There was no mistaking Jason Wu's intentions backstage for Spring, where models like Ming Xi and Cara Delevingne were letting their nails and toes dry with two glistening black coats of OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees, lips a perfect shade of cherry red, hair slicked into a masculine/feminine quiff. "It's Helmut Newton," hairstylist Odile Gilbert confirmed of the "expensive, elegant, but not vulgar" updos Wu asked her to create for the occasion. It would make sense, then, that the designer would get one of the famed photographer's regular subjects to open his show.
"She's special," Gilbert joked as she tended to supermodel Carolyn Murphy's blonder-than-usual strands. ("I've been surfing," the Montauk regular confirmed of her freshly sunlit locks.) Prepping hair with Kérastase Elixir Ultime to impart a smooth texture while treating damage, Gilbert created a deep side part, slicking one side back and weaving what she called an "African braid" up the back with the bulk of the lengths, keeping her plait very close to the scalp. The other side offered up a feminine contrast to the masculine severity via a single glossy wave, which Gilbert secured with a halo of Kérastase Double-Force Hairspray. "The shine makes it modern," she surmised of the finished product.
Makeup artist Diane Kendal continued the Helmut homage with a really strong crimson mouth and equally fierce brows. Starting with a freshly cleansed complexion courtesy of a steamed mask of Sunday Good Genes treatment mixed with its Ceramic Slip cleanser plus a massage of Riley's hydrating Juno Serum, Kendal created "fresh, dewy" skin that was deliberately contoured—a staple of Newton's many nineties-era muses. Dusting MAC Sculpt & Shape powder in Taupe beneath cheekbones, Kendal dotted the apples with its Blush in Poised, adding highlights with MAC Iridescent Powder in Silver Dusk on top. Eyes were treated to a similar dose of Sculpt & Shape Powder in Taupe through the crease, which Kendal applied after a wash of its Pigment in Golden Yellow. An elongated stroke of black crème liner on the top lash line added definition to multiple swipes of MAC Haute and Naughty Mascara in Too Black before brows were beefed up to "boyish" proportions.
As for that lip, it was a work in process with not one, not two, but five different steps. Kendal coated the entire pout with MAC Lip Pencil in Cherry, using its Lip Pencil in Vino, a darker wine stain, just around the outline. Then came a dose of MAC Lipstick in Lady at Play, a pink hue, which she topped with its Lipmix in Process Magenta, only in the center, and a sprinkling of its Pigment in Neo-Orange. Do try this at home.