New York, Paris, Milan and London fashion weeks set trends not just with respect to what we’ll wear in the coming season but also beauty. While asymmetrical silhouettes, the revival of the punk ‘70s and intricate embellishments seem to be all the rage in fashion lately, these influences are also making their presence felt in runway beauty. After all, complementing make-up brings out the true essence of any collection being showcased. Without bedazzled eyes, dramatic blush draping, statement lips and feathered brows, a fashion show would be incomplete.
The Essence of Runway Make-up
Featuring bold, outlandish and unconventional elements, runway make-up is that kid in class who everyone aspires to emulate but is afraid to be. Romero Jennings, Director of makeup at M.A.C Cosmetics, explains, “Runway make-up usually consists of visible elements that can be seen as soon as the model hits the catwalk. It can range anywhere from natural, undetectable to a multi-layered creative look.” Bleached eyebrows at Off-White’s show at the A/W Paris Fashion Week this year and bizarre animal prosthetics at Collina Strada’s F/W New York Fashion Week show are shining examples of runway make-up at its best. “Unlike your everyday make-up, which features subtle elements such as a flush of colour or neutral lips, runway make-up is the embodiment of the atypical,” elaborates Gregoris Pyrpylis, creative director at Hermès Beauty. He adds that the creation of runway make-up depends entirely on the lighting used during the show, which isn’t the case with your usual make-up. Designed to add a finishing touch to the catwalk fashion, runway make-up pushes the boundaries of beauty as we see it.
Beauty Mood Board
Creating magic on the runway is a collective effort, and the creative process involves many individuals that work together to fulfil and bring to life the designer’s vision. Pyrpylis says, “The make-up artist uses their own interpretation of the designer’s vision in order to bring it to life.” Jennings agrees, adding, “The entire creative process begins with direction from the designer and what inspires them.”from the designer to get a glimpse at all that they’ve imagined. “As a part of the creative process, we as artists take into cognisance every factor ranging from the colours of the collection, the textures used to create the clothes and the seasonality,” he says. Additionally, Jennings suggests that it’s important to consider the facial features of models walking the runway, the show lighting, and product innovation. Whilst conceptualising beauty looks for any fashion house, make-up artists are responsible for translating what the designer had initially dreamt of into reality.
Every fashion house is built on certain values which are pivotal to their process of storytelling through ensembles. Pyrpylis adds, “The ethos of the fashion house always comes through when all pieces of the puzzle fall into place. Right from the clothes, the silhouettes, the fabrics used, the concept of the show and the make-up and hair.” In order to ensure the ethos of the fashion house comes through in each and every beauty look created for it, Jennings emphasises the importance of conducting research to understand the beliefs that the house truly stands for. “Getting to breathe life into a longstanding vision that the designer has visualised is an electrifying feeling, especially when you see your art on the runway,” adds Jennings.
Before social media came into the picture, the runway solely dictated what the make-up trends for the season were going to be. Pyrpylis says, “Back in the day, after each fashion season was over, beauty editors would pick up a bunch of beauty trends which stood out and present them to the rest of the world to see.” If you’re a ‘90s kid, chances are you witnessed thin eyebrows taking centre stage along with frosted lids and brown lips. Even today, we see a barrage of beauty trends trickle down from the runway and take on a new form on the internet. Whether we’re talking about glitter-adorned eyebrows or dramatically draped blush, all these were born on the runways. “With the influence of runway make-up extending well beyond runways, it’s the driving force which empowers designers from fashion houses to weave a story worth telling,” Romero concludes.
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