Over the next five days the award winning Stylist Beauty team will be reporting live from London Fashion Week. Follow them on Twitter @stylistbeauty
Photos captured by HTC Sensation XL with Beats Audio
Todays the last day of LFW. We couldn't have done it without the brilliant Hyundai Veloster and Paul. Thanks guys! - SF
“We were going to attach prosthetics to the girls heads but - as of an hour ago - we decided to go for hairpieces and wigs instead.” Such is the changeable world of backstage beauty. And whilst last-minute substitutions are no match for consummate professional James Pecis (working today with Bumble & Bumble and Babyliss Professional) for a show of such epic proportion it’s still pretty risky stuff. “Each girl has a completely different look,” James explains. “But it’s all about mime and performance artists so although it's a huge task it's still fun."
MAC artist Florrie White drew on inspiration from the late artist and club kid Leigh Bowery for these incredible looks. Each character references various muses belonging to Ed Meadham and Benjamin Kirchoff, such as legendary drag artists like Divine, but also as specific as 1990’s Steven Meisel photos of Linda Evangelista with make-up by renowned make-up artist Kevyn Aucoin. "And, you can try it at home,” she jokes.
One final show
As the girls totter out it's a melange of strewn glitter, blue skin, towering neon beehives that builds into a cacophony of colour and texture. Stacked on towering glittery heels, they line up for a run through - but the show manager has a few instructions first. "This is the biggest show," she yells down the line. "I need for you to make it the best, so walk with purpose, and when the music changes you need to start dancing. Like crazy dancing." Nervous laughter ensues and one model quips “But we’re all sober!” But they go on regardless and it's smiles all around. Because although this glorious technicolour conflicts with every demure trend we've seen backstage this season - for me - there has to be that one show that shatters our beauty model, sending us into the unknown. Meadham Kirchoff is always that show. It's the 'what if' we all need when things get a little too serious and routine. So roll on SS/2013! - AB
Marc Trinder added his take on 90's grunge with a roughly scraped back, ear-level bun using Charles Worthington. "To keep it looking imperfect and cool, pull out the wisps at the front and keep it messy. It softens the look and keeps it young," he tells me. -AB
Shon created the modern Lady Chatterley, curling hair and shaking through before pining up losely and spraying with clouds of L'oreal Techni Art Pli No4. It's poetic and carefree but incredibly youthful. -AB
THE LOWDOWN: TERRY BARBER
Beauty Assistant Anita Bhagwandas catches up with the awe-inspiring Terry Barber, MAC's Director of Make-up Artistry for the UK & Ireland to find out his take on A/W 2012's trends.
Anita: What trends have you noticed emerging so far?
Terry: Make-up has becoming more about sculpting. So using hues of brown, taupe and greys to play with how shadow and light hit the face. Even across the lips and eyes - it's that 90's smudged in palette that takes imprefections and makes them beautiful.
A: Please tell us there is some colour for the season?
There is, but it's more worn in - deep red lipstick is patted on into the centre of the mouth rather than drawn on neatly. There's colour every season, but that's why I'm so excited about the idea of beiged out faces.
T: Well, with a beige face consisting of beautifully concealed skin, beige pencil around the waterline and beige-pink lips you can really start playing with textures. Try glosses and matte finishes - just look at where the light and shadows are on your face. It can be even more stark and bold than wearing a whole face of bright make-up.
A: Is there anyone who does this look especially well?
T: Tilda Swinton, without a doubt. I'm Swinton obsessed. I've mentioned her before haven't I?
A: Yes, you have Terry. What is it about her that captivates you?
T: She's anti-glamour and anti-luxury but still looks austere and elegant- like a Modigliani painting. I've always admired someone who experiments with that different side of beauty. It's a new way of looking at beauty, rather than that overly perfected look. Perfection is trashy - that's my new phrase.
A: Interesting, tell me more...
T: That 'WAG look' is so over. Beauty is meant to be playful, so this season try some of the cooler, more Nordic inspired colours. I love a soft lilac on the lip or a beige across the eyes.
A: So, would that work on darker skin tone like mine?
T: Of course. In fact those colours that we ignore as being ashy are just the kind of colours that work for darker skins with this contoured, shadowy look. So try those cooler greys and taupe shades and you'll see how you're relying less on colour, and more on the subtle nuances of your skin tone. It's all those hollows and higher planes on natural faces that are so beautiful.
A: Thanks Terry, I'm suitably inspired. Although, ditching the colour will take some getting used to!
Andrew Gallimore took 10 mins to create this look for Erdem. His less is more approach still adds drama, but the flick is deconstructed and elevated up and into the crease of the eye. So small, but so striking! -AB
It's one of the most anticipated LFW shows each season. I've just been given my pass and as I walk into the decadent backstage area (it's festooned with gold cherubs and classical paintings) I collide with the strapping man himself, Giles Deacon. "Er, hello there!" he says devouring a chocolate brownie in one before being whisked downstairs and luckily for him before I have the time to start fawning.
Without a doubt the hair created by Paul Hanlon for Toni & Guy and the make-up by Lucia Pieroni for MAC are two of my favourites looks of the season. Giles burned holes through some of his dresses with a bunsen burner, so the shards of fabric that were left over became the bows for the backstage hair. "Although it's a little deconstructed, the look is decaying decadence. It's still grand with beautiful ponytails and bows, but a little more weathered so the bows are the perfect touch," Paul explains.
Lucia was inspired by Wuthering Heights in creating this make-up look. She's know for her ability to sculpt faces with the deftness of a plastic surgeon, yet nly using make-up. So Lucia uses shadowy shades to create a hollow-eyed look with razor sharp cheekbones that diffract light in every direction. "All the emphasis is on those rubbed in smokey eyes," Lucia says. -AB
McQ Alexander McQueen
Backstage at McQueen it was earily calm as hair legend Guido fashioned twenty girls hair into structural hats. It took him and his team hours to cut up hundreds of hair donuts and sew them together to create the bases to wrap the hair around.... - SF
Extra large 'donuts'
As for makeup, Diane Kendall created a 'haunted army of nymphs' referencing Edward Scissorhands and Corpse Bride. Brows were bleached before she hollowed out the eyes using sculpting creams in three different shades...
We saw yet more low ponies tied with a black ribbon at Erdem and burnt ribbon at Giles, but today hair seemed more 'glossy goth' - it was undone but with a polished edge. At Christopher Kane Anthony Turner pinned up the underneath to make the remaining hair fall over thin and limp. At Burberry the hair was given a very loose bend as if a three day blowdry had reached the end if its longevity and at Osman hair was textured with brilliantine for a greased look through the sides. -SF
Staying true to the classic Burberry girl look skin was kept fresh and glowy with two lipsticks for a dusty rose lip. One change tho the berry hued eye taken under the lashline too. -SF
Make-up artist Sharon Dowsett kept the make-up simple and modern using Maybelline. "Just because this look is the 'no make-up' look, doesn't mean that it's 'nothing' at all," she explains. " The inspiration behind this look is mannequin skin - flawless and absolutely perfect. When you've got the right base, sometimes that's all you need."
In stark contrast, the hair at Fast was an intricate crown of plaits. Nick Irwin created a series of haphazard braids then deconstructed them, pulling out pieces and making them look slept in before pinning to the crown. His inspiration? "Kate and Johnny in the 90's grunge era - playful, youthful and undone." -AB
Stylist's beauty assistant Anita asked hairstylist Luke Hersheson a few questions backstage at Michael Van Der Ham...
What time did you get up?
5am, it's an early show today!
Have you taken advantage of the amazing backstage catering?
I've been so busy that I just managed a latte and a few bites of a sandwich.
What's the best thing about LFW for you?
I think it's brilliant how London supports and really gets behind new and unique designers.
What's your LFW soundtrack?
As you can hear I'm pretty into 90's RnB at the moment (En Vogue are playing in the background) especially stuff like Mary J Blige.
Luke Hersheson created the most-wanted look of the week with his vintage Veronica Lake inspired ultra femme curls.
So, how do you manage this in an hour before the show starts? "The trick is to tong the curls, then pin them up for a while to cool, " he explains. "Back in the day this would have taken two hours under the dryer to even set."
Those curls setting in nicely whilst the MAC team get to work with gold leaf accents and flicked liner that nods to 50's retro luxury but with an East London DIY aesthetic.
Those finished curls as Luke brushes furiously, minutes to go before the show.
Luke and father Daniel Hersheson working together. Awww.... -AB
Deputy Beauty Editor Sam grabbed five minutes with Christopher Kane...
It's two hours until your show, how are you feeling?
Nervous, relieved, excited. I feel like it's taken so long to put this all together I can't wait to put it out there.
How has the collection evolved?
It's bigger, its more in depth. Every season I feel like I grow with the collection.
What is it you love about LFW?
It's such a young talented city but its always been that way. It confuses me that some people have only recently started recognising how great London's fashion is.
Talk us through your morning
I went to bed at 6.30am so I've had about 50 minutes sleep. Then I came straight here and I'm currently eyeing up that croissant over there.
How important is hair and make-up to the show?
So important, they're the finishing touches that bring the character together. This season I watched the models in the casting and loved the way they each had their own character - little traits like wavy hair or the way it messes up when they got changed, so I wanted to keep that element. I spoke to Anthony Turner who headed up the TIGI team and we created a glossy yet grungy finish to the hair using their Session Series products for that raw kind of finish.
What's been your best Fashion Week experience?
Hopefully it's about to happen...
Last minute alterations at Christopher Kane - SF
Paul Hanlon talks us through the hair inspiration for the show:
"She was a girl that designer Alistair Carr went to school with, with very cool brightly coloured hair. She was that girl that the boys loved but the girls all hated. Now she's 35, the hair has grown out a little with playful flashes at the ends and she's still a little rock ' roll - just grown up."
You know the make-up will be bold and powerful when you walk into backstage and see a make-up station set up like an art studio with watercolours and palettes filled with trickles of vibrant, sun-soaked hues. -AB
There are shows where you know the trends will all catch on. Then, there are those that are created for pure artistic merit. This is the latter - mono-brow anyone? (Apparently not in homage to Frida Kahlo.) -AB
Spotted: Ponytails - It's a trend!
Take one look at these pictures and I think you'll see what I see. Day Three was rife with low slung ponies be it pretty and natural, slicked back and severe looking or voluminous. I spy a trend... (SF)
I managed to grab five minutes with Matthew Williamson backstage at the Royal Opera Hall in Covent Garden...
Fashion week must be easy for you now...
You know what, it gets more nerve wracking each year. Fifteen years on I still get nervous.
What do you love most about LFW?
I love London. It's my home. But there's also this amazing energy in London right now, it's at the forefront of fashion, it's a very unique moment
Talk us through your day so far...
I got up at seven, I've eaten a pizza and spaghetti bolognaise and done a few interviews. I've been talking through the hair and makeup with Sarah Lucero the creative director of Stila and it's going to look gorgeous.
How has the collection developed from last season?
There's a similar heart to it but it's more decadent and opulent yet minimalist
The most decadent backstage of the season
Everyone needs instructions on how to dress....right?
Everything you need for the Williamson look
Low slung pony by Cos Sakkas of Toni and Guy. Effortless.
'An army of uber beautiful girls' was how makeup artist Hannah Murray described the makeup look backstage. A pinky beige lip and heavily kohled eye counterbalanced the heavy military clothing.
You can always rely on Topshop to put on a good buffet. Thanks Phil, the brownies were to die for.
Spotted: stylist editor Lisa and deputy ed Susan on the front row
Whistle necklaces and backpacks at topshop. We'll all be wearing then this winter
Sam McKnight keeping an eye on the hair backstage
Interview: Claire Holland - Accessories Designer for Topshop Unique
What time did you get up this morning?
What have you eaten today?
Two spoons of all bran before I got called away!
What are your favourite items in the collection?
The whistle necklaces and the mini backpacks that give a nod to the military trend
What is it you love about LFW?
It's an amazing showcase for new talent
===HELLO THERE ALEX BOX===
She wasn't listed on the call sheet, so imagine my joy when I spotted the lovely Alex Box backstage at Thomas Tait and managed to distract her for a few seconds.
What's your best fashion week experience so far?
I've just come in from New York, it's amazing how receptive everyone is to Illamasqua over there - the US beauty press love the new collection.
What's your worst fashion week experience?
When the call sheets are wrong! Once in Paris we ended up taking a cab to a random housing estate outside the city and had to beg to get back to the centre. Terrifying!
What's the best thing for you about LFW?
It's the buzz here. The designers and industry want to keep everything local and homegrown. Also, I can get a taxi back to my house which is brilliant!
Tell us a random fact about the Thomas Tait show.
Thomas likes things to be off kilter, so if a model has red hands from the cold he wants to enhance that, not mask it. He sees all blemishes as beautiful which is so different and special. That's why I love working with him.-AB
THE TRIUMPHANT RETURN
You heard it here first: scrunchies are back. That's according to hair stylist James Pecis who was using specially made varieties for the Thomas Tait show. "I've seen them at other shows too, they're definitely a trend. As is short hair. As are cross earrings, like the one you're wearing in fact," he says pointedly. Er, thanks for the heads up James. - AB
An over-zealous walk means that I'm half an hour early for Nicole Farhi. Coffee and planning time at Starbucks just off Fleet street. Easy to forget how beautiful and historical London is sometimes, so grabbing a fleeting moment of calm to people watch.
Slightly stalkerish shot of Anna Wintour's trademark bob at Nicole Farhi. She's now surrounded by photographers snapping for their lives.
Make up, brushes...Lucozade. All the backstage essentials.
I'm so taken with model Karo who walked for Nicole Farhi. Smiley, sweet and exquisitely beautiful. She's a definite face to watch.- AB
Naughty schoolgirls with flushed cheeks and mussed up French plaits ran amock backstage at Mulberry. We were tempted to join their fun...
Giant golden Mulberry handbags lined the entrance to claridges as guests sipped on Mulberry's home-brewed apple juice - SF
It's a dog's life at Mulberry.
Stella McCartney Party
Tonight I landed one of the hottest tickets in town - Stella Mccartney's much anticipated return to LFW. Rihanna, Anna Wintour, Kate Moss, Jamie Hince, Mario Testino, Alexa Chung, Yasmin le Bon and incredible makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury were just some of the celebrities out to support Stella. Don't just take my word for it though...see it for yourself - SF
Spot Katy B at Stella...
Stunning venue for stellas return to LFW - One Mayfair. Here's the Dining Room cum-catwalk.
A moment of calm in a portal of never ending bustle. It feels like that festival moment after the main band have been on and the crowd disperses.
Helmut Newton meets film noir inspired the make-up by Cosmetics a la Carte - one of the boldest looks we've seen so far. - AB
More amazing nail work spotted backstage this time from the ever-glamorous Emma Scott, PR Director at L'Oreal.
Moschino Cheap & Chic
Play spot the model - SF
Loving all the neon lights at Moschino show. Thinking we should get a Stylist one made for the office - AB
Mac pro pigment in pink - SF
Hair stylist Lizzy B rocking her amazing pink and orange hair before Moschino show. Total hair envy. -AB
House of Holland
Deputy Beauty Editor Sam managed to grab five minutes with Henry Holland backstage:
What time did you get up today?
What have you eaten today?
Nothing. But I have drunk lots of coffee
Tell us an interesting fact about the show?
I ironed my own shirt!
What is it you love about LFW?
The vibe, the people, the creativity. It's home!
Hello goodie bags at House of Holland!
Mork and Mindy meets 70's Tour De France was the inspiration behind the look at House of Holland. A far more grown up approach than previous seasons from the ever-charming Henry. -AB
Colour galore backstage at House of Holland. -AB
The unanimous beauty desk girl crush, Leigh Lezark.
The Beauty Team's look of the day
Brightened up my early start with this neon bow in my hair from ASOS.
Hair rescue pit-stop needed. I had three days worth of dry shampoo and styling products welded into my rapidly expanding mane. Thanks to the amazing House Of Rush!
The beauty team are upping their dose of vitamin C thanks to Hyandai who have kindly lent us this Hyundai Veloster for LFW along with fabulous driver Paul - he normally drives Royalty and Politicians but seems to be having fun with us...
Sam nails it
The last few seasons of backstage reporting have taught me nothing if not that it's all in the prep. Alongside my five biros, emergency notepad and tubes of Berocca there is something else that is absolutely necessary. A good manicure.
Due to excessive note-taking a regular mani just won't cut it. Add to this the fact that the world's most critical eyes (when it comes to beauty) will be watching said note-taking, I made a quick pit stop on my way home tonight at the House of Rush in Piccadilly for an Artistic Gloss mani in an ever chic scarlet shade. This genius hybrid of gel and polish will ensure my nails stay glossy and chip-free throughout... SF
Backstage at PPQ
Jameela hanging out backstage at PPQ with her trademark red lips and eyeliner flick.
The PPQ look, glossy, groomed with a playful heart-shaped beauty spot!
Pandemonia, no LFW would be complete without her!
Backstage at Jean-Pierre Braganza
Ribena, Parma violets and um, the occasional unicorn - all the best things in life are purple. Including these mesmerising nails in Jessica's Bird of Paridise shade. -AB
So I bowled over to this amazing rockabilly-haired lady, told her how much I loved her pomps - then realised that it was Kate Nash! -AB
How things change. Last season it was all colourful descriptions allied to wild gesticulations when it came to describing a look. This year Kenna -working with GHD - came prepped with an iPad. Fancy! He also raved about their amazing new hairdryer, one for the wishlist!
This little lady created her own fluro lime dip-dye using Directions hair colour. DIY done well! -AB
Backstage at Felder Felder
The lovely Georgina Graham created this arid bronze look with a dreamy veil of fine silver glitter across the eyes that looked like tears in the moonlight. She said it was inspired by 'rock n roll, post apocalypse.' All. Over. It. -AB
Er, how excited am I about this new MAC lip palette? Would have tried to pocket one if I wasn't completely surrounded. (Just kidding....kinda.) -AB
From the office straight into backstage mayhem. Takes a little while to get used to all the bustle! -AB
A little voyeuristic glance at my daily LFW make-up kit - all contained in my essential Stylist tote!
My hero product is the MAC Pro Gloss (left of the blue Guerlain handcream.) It works for lips and eyelids (looks cool with a dark berry lip and gallons of mascara) but also adds a dewy finish to cheekbones. I swear it takes years off me. Total score! - Anita
The team will be travelling from show to show in a specially customised Hyundai Veloster, so look out for the Stylist logo! With exclusive behind the scenes access at 45 of Londons most exciting shows Jo, Sam and Anita will be bringing you an exclusive peek at all the backstage goings-on; from daily discussion over which designer has laid on the best buffet, to who has the best ipod playlist and most importantly - a insider's view at the hair and makeup trends we'll all be wearing come AW12. Keep checking back for all of this and exclusive backstage chats with designers, makeup artists, celebs and super-stylists. Don’t forget to follow them on Twitter @StylistBeauty!