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Every morning women wake up, brush their teeth and then “put on their faces.” But how do they know what to put on their face? What influences them to buy one shadow over another at a makeup counter? Where do these makeup trends come from?
At the beginning of each fashion season, designers take to runways, parading what’s next in fashion. In conjunction with the clothes, designers have teams of hair and makeup stylists who ply the runway to full effect. It can be argued that it is here that artistry in makeup is unleashed to create out-of-this-world looks that eventually trickle down into real-life makeup trends women can wear.
There was one year all about crazy, feathered lashes. I think women took a step back and thought 'Oh, let me do lash extensions or let me start focusing on my lashes.'
- Lori Taylor, pro artistry relations manager at Smashbox Cosmetics
Lori Taylor, pro artistry relations manager at Smashbox Cosmetics, gets to the heart of how fashion and makeup complement each other, even if you’re barely wearing any makeup at all.
“I believe makeup and fashion go hand in hand. You almost can’t have one without the other,” she said. “There was a time, a few years ago, when the makeup story was about nonmakeup, to make it all about the clothes. It was more subtle, but it still made a statement. Others times you have something very theatrical in fashion, so the makeup has to match that.”
Designers and makeup artists work together to create the overall feel of the show and decide how best to highlight the clothes.
“Normally when you do any type of fashion show, the designer has an idea of who his muse is or the muse for a collection. It’s either a feeling or an inspirational muse,” said Taylor. “I have had designers say, ‘She’s a girly girl, she smokes cigarettes, her name is Sam.’ Things like that. Sometimes you take subtleties from colors in the collection and try to translate that into a makeup voice. Sometimes they will give very abstract references like, 'It’s something very ethereal.' You take that and use your artistic flair and turn that into a vision for them.”
After all, the makeup for runway shows is all about the designer and the clothes.
“You’re enhancing the clothes,” said Lucy Halperin, makeup artist for Opus Beauty, a Los Angeles-based talent agency, and one-time head of makeup for Revlon UK. “It’s not about you, it’s not about a makeup brand. It’s about the clothes, and you’re there to make them look great.”
Halperin, who has worked with Kate Moss, Helena Christensen and Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, abides by this when creating makeup looks for designers’ runway shows.
“When I did the shows, I would go and have a meeting with the hairdresser and the designer and we would do a collaboration,” Halperin said. “Sometimes I would be sent little swatches of color, and I would go home and think about it, and then once I’ve seen the clothes, I would get a clear idea of how the makeup design would go. I also take a lot of inspiration from flowers. I like to look through vintage books, like the old Biba books, and old magazines and get my ideas for makeup from that. But still, for me, it was very much a team.”
The Eyes Have It
Certain makeup looks from the runway directly translate to a look any woman can wear, for example, a classic cat eye or a bold, red lip. However, the more unconventional, theatrical looks are not meant to be literally translated. This artistry in makeup is meant to inspire.
Taylor remembers when feathered lashes were in vogue on the runway. “There was one year all about crazy, feathered lashes,” she said. “I think women took a step back and thought, 'Oh, let me do lash extensions or let me start focusing on my lashes.' ” For some cosmetic companies, this look inspired a new line of lashes.
“What you want for a look is not always available in the shops,” Halperin said. “I remember a long time ago, I wanted to do feathered lashes for 'Project Catwalk' and there were no feathered lashes. We made them. We got lashes and we got loads of feathers and we cut them and we stuck them on the eyes and made that feathered look. The next year we worked with Eylure, a company that made lashes, because people wanted them, and they had to manufacture feathered lashes. This is an example of how a runway [show] can influence how a company can add a product to their brand.”
Makeup artist Pat McGrath’s creative genius has created unforgettable looks for countless designers' runway shows, including John Galliano. She has worked extensively with photographers Steven Meisel and Helmut Newton. From those outlandish looks came some new trends in everyday makeup.
“One year Pat McGrath did these really avant-garde looks where the lips were extremely overdrawn and the eyes were basically bejeweled,” said Taylor. “I think that translated into everyday makeup because we saw a lot more sparkle in shadows. People may not draw their lips up to their nose, but they make go for a fuller lip.”
Getting Lippy ... and Dewy
Makeup is not all about shadows and liners. Skin is a big part of beauty, and runway shows have inspired different ways women can show off their skin.
“One summer ago, the models were almost bare-faced, but they looked like they were glistening or almost wet,” Taylor said. “That translated to very, very shimmery, glowy skin ... dewy skin that was very popular.”
In Paris in fall 2008, when Yves Saint Laurent sent models with black lips down the runway, the world reacted. Women wanted the look, and cosmetic companies obliged.
“That black lipstick was a big thing,” said Halperin. “That year, the black lip with the black bob really did inspire dark lipstick. It did become a look.”
Taylor agrees. The iconic black lipstick made it to makeup counters, but it also transformed into something more wearable.
“People were like, ‘How do you wear that in everyday life?’,” she said. “Maybe you won’t go as black as that, but you would use a dark stain. You would use a very, very rich color.”
Halperin herself helped bring back coral lipstick to Revlon.
“I remember when we were doing Revlon Sponsors Graduate Fashion Week,” she recounted. “I wanted an orange lipstick. I was doing an eyeliner look thing at the time with quite a nude face. I just wanted a little bit of color to pop out. I didn’t want it to be the red lips that everyone was doing. I wanted coral,and that was before there were very many coral lipsticks out.
"Obviously we could only use the makeup from Revlon. I went back to their archives, and they had one from years ago. I only had one lipstick so I couldn’t really get the color I wanted so I blended my own colors and made a color for the show. I think that helped. Revlon the next year did bring out that coral color again because it was a gorgeous color. If the company doesn’t have the palette and you make up a color like that, then maybe that company will bring that color back. Now Gucci [Westman] has done it and she’s made some fantastic colors.”