I’m not sure there’s a way to spin the Marc Jacobs beauty look from last night into something that’s feasible for the modern, everyday woman. If nothing, it does feel a bit more like art than just about anything else I’ve seen this season. (And maybe it’ll inspire you to buy some Redken hair gel or Nars eyeshadow—certainly, if you don’t have a good black nail polish, you’ll want to buy Marc's.) It’s not surprising; Guido, François Nars, and Jin Soon are all artists…put them together and they’re bound to produce something epic. I think they did.
Marc Jacobs backstage is undoubtedly my favorite place to shoot every season. It’s always a spectacle. And it makes for great Instagram scrolling long after the show is over. This was the scene: the Park Avenue Armory, a creepy Tibetan bell soundtrack, models with hair-gelled finger waves. Weird, but beautiful. There were six makeup looks. Francois can elaborate:
“I think [the six looks] give a really good range and was enough to tell the story of the girl Marc had in mind. The inspiration comes from different singers like Alice Cooper or those night performers–very New York, very underground. It’ a pretty dramatic look and more extreme than anything you’ve seen this week. Some have dark eyes with very strong liner and no lips. Not much foundation, a little bit shiny and not like a cosmetic look. We like to be away from anything that’s too perfect, like foundation and lipstick. All the eyebrows are gone because it gives a much blanker canvas so you can really restructure the whole face and you can make the eyelid really big…it just changes the whole face.”
It should be noted that anytime a girl's look appeared too perfect it was sent back and smudged a little further.
The hair matched in intensity. Guido said:
“So this is unnatural and a high-fashion hair look, like a total top to bottom fun, crazy Marc Jacobs girl. We’ve modernized it by leaving the ends out, so you get these two textures, the very structural set look and then the natural hair, which gives it a gothic-y feel in a way. It feels a little strange and very character-full. With the ears poking through it’s kind of boyish in a way. It’s two key products, Redken Hardwear Gel, which we have finger-waved into the hair, and then the Redken Forceful 23 Hairspray to set it in. It is a very set look.”
And no 'goth' look is ever complete without a black nail. From Jin Soon:
“It’s called Blacquer. I love that idea of ‘black’ plus ‘lacquer’– Blacquer! Marc really likes to have it super shiny, so on top of this black color we are using a high shine top coat called Shiny. It’s about goth looks from all different periods, so we tried to do a more sophisticated spin on this. The good thing about this color is that it has super great pigment, which means it covers really well with one coat. And Marc specifically told me on the test, ‘Jin! Short nails, short nails!’ Because you don’t want to have dagger nails with this one, otherwise it becomes too much, so short nails and high shine will make you more sophisticated.”
But I didn’t want to end this story with just the look. My time slot to shoot backstage ended at 3:30pm and Lady Gaga strolled in at 3:20. She looked like she was playing the part of a model: a pretty bare face for her, freshly-washed hair and a black turtleneck. She sat right in front of Guido and took her hair down, not a misstep—it seriously seemed choreographed. Made for an easy photo, thankfully. Then I ran down Park Ave to the subway (knowing I had the shot), tried to catch the train, got my foot caught in between the tracks and the car, got pulled out, and bumped into a horrified editor who had been backstage with me. I assured her it was OK—nothing else really mattered that day.
Photographed by the author.
For the full NYFW backstage report, click here.