Putting on a face for the catwalk
Friday 20th September 2013, 11:11AM BST.
Most catwalk collections begin with an inspiration, whether it’s a specific muse, exotic destination or vague concept.
It’s an idea that carries all the way from the clothes right through to a specific shade of nail polish.
There are armies of hair, make-up, tan and talon teams lurking backstage to bring the designer’s vision to life on the models. See how the pre-catwalk magic happens with our exclusive backstage passes to five key London Fashion Week shows.
Temperley’s spring/summer 2014 collection was dipped in “heady, ethereal romance”, inspired by a Sicilian adventure. Designer Alice Temperley wanted her models to be both sexy and feminine, looking rich but effortless.
The Sunday Riley make-up stations backstage are surrounded by images of American model and actress Lauren Hutton from the mid-Seventies.
“It’s not a retro look,” says make-up artist Lisa Eldridge. “I’m trying to recreate the spirit of Lauren Hutton with that wide-eyed beauty. It’s sexy but not cheap or overdone.”
A healthy glow is achieved by skipping foundation for primer and sculpting skin using cream concealer before blending in highlighter and blusher. Lips are a beautiful reddish-pink and brows are full and luscious.
Hair by L’Oreal Professionnel adds to the luxurious feel with a thick, swinging pony (achieved using extensions) and couture-style knotted braids either side, to add an element of cool.
Matthew Williamson’s girl for S/S14 is “full of energy, optimism and effortlessness”.
More retro references, and a ‘Seventies Superwoman’ at that, with images of an old-school pouty Kim Basinger pasted to the walls backstage. Williamson requests that models’ hair is kept simple but glossy and glamorous.
“It’s as though she’s flown first class with a top knot, unravelled it, and it’s perfect,” says Mark Hampton, Toni&Guy’s Hair Meet Wardrobe ambassador.
A soft, voluminous blow-dry is created with ‘baby bend’ kinks towards the ends to make it look beautiful but ‘real’. A side parting signals a nod to Seventies starlets, while hair tucked behind the ears adds an air of nonchalance.
Lisa Eldridge for Benefit emphasises the jet-set-fabulous look with “stealth make-up” that involves blending endless base products – foundation, two concealer shades, highlighter – for a flawless but natural finish. A glossy lip, and lashings of eye-enhancing plum mascara, complete the expensive look.
There was “something ghostly” about Erdem’s S/S14. While the stark black and white clothes were ethereal and delicate using lace and sheer fabrics, Erdem wanted the overall look to be androgynous, playing on the idea of old English schoolboys.
“The look is quite masculine,” says James Kaliardos for NARS Cosmetics. “The eye make-up is slightly odd, with a strong brow, but complemented by really fresh skin.”
The eye is the main focus, with smoky contouring and extra shadowing, set with a dark grey heavy brow.
Hair echoes the boyish look with a very low side parting, pulled down in a curve across the forehead to reference a choirboy.
“It’s spooky hair,” says Anthony Turner, L’Oreal Professionnel stylist. “There’s a constant play on boy/girl, girl/boy. The back is a messy twist in the way a schoolgirl might put her hair up with a pencil.”
Texture dust is used to create a fluffy look that floats down the catwalk with the sheer fabrics and feathers.
House of Holland
There were multiple inspirations at House of Holland’s S/S14 show, dubbed ‘Homegirls’. The design house took a trip to balmy Mexico City with a detour to the tattoo parlours of LA’s Venice Beach and a cinematic stop at Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet for a touch of heady romance.
“This is tropical, hot skin with a street vibe,” says Lucia Pica, M.A.C make-up artist. To create a sultry feel, eyelids are brushed with balm for a glossy look, and eyeliner is elongated but drawn downwards slightly, for a “sleepy, sexy” effect.
St.Tropez plays on the Mexico reference with a deep, coffee-toned glow dubbed the ‘Tropical Tan’.
“Neither too shiny nor too velvety, the emphasis is on a dewy, tropical finish that perfectly sets off the exotic colours of the collection,” says Nichola Joss, St.Tropez skin finishing expert.
Even hair looks exotic with a ‘slick to dry’ style. Adam Reed, stylist for BaByliss Pro, uses a gel and shine-enhancing cream to create a slicked-back look at the roots that graduates to dry, textured waves.
Designer-come-Strictly Come Dancing star Julien Macdonald didn’t hold back on the glitz, inspired by Morocco’s avant garde, glamorous nightlife of the past. But such body-skimming bling dresses require a contrasting beauty look. Cue a ‘future being’ inspiration with highly pearlised skin and alien-like contouring.
“She looks like an exquisite statue,” says Val Garland, make-up artist for L’Oreal Paris. “It’s like I’m polishing each model’s bone structure, using darker and lighter shades of foundation for an alien kind of face.”
For hair, the inspiration was more specific, using Tilda Swinton as an androgynous reference to toughen up the sparkling dresses.
“Hair up looked too glamorous, so we decided on super-shiny slicked-back hair with a pony,” says Martin Cullen, L’Oreal Paris hair stylist. Just before stepping onto the catwalk, the army of alien-like models have their hair spritzed with an oil spray so it looks almost ‘laminated’ under the spotlights.
Tried & tested
Lisa Haynes has an uplifting experience via her eyebrows.
Forget Kate Moss, I’ve fallen head over heels with supermodel-of-the-moment Cara Delevingne or, more specifically, her incredible eyebrows. I wean myself off my daily tweezer usage and decide to let my brows go wild for a couple of weeks in the hope that Shavata (known as the eyebrow guru) can tame them into a bold shape. I forget the fact that I have an extra decade on Miss Delevingne, and my face might not be able to carry off her furry caterpillar-style brows. However, after a quick assessment, Shavata rejects my bushy brow vision and tells me there’s no point having extra hair there just for the sake of it. She’s more about facial aligning than fashion trends.
My current shape is pulling my eyes down, apparently, thanks to overgrown arches. I put my trust in Shavata, and her promise for an instant face lift, as I’m lowered back in a plush leather throne. Before I’ve blinked (and virtually missed it), Shavata uses a waxing strip on each eye, threading for finer shaping, and then tweezes remaining stray hairs – all in five minutes flat! It’s a speedy three-step process that delivers. My eyes instantly look bigger and opened up. I still have reasonably thick brows (although not enough to worry Cara), but it’s the newly-defined arches that have made all the difference. Shavata teaches me how to use a pencil, “lightly, as though you’re sketching”, to fill in any gaps and creates a shape that I’m wowed by. I may well stop ‘browsing’ for different arches and just start enjoying my own.
- Shavata Eyebrow Shape, from £17 nationwide at Shavata Brow Studios, or £35 with Shavata herself, who works Wednesday-Friday at Shavata Brow Studio, 60 Beauchamp Place, Knightsbridge, London (020 7112 8990).
- For your nearest Shavata Brow Studio visit www.shavata.co.uk
Buy it now
Get in on the catwalk action with British designer Giles Deacon’s Nivea pots. To coincide with the Fashion Week calendar, there are three limited edition packs available featuring stylish illustrations – Catwalk, Backstage or Photoshoot. Nivea Soft by Giles Deacon pots are £4.29 each, available now, nationwide.
- Keeping up appearances
- Recessionista alert