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London Fashion Week Beauty Blog

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Fashion Week is a hotbed of creative talent. And it's no different backstage where the world's best makeup artists and hairstylists set the beauty trends for next season. Stylist's Beauty Director, Joanna McGarry, along with help from Zara Kenyon, step behind the curtain at London's best shows.

Sass & Bide

There was a slight air of panic as I entered the Sass & Bide backstage area today, with preparation running slightly behind schedule, and important people holding important clipboards trying their best to clear the room. But Renya Xydis, who was doing the hair with the help of GHD, kept cool, calm and collected as she talked me through what she dubbed the ‘Quiff Crop’; a combination of a French crop and a quiff roll. Hair was sectioned off into a V before being backcombed to death (I could almost hear each strand screaming!) and being smoothed into this tough yet feminine style.

Meanwhile, makeup came courtesy of Shu Uemura, where Kakuyasu Uchiide was creating her ‘not-perfect makeup’ look. Skin was given a gentle luminosity with Shu’s Stage Performer Instant Glow used as a primer, before the Nobara Cream Cover Stick Foundation was applied to even tone and lend a dewy, flawless finish.

But I was most excited about the preview I got of a couple of products that will be released this Autumn/Winter. Look out for the shimmer liquid liners they have coming out, and their stunning cream blush, which was used to give models a subtle, matte flush. A nude lip with the help of Rouge Unlimited in 990 and layers of thick black mascara completed the look.

And it wasn’t just the face that the Shu team got to work on; 16 centimetres of every model’s right arm was powdered completely white before being covered in neon green body paint. Why? Who knows, but the makeup artists were sporting this look, too.

Words: Zara Kenyon

Jaeger

Proof that the boyish, masculine wasn't merely a NewYork state of mind, Jaeger rose to the occasion on this, the second day of London Fashion Week. On make-up duty, the statuesque Hannah Murray created a pampered, massaged complexion of sculpted neutral tones using Mac's Sculpting Cream in stone on eyelids and cheekbones.

Taking the reigns on hair, the legendary Sam McKnight (who saturated hair with Pantene's brilliant range of moisturising conditioners before beginning) worked with the slightly 70s, sporty collection with a clean yet classical ponytail - positioned on the back bone of the head. Sides were neat and tight, while on top, hair was slightly ruched and ruffled to express a sense of cool, imperfection in an otherwise perfect world.

SIGHTING: On the front row, and at the centre of a whirlwind of flashing bulbs, the very lithe, very elegant, Olivia Palermo took her seat.

Lights down and the music starts. Jaeger has secured a stellar cast this season, including Sara Blomqvist (I could watch her walk the catwalk all day long) and Stylist favourite, Jourdan Dunn on home soil.

The collection? A rousing vision of russet, mustard, navy and khaki in heavy knit, mohair and a smattering of shearling (haven't we seen enough?). In short, the type of accessible, wearable collection that retailers will be falling over themselves to emulate come Autumn.

FRONT ROW WATCH; It seems the classic salon blow dry still a favourite for front row editors who came swathed in lots of fur, faux or otherwise.

Autumn will be this year's best-dressed season. Russet tones at Jaeger.

The colour backlash continues at Jaeger AW11

Serene, boyish beauty - that was the look at Jaeger today

House of Holland

Henry Holland didn't have to look far for inspiration for his granny-chic, harris tweed-filled autumn/winter show - counting ardent purveyors of the look, Alexa Chung and Agyness Deyn among his closest friends. Still, rather than go for the whole shebang, Lucia Pica, Mac make-up artist and long-time collaborator of Henry's, opted for a more modern approach, showcasing luxurious-looking, positively glowing skin. "Layering and buffing," were touted as key words for the look, which was gently built up and blended. And in one of the only red lips of fashion week so far, Pica selected Mac's best-selling shade, a blue-red named Ruby Woo.

In allowing the super-highlighted skin and red lip to take precedence, brows were muted with concealer.

Beauty Editor's favourite, Adam Reed (of London hair salon, Percy and Reed) created a loose, dishevelled ponytail, taking random strands and wrapping them around a tong, spritzing ends with cult hair brand, Oribe's Dry spray. "It's moved on from the glamourous hair of last season, but it still looks expensive." And isn't that what we all want to achieve?

The atmosphere backstage? Tense - masses of photographers milling about and a serious lack of plug sockets, but the man behind it all, Henry Holland was his usual sharp, cheery self.

A much-needed shot of colour for LFW

The ponytail count swells yet further - shabby chic and finger-ruffled, what could be simpler?

They're not only impossibly beautiful, well-travelled and stylish, models also have the coolest names.

Jonathan Saunders

With Jonathan Saunders’ gorgeously detailed and feminine 1940’s inspired collection, Fekkai stylist Paul Hanlon wanted to avoid creating a retro look and instead juxtaposed a modern, minimalist look inspired by 1990’s Helmut Lang. He created a perfectly symmetrical ponytail using extensions to add volume and cutting the ends into an immaculately straight, blunt cut. The hair was accented with a thick black headband that was hand sewn into the base of the model’s hair (all in the name of fashion).

Mac make-up artist Lucia Pieroni continued the minimalist theme with a paired-down make up look using Studio Sculpt foundation as a base, Bone Beige for sheer highlighting on the cheekbones and a nude lip (courtesy of Mac’s Myth). She created a smoky doe eye using lots of mascara (“clumping is ok tonight”), finished with Mac lip glass to make the eyes super shiny.

Spotted: a model taking to the soles of her beautiful Louboutin platforms with a pair of scissors to stop them from slipping. It made us want to cry.

The mood backstage was surprisingly calm to start with but got a little more tense towards show time - models were being called for first looks while still having the finishing touches added to their hair and make-up while the the press were clamouring to get shots.

The enormous catwalk was decorated with giant lanterns that cast a gorgeous glow over the collection, which was full of beautiful column dresses in clashing prints and vibrant hues mixed with delicately embellished black panelling.

Front row spot: a glamorous front row of Yasmin Le Bon, Olivia Palermo, VV Brown and Marina Diamandis chatted while waiting for the show to start.

Words: Julia Maile

Antonio Berardi

You can always rely on the kindness of builders, as I discovered yesterday morning while trying to navigate my way around Liverpool Street. I eventually was guided to Drapers Hall, where models were already doing their run-through in preparation for the Antonio Berardi show, and conveniently placed myself by the breakfast table to wait for a chat with Pablo Rodriguez, a makeup artist for MAC.

I’d already spotted a model with her final look; a dewy finish that Pablo and Val Garland achieved using MAC’S Mixing Medium in Shine, an emollient that lends a gentle sheen to skin without the stickiness of a gloss. But it was the lips that really stood out to me, as they were coated in a bright red lipstick, before being slightly rubbed off to give the effect of a stain, and layered in clear gloss for maximum effect. Eyes were kept simple, with nothing on the lid and just a dash of black mascara on the upper lashes while cheeks were brightened up with the help of Sculpting Cream.

With no release date yet announced, this product in the shade ‘Cheek’ gave models a soft flush of rosy colour that was completely matte for the most natural look.

Hair was as simple as the face, with a look created by John Frieda; the half-pony. After being given a rich, glossy texture with the use of the Luxurious Volume Mousse, it was pulled into a low looped ponytail. Hairstylist Anthony Turner explained he was creating the look of a rich girl who doesn’t try too hard. In fact, his exact words were, “it's an uptown girl, who has been living in a downtown world”. No, really.

Words: Zara Kenyon

Matthew Williamson

Moving on to the Philips de Pury Gallery, I was pleased to see Rimmel taking a stand against higher-end brands and creating the beautiful face of the Matthew Williamson girl. The lovely Kirstin Piggott showed me how to get the look of the two-month-old holiday after-glow, as she created a base with the new Lasting Finish 25-Hour foundation. She lightly dusted the Natural Bronzing Powder in ‘Sunlight’, a perfect matte brown, across the forehead, cheekbones, chin, and bridge of the nose, before giving cheeks more definition with the ‘Smoked Oyster’ blush. Lips also got the golden touch with the Moisture Renew Lipstick in ‘Nude Delight’, and even a hint of Hide The Blemish concealer, a true multi-purpose product!

What I really loved, however, was the gorgeous nude nail the girls were sporting. Two coats of Rimmel Lycra Pro nail polish in ‘Beige Style’ could be found on the fingertips of every model, giving a sophisticated ‘glow’ and the expensive look Mr. Williamson himself was trying to create. Plus I also got a preview of some of the bright new polish shades set to be released this Summer.

The pastel purple was particularly striking.

Words: Zara Kenyon

Vivienne Westwood

If there was any show you just had to be backstage for this season, it was most definitely Vivienne Westwood. With so many different looks being created, all inspired by the Royal family and 18th century watercolour paintings, there was almost too much to look at.

My eyes darted from Malcolm Edwards' regal hair crowns, to the painted arched eyebrows, to the golden cheekbones, to Daisy Lowe being transformed, to Dame Viv herself... I get Fashion Week Fatigue just thinking about it.

Alex Box, who was teaming up with Vivienne Westwood for the first time, described the makeup as 'Noble naivety', and stayed true to the whimsical, avante garde theme of Vivienne's clothes. However, with cheeks dolled-up in Mac's Dollymix blush for a true clown effect, False Lash mascara clumped into lashes and Petting Pink conditioner smudged on lips, this look can be made wearable without the extra layers of face paint.

I stopped in my tracks when I saw the beautiful explosion of gold and blue on these models.

Julia Johansen gets her famous red hair tended to by a team of back-combers.

Spotted: One excited blogger trying to snap a picture of Vivienne chowing down on salad - a bad move, to say the least!

Words: Zara Kenyon

Temperley

After the madness of being backstage at Vivienne Westwood, walking into hair and makeup at Temperley was like walking into fashion week heaven; the atmosphere was cool calm and collected as it seemed everything was running smoothly.

In one corner, Revlon were creating a bright lip with layers of Really Red and Strawberry Suede lipsticks, as well as the new Just Bitten lip stains (released this summer!). And they were breaking all the rules by matching a bold lip with even bolder eyes that were smoked out using gorgeous greys and purples. Skin was given a dewy glow with PhotoReady foundation, perfect for all the HD cameras awaiting the models on the runway.

Hair meanwhile was being backcombed by the Wella Professional team with straightening irons, before being teased into low, loose, imperfect buns.

However, this was merely the calm before the storm. When four of the models arrived on bikes in all their back-combed, face-painted Viv Westwood glory, hairstylists and makeup artists were thrown into a frenzy trying to turn them into the sophisticated Temperley lady – no wonder the show was 35 minutes late!

Spotted: Hilary Alexander tired of waiting for the show to start, heading out for a cigarette.

Words: Zara Kenyon

Erdem

One of the most entertaining parts of going backstage is learning about the designers’ weird and wonderful reference points and Erdem had perhaps the most tragic of the whole season. Conjuring up a vision of an artist’s wife who has left him, models’ eyes were a beautiful disaster of MAC’s Fluidline in ‘Blacktrack’, designed to look like the work of a mad woman who came across a piece of charcoal. While it may not sound covetable, it was actually quite wearable for a more dramatic evening look, while lips were pared-down in nude with the new Mac Lady Gaga lipstick, Gaga 2 (get it while you can!).

Meanwhile, the St.Tropez queens were on hand to add a touch of the ethereal to skin with their new Rose Silver illuminator (out next month, and truly stunning) along arms, décolletage and cheekbones, and new-name-to-watch, Jenny Longworth kept nails an under-stated nude with Nailgirls ‘Beige #2’.

Hair was a true breath of fresh air here with the only fishtail plait we’ve seen of the season – aptly named the ‘Tousled Tail’ and fashioned by Marc Trinder and his team to symbolise a woman that was once perfect, but is now messed up. The Charles Worthington Front Row Dry Shampoo was blasted into roots for a matte texture before being roughly plaited and finished with the Front Row hairspray. What a welcome break from the inundation of ponytails and buns we’ve seen this season!

Words: Zara Kenyon

Giles

The runway is littered with Victoriana references for Autumn 2011, and Giles well and truly jumped on the bandwagon with high necks on the clothes, and an uptight, yet strikingly pretty beauty look to match. Back in September he sent the likes of Kelly Brook and Abbey Clancy down the runway with Dynasty-style, blow-dries and technicolour glitter surrounding eyelids, but in stark contrast, he’s gone all reserved and severe this season, enlisting backstage familiar face, Lucia Pieroni, using MAC, to make it happen.

Starting on the skin, Lucia created a shiny, bright, squeaky clean face using Mac’s Face & Body foundation that “looks like it’s been washed with soap and water”, with clear gloss layered over cheekbones and temples, while the nose and forehead were kept matte. Mascara was clumped into lashes using Pro Lash, and a handful of girls had their brows bleached, but the true focal point was the lips. Matte and bright, they were covered in Ruby Woo lipstick for maximum impact.

Hair then completed the lip-oriented look in the form of a high, harsh bun with not a single strand out of place. While the head-to-toe ‘Victorian Governess’ look may not be something I’ll personally be trying to pull off, I found this to be some of the most wearable makeup of the season. As ever, you can’t go wrong with a bright, red lip.

Words: Zara Kenyon

Mark Fast

If I had a penny for every time I heard the words ‘she’s been running through a forest’ while backstage at the Mark Fast, I’d be rich. Perhaps not the most common phrase you would expect to hear at a fashion show, but this is how hairstylist, Neil Moodie, and makeup artist, Sharon Dowsett, referenced the look of the girl they were creating.

A far cry from the polished, clean looks I’d seen so far this season, this was all about sweat, dirt and grunge, with Sharon admitting even 90s rockers Nine Inch Nails were used for inspiration.

Eyes were coated in Maybelline’s ‘Cosmic Black’ eyeshadow, a two-toned black and pink, with the black being smudged all over lids and under eyes, while the pink lined the lower rims. No mascara was needed, but Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream lent a sheen for cheekbones and eyes. Also shining were the lips, that were drenched in Maybelline’s big summer release, The Shine lipstick, in a sheer plum shade. Do we detect a major trend emerging here?

Hair, while not necessarily wearable in all its unkempt glory, was hard with Bumble and Bumble Styling Cream and Lotion in very heavy doses, giving a clay texture. After being twisted and pinned up, it was finished with Bumble & Bumble’s cult Hair Powder to remove any shine. What better way to juxtapose the overt sexiness of Mark’s stocking-tight dresses, than to give the hair an unholy, dirty feel.

Would you believe this model had hair right down to her waist?! She’s clearly dedicated to her craft.

Words: Zara Kenyon

Burberry

I was working against the clock when I entered the backstage area at Burberry, with only ten minutes to spare and very limited hairspray-polluted space.

But one glance at Cara Delevingne, the newest face of Burberry, was all I needed to see - this was nothing more than just being that, achingly cool Burberry girl.

Clean, glowing skin was the main aim of long-time collaborator, makeup artist Wendy Rowe, as she mixed Burberry’s Fluid Foundation with their upcoming highlighter release, Skin Glow, creating the healthiest complexions I’ve seen. Eyelids were dusted in Antique Rose and Almond shadow and lined with the Molton liner, a golden-brown out Autumn 2011, for “a stormy, smokey eye, since Burberry is so weather-oriented”. The whole look effortlessly popped, with some models only needing a little Earthy blush for subtle contouring.

However, as a total lip product fiend, it was the Lip Mist palette I had my eye on. Out this Spring, shades from this make-up weapon (the most popular was #2, a pretty plum) were dabbed on for fullness and a sheer hit of colour.

To finish off the ‘Modern 60’s’ vibe Burberry were going for, the Bumble and Bumble team created low, loose ponytails with a centre parting, that was dried naturally – no brushes and hairdryers found here! The Bumble and Bumble Tonic was sprayed through the hair and roots before the Styling Lotion was layered in for day-old hair, creating the perfect effortless-chic ‘do.

Spotted: Cara Delevingne dancing in her seat to Flo Rida playing through the overhead speakers. Of course, I do the same when I’m working, but she pulled it off ever-so-slightly better.

Words: Zara Kenyon

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