This season, when it seems like half of the shows are at the end of dimly-lit cavernous spaces with uneven, rough-hewn flooring, it’s typical to arrive at a venue and blindly follow the strains of chattering editors off in the distance to find your seat. It is far less usual to follow a thumping bass line to the backstage area, which is what we did upon arriving at Altuzarra at 6:15pm to shoot their pre-show prep. The culprit? Hairstylist Paul Hanlon, with his hands full (literally) of the models’ manes. He was dancing as he worked.
“Oh they’re just some CDs I bought in Ibiza—house music,” he said, shimmying and bopping around to the beat, “to get some energy backstage. It’s the end of the day, we need to pick it up back here. I’m sick of just hearing hair dryers.”
As for the beauty look, “There’s a lot going on with the clothes,” Hanlon said. “It’s very detailed with a lot of embellishments, and there’s high collars, so I liked the idea of a very small head. We didn’t want to distract from the clothes, but we didn’t want to just do a bun because that was too balletic, too easy. We wanted to do something that was a little bit more ‘chic French woman,’ an educated-looking woman, aristocratic. I thought a lot about Helmut Newton pictures, of a very strong, confident woman. There’s an equestrian reference, too; the chignon is wrapped sort of like a horse’s tail, and there's something a little bit Japanese, as well, a samurai thing. It’s very simple, very considered, like an old Yves Saint Laurent woman. If we had anything else, too much texture, it would look like a mess—with all the high collars, it would just get in the way of the clothes.”
Speaking of Monsieur Saint Laurent, Nadja Bender [pictured] was rocking a vintage leopard-print dress that looked straight out of YSL’s late-'70s collections. The Danish model seemed every inch the Helmut Newton powerhouse Hanlon had been channeling. When we saw her eyes, accented with a swath of thick royal blue liner at the lash line (similar to the azure mascara Jeanine Lobell used at Stella McCartney for fall, and again for resort), we grabbed her for a few snaps. Then, we chased down Altuzarra's makeup man Tom Pecheux for the details. “By playing with color, you add dimension to the eye, to what you can’t see. If you have a black diamond, you see the cut of it, but that’s all. If you have a white diamond, you see the cut and you can jump in it—there’s dimension to it. Adding the color brightens up the eye, makes it lighter. I chose the royal blue, the Technakohl liner in Auto-de-blu, and then used the Ron Ron Ron shadow from the Archie Comics quad [slated for release in Spring 2013!], this gorgeous blue. It makes the eyes pop, I find it super chic. This season, the designers all want very minimal makeup: a color, but a washed-out color, and to me this blue looks almost like a wiped-out black. I like the little touch of it, it’s not aggressive or tense, but it adds a lot.” No kidding.