop 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.”
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.
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.
Saturday Night Fever hit New York last week with Marc Jacobs’ Studio 54 divas, Badgley Mischka’s angelic disco dolls, and Halston’s, well, Halstonettes. Now the designers at London’s Topshop Unique have caught the seventies vibe. Backstage, where makeup artist Hannah Murray was hard at work, it was all about groomed power arches, made to look brushed up à la Brooke Shields with individual pencil strokes, and a patent leather-finish red lip created using Topshop’s Lipstick Pencil in Flame topped off with its Gloss in Cardinal Sin. Employing the rickracking technique Guido Palau used at big and little Marc, coif master Paul Hanlon brushed out texture into what he described as triangle-shaped, voluminous “Saturday night” hair. The twist came in the form of extensions in an “antique pastel shade” used to bulk out tresses. As for that quintessential seventies glow, Lady Gaga’s go-to tanner, James Read, was charged with giving models a dark high-maintenance bronze with Saint Tropez’ wash-off mousse, which he layered three times for a “real retro impact.” (Anyone who noticed Gaga’s next-level fake-baked complexion at the VMAs two weekends ago knows that Read does not mess around.)
If you tend to identify with the technorati just as much as the glitterati, then it’s likely that Topshop Unique’s homage to Bananarama’s beauty secrets sent you straight to your Netflix queue, where Essential Music Videos: Totally 80s was pushed way up to the top of the list for more ideas in head scarves, big hair, and excessive eyeliner. It’s also likely that you’ll be interested in this tidbit, courtesy of a friend of Beauty Counter: It turns out there’s an entire Style & Beauty section waiting to be explored on the DVD delivery site, offering a slew of documentaries and how-to instructional videos focusing on the powder-puff industry. If you’re a loyal Blow Out fan, you’ll love 2004′s Hair World, which explores the cut-throat world of hair styling competitions. An aspiring manicurist, are we? Sounds like you need to take The ABC of Nails out for a spin. And then there’s I Wanna Be a Beauty Queen, Richard Gayor’s film about the 1978 Miss Alternative World pageant, where a circus tent full of drag queens battling it out for the title of South London’s Clapham Common is a surefire recipe for family fun. Worth a gander, if only to relieve you of that current romantic comedy binge you’ve been on—turns out you can see too many Julia Roberts movies.
Photo: Marcio Madeira