Stylist's Beauty Assistant Shannon Peter is reporting from Milan Fashion Week AW15 - keep track of her updates here.
While fashion week offers us a first look at all the beauty trends we can expect to see in the coming season, the part I find the most exciting isn’t necessarily how the make-up artists use their products, but more so what products they are using.
Season after season, brands use the fashion week shows as an opportunity to test out their new launches in the most capable hands of all - the industry's leading make-up artists. And this season is already throwing up all sorts of exciting cosmetics that I can’t wait to get my hands on come autumn.
But the product I'm anticipating with the most glee is Mac’s new Studio Water Weight foundation. So new, their press office can’t even give me any exact details. What I do know is, it’s amazing.
I spotted it being used backstage at many of the shows in Milan, including Roberto Cavalli and Marco di Vincenzo, where sporty, youthful, luminous skin was on the agenda. As the name would suggest, the formula is incredibly dewy and has the consistency of a light serum, rather than a foundation.
You wouldn’t know that the models wearing it are three cities into their fashion month circuit, and many are suffering from stressed-out tired complexions. It doesn’t suffocate, stifle or smother: I like to think of it as a hug for the skin. It lightly veils and gives an outward glow - like your skin, only better. I’m currently hatching a plan to claim a sample as my own in Paris, I’m not sure my make-up bag can wait until autumn.
Glossy lids, matte, inky red lips and the mussed-up ponytail of my dreams appeared at MSGM.
Make-up artist Lisa Butler painted Mac's Eye Gloss in Lightly Tauped on the lids for a fresh, just-woken look and layered Mac's soon-to-be-released Retro Matte Liquid lipsticks in Tailored to Tease and Quite the Standout on the lips for a soft pop of colour.
The ponytail came courtesy of Eugene Souleiman, who spritzed Wella Professionals' Ocean Spray and Dry Me (part of the new Eimi range out in May) and spent five minutes massaging the hair to reach the optimum "mussed up" level, before fixing them into side-parted, low-slung ponys.
Tom Pecheux told the beauty press gathered backstage: "There's something wrong with this make-up."
He hadn't made a mistake and wasn't unhappy with the cosmetics, instead he was referring to his "slightly off" choice of look for Antonio Marras' Marie Antoinette-meets-Benedetta Barzini inspired collection.
Subverting beauty norms, he shunned the go-to wide winged shape for eyes, instead buffing rusty red shadow into a round form around the upper and lower lids to bring out the burgundy tones in the clothes. The result was both clownlike and hauntingly beautiful.
Seventies model Benedetta Barzini was not only beauty inspiration for the models at the show, the 71-year-old took a turn on the runway herself...
For the hair, Wella's Eugene Souleiman created a kinked quiff with masculine gelled back sides and a long drape of mussed-up locks at the back. He admitted himself "there's a lot going on," but with the collection's eclectic range of inspiration, there was room to pull in a variety of references for the hair. It took half an hour to complete each girl, and Souleiman had an ingenius technique for creating the wavy texture. Taking two strands of elastic he coiled the girls' hair in a tight spiralled twist, which he would take out just as each model was getting ready to step out onto the catwalk.
Make-up artist Petros Petrohilos created what I'm bookmarking as my new found 'night out' look: a soft, sexy smoky eye with just the most subtle hint of sparkle. Oh and Sam McKnight made lightwork of the ultimate effortless beachy wave - he swears by Tecni Art Wild Stylers Beach Waves by L'Oreal Professionnel. I'll be stockpiling that as soon as I land back on British soil.
Milano - city of fashion, culture and food
With a long show-free afternoon ahead of me, I decided to visit the Yves Klein and Lucio Fontana exhibition at the Museo del Novecento. The highlight: the huge sandpit of true Yves Klein blue pigment set against the backdrop of the Duomo. Incredible.
Post cultural excursion, I hit a cafe on Piazza del Duomo for a slice of pizza followed by a very generous serving of gelato and spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the Duomo before it was time to get back to my day job.
"What would Cara do?" make-up artist Val Garland found herself asking while conceiving the look for Giamba. And the answer? Tattoos, of course. And plenty of them. On a base of matte-soft, neutral skin, the make-up team painted a variety of tiny hand-drawn tattoo designs, including hearts, moons and stars. And they didn't just stop at the face. Like Delevingne herself, the girls had tattoos dotted over their backs of their hands and their fingers, leading to an ink mani courtesy of Mac's Keri Blair.
And thanks to her manicure genius, nail art has never been easier. Rather than getting fiddly painting the minuscule designs straight onto the models' nails, she used a black nail art pen to draw the tattoos onto a clear plastic bag, overlaying them with a generous layer of clear top coat. Leave them to dry et voila, you have homemade nail transfers. Blair then simply peeled them off the plastic, placed them on the nail and secured them with another coat of clear polish.
Day one called for an early start. 5am to be precise. But I managed to pull through, thanks to the anticipation of all the backstage beauty looks just waiting to be discovered. Well that, and the pizza.
With a rumbling stomach and a city full of amazing restaurants to visit, we chose an old favourite, Contivium, to fuel up on carbs. Just LOOK at their amazing table of puddings, not to mention the wine wall. YES, a wall of wine.
Suitably refuelled, it was on to Costume National, where James Pecis (he gets around a bit) was creating a "sporty meets eveningwear hybrid" hairstyle inspired by the rock 'n roll spirit of Charlotte Gainsbourg, to compliment the designer's all-black collection.
In order to avoid a cliche and add a touch of sophistication to proceedings, Mac's Benjamin Puckey banished the regular black kohl from his rock and roll arsenal, opting for an alluring shade of antique gold around the eye.
Another little break between shows called for a pit stop at the gelateria and a sweet treat before Prada...
Redken's Guido Palau found elegance in the Croydon facelift ponytail - adorning the girls' heads with the glitteriest, sparkliest barrettes (hair accessories = a definite AW15 trend).
The final show of the day was Moschino, and following last season's foray into Barbie's dream house, I was expecting big things. But wait, no rollerskating models, no big bouffant wigs and not a shimmer of pink to be seen. Barbie has most certainly left the building. For this season, the Moschino girl is an '80s supermodel, a Cindy Crawford type with gorgeous sun-drenched skin and blown out bed hair. Still as glamorous as the boxfresh dolls we saw last season, but far more subtle, something we can maybe, just maybe, replicate on ourselves.
Stylist's fashion and beauty teams are reporting from the shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris at Stylist.co.uk/fashion-week
Bringing you live updates with the iPhone 5c and EE – the network that gives you complete spending control when roaming abroad.