Often what separates the most striking and memorable Fashion Week beauty looks is the details. Clothes can be traditional or avant garde, but without well curated hair and makeup, they are unfinished ideas.
So many talented people work tirelessly to execute a designer’s vision and extend it into reality. The skill and talent behind these looks knows no limits, as models are turned into human works of art. This past season, sleek hair and surrealist vibes dominated the goth go-tos like Chromat and Thom Browne, but at femme favs Oscar de la Renta and Rodarte, flowing angelic waves and demure matte lips were the look of the moment. The range every season is impressive, supplying endless inspiration for your own makeup looks... especially if you're a little daring.
This was my first NYFW backstage as a journalist, in a past life I worked on some side stages as a hair assistant, so I feel a special kinship to artists cranking out look after look of pure indulgent creativity. I met up with working makeup artist Angela Boswell, who I connected with through the ever useful Book Your Look a booking service that acts as a link between editorial and commercial quality artists and the rest of us. Boswell worked on Francesca Liberatore this year, where they did a fun silver halo look on the models.
After all the craziness subsided, we got together to recreate two of our favorite looks from the week. Boy, this was so much more fun than watching other people get their makeup done backstage!
Boswell and I decided it would be most beneficial to show you both a demure, romantic look, as well as a bright and crazy look. You can use one for date night and the other for rave night! Anna Sui’s makeup this season was so very ‘60s bedroom eyes, while Betsey Johnson’s was pure Lisa Frank. Both are so beautiful in their own way.
Look 1: Anna Sui
To achieve the mystique of Anna Sui’s Spring Summer 2016 show, Boswell first made my skin an even canvas with NYX Pore Filler and Bobbi Brown’s BBU Palette. Because I have greasy Italian eyelids (must be all the olive oil) we needed a boost from Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance to minimize creasing and smudging. The look is a 2/3 lined eye, starting from where lashes begin on the top and coming up from the center of the bottom lid to meet in the outer corner. Rather than a flick of a cat eye, this liner takes a trip in the eye crease to add interest and contour the browbone ever so slightly.
More than one show was free of blush this season, and Anna Sui’s army of babes rocked bronzer high on the cheekbones, leaving the apples of the cheeks nude to better accent wine red lips. Boswell used NARS Damned Lip Pencil on me, but if you're using a classic lipstick she recommends applying with a small lip brush. They're more accurate than going straight from the tube and help deposit the color evenly.
Look 2: Betsey Johnson
My favorite shows were truly all over the place, but my heart was with a childhood favorite: Betsey Johnson. As true as the passing of time, Johnson’s punk edge will always cut through any and all BS. This her 50th anniversary, and Betsey Johnson continues to prove that punks prevail.
This look was originally executed by Kryolan with their Coloring Vision Pallette and a whole team of airbrushers, lash appliers, and expert makeup artists from all over the world. It was a treat to watch unfold!
Photo by Rachel Scroggins
Painting on Black Swan-style rainbow wings on the face is trickier than it looks! Angela recommends using artist’s paintbrushes for precise and creative looks, as they are cheaper and easier to come by than makeup brushes, and more affordable synthetic bristles work excellent with the cream pigments needed to get this look.
Boswell likes taming eyebrows with wax or waxy chapstick (we used ByTerry’s Baume de Rose) before going in with several shades from Make Up For Ever’s 12 Flash Color Case in a winged formation from the bridge of the nose to the hairline.
In addition to the swooping, fantastical rainbow wings, Betsey’s ‘90s flower power look had the cutest pink blush and lips. Boswell used Milani Baked Blush in Bella Rosa for my cheeks and NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Yu on my lips. The finishing touch of blue falsies took my eyelashes from grande to venti! The last hot tip for this Halloween-appropriate, baby raver getup is to set the creams with powder for maximum lasting power.
I saw so many pretty things at NYFW, from warrior princess hooded clothing at Anne Bowen to canvas nails at Desigual. Could New York’s bi-annual altar of fashion be more inclusive? Yes, one thousand times yes. Could it do more for people who actually make the clothes in far away lands? Again, yes. But one thing we can all steal from fashion week without a shred of guilt is the tips of a makeup artist who has worked behind the scenes. There's no day like today to have a little more fun with your makeup!