So the madness begins! London Fashion Week has kicked off again and I can guarantee that right at this moment hundreds of hairdryers are being used, lips are getting stained in all sorts of colors and mascara is going on lovely curled lashes all over this fair city. I’ll be bringing you the beauty breakdowns as they happen – the clothes, the girls, but most importantly – what eyeliner are they wearing?
Our first backstage report comes courtesy of makeup artist Niamh Kavanagh who is quite the lady in demand this season. She has shows all over town on teams ranging from Sam Bryant’s to Charlotte Tilbury’s. Her first show was Eon Jeong, with key makeup artist, Polly Osmond.
Eon Jeong was held at Somerset House which is Fashion Base Camp this season, and the energy backstage was off the charts! Alain Pichon was rocking out crazy big hair which is already looking like becoming something of a trend this season, storming the runways of New York and now hopping the pond over to London.
The show was sponsored by Loreal Cosmetics. The makeup was icy white eyes with a very clean base.
Base – L’Oreal’s Studio Secrets foundation, all over to even skin tone
Eyes – Studio Secrets white eyeliner inside and around both upper and lower eyelids
Mascara – Using the white of the Double Extension Renewal mascara to add a ‘touch of white’ to the lashes, top and bottom
Lips – Finish off with Studio Secrets lip lacquer 410 by gently pressing in to the lip with tips of fingers
With the Paris shows having recently finished, it’s time for the Fall ’09 runway Beauty rundown.
If there was one strong theme that strode off the catwalks this season just finished, it was that Cool Rules. It’s just as much about what you don’t do, as what you emphasise. Case in point – again it was a season with very little blush, it was all about cheek contour at almost every show. Mascara was rarely used, and lashes were not really the focal point.
What was happening was a strong, single element, but boy did that change! Orange lips, black lips, grey lips, berry lips (even green in one very directional London show, but that’s what London is for, right?) At Alexander McQueen red lips went ridiculously oversized so they looked like fake plastic lips (suspiciously similar to the oversized red lip Inge Grognard created for A.F Vandevorst last season).
Smoky eyes came out to play in London, New York, Paris and Milan, but it was often paired with a glossy texture and almost always with an undone mouth (and you all know how to do that, right? It’s concealer patted on with a finger. If you find conventional concealers too dry, try MAC Lip Erase).
Dramatic 50’s flick eyeliner arrived in style at Dolce and Gabbana, Chanel and Valentino. At Lanvin and Dolce and Gabbana a wine red or cherry lip was patted on with a finger to work with the insouciance that has categorized this season of major economic uncertainty. It’s all about gleaming skin, and not trying too hard.
A round up of the major looks:
Tough Beauty – Lanvin, Michael Kors
Warrior women at their best. At Lanvin it was a cherry lip that gave the look its structure, and at Michael Kors Dick Page constructed a beautiful smoky eye. As Michael Kors said “When times get tough, New York women get tougher!”
Gray lips – Doo.Ri, Tuleh
This is a tough one for regular women to wear and it’s the logical progression from the gray nail trend we’ve been having this season. It’s in the air and if it’s on your mind, MAC do an amazing lip pencil called Stone, or you can pat on their Black LipMix but be warned! Go easy on it. It’s a short step from directional to dead.
This is major, major, major. I can’t remember the last time I used pretty blush on a show. It’s either contouring with bronzer (a matte one please), or a brown gray powder, like MAC’s Taupe. They also do a great range of powders called Sculpt and Shade for this purpose, and these were heavily used at the shows. (MAC are the biggest sponsors of the shows around the world, which is why you see their products everywhere at this time).
I have to talk about it, even though it pains me. Gucci, Alessandro del Acqua, Issa and (shudder, this show gave me the heebie jeebies), Marc Jacobs. I’m talking the full magilla – colored contour, winged eyeshadow to the temples, bright glossy lipsticks, strong brows, lots of base, the full 9 yards.
When done properly this is a fierce, ruling look, but in the wrong hands (sorry Sessilee Lopez, I’m talking to you!)picture), it really is frighten-the-children, flat-out scary. And when the most beautiful women in the world look like aging drag queens, this is a look regular women want to avoid like the plague. A hint – if you are going to go there, keep the base minimal and fresh so the focus is on your major lips and eyes, and not on your Dynasty-like base. Krystal Carrington, beauty icon? Not so much.
I do have to give an honorable mention to the Chloe show, where Charlotte Tilbury created glowing, bronzey early 80’s winged eyes. What’s particularly interesting about this show is it’s such a departure from their signature natural no-makeup look. So if they’re doing proper makeup at Chloe, chances are good you will be too in the coming months. But ladies, let’s do it right!
Return of the 1990’s
I hear you all gasp! Not possible? Oh yes, it’s come around again. But this time it’s taking the good elements and leaving the unattractive bits behind. No chocolate lip liner in a big old nasty ring around the mouth. None of those bad overdrawn lips, or dead person brown muddy lipstick. It’s about taking
1990’s elements – like lipliner and tawny tones – and adding modern textures and finishes.
Cases in point – Diane Kendal’s lovely makeup for Proenza Schouler. Brown cream eyeshadow all around the eye, a soft pink cream on cheeks (one of the few shows that did blush, and it was a welcome relief from all those razor sharp cheekbones), no mascara and lips patted down with concealer. The Matthew Williamson show had a similar last decade ethos.
And at the Graham Black show in London where Kay Montano did a shiny brown eye using Satin Taupe, and heralded the return of MAC Underworld lipstick which I believe was last gracing our lips right about when we were rocking out to Smells Like Teen Spirit. It’s Grunge, but not as we know it.