Backstage Confidential: 5 Secrets We Learned Behind-the-Scenes at Fashion Shows

Hanging around with models and makeup artists for hours at a time is not without its learning opportunities. Here are five things we learned backstage at fashion shows this season.
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Hanging around with models and makeup artists for hours at a time is not without its learning opportunities. Here are five things we learned backstage at fashion shows this season.
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Being backstage at a fashion show is an unforgettable experience--there are an awful lot of people trying to make something spectacular happen in a really short period of time, usually in a cramped space. It can be overwhelming, but it definitely pays to keep your eyes and ears open. In between nosing around in the pigments and trying to figure out how

An African braid at Jason Wu. (Photo: Imaxtree)

An African braid at Jason Wu. (Photo: Imaxtree)

The Difference between an "African" braid and a "French" braid:

Odile Gilbert created the highly original look for Jason Wu's spring 2013 show. She did a sleek marcel wave on one side and what she called an "African braid" in the back. The beauty editors backstage were rapt--what is this African braid and how is it different from a French braid (which is what it looked like to my untrained eye)?

Turns out it's all in how you pull it. The African braid is "much closer to the scalp," according to Odile. OK so maybe it looks a lot like a French braid (only here Odile tucked it under into a chignon), but we'll keep practicing the finer points of braid recognition.

Photo: Gerardo Somoza

Photo: Gerardo Somoza

Male models (allegedly) always hit on makeup artists:

I spent some time backstage at a menswear show this season learning the fascinating techniques for making up guys for the runway. In the course of learning about how making men look like they're not wearing makeup actually takes kind of a lot of makeup, the more fascinating conversation involved the backstage dynamics. "Male models hit on makeup artists a lot," one female makeup artist said. "They don't all want female models. Some of them want real girls!"

Or maybe they just don't want someone prettier than them. Kidding! Totally kidding.

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Greta Garbo's "doe eye" makeup secrets:

Kabuki, the awesomely named makeup artist who did the look for

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This hair tool looks like a sex toy but will give you perfect beach waves:

Get your mind out of the gutter--this is a hair tool. Called the Sultra Bombshell Cone Rod Curling Iron, its nubby texture helps to grip fine hair. Better grip means a better wave or curl, and the tapered quality means you have better control over the size of the waves. Guido Palau used it on the ponytails at the Alexander Wang show--alternating with another iron--to make them wavy.

Photo: Imaxtree

Photo: Imaxtree

Colored hair is easier to style:

Harry Josh, who gave the girls color for the Zac Posen show using a John Frieda box dye (the goal was "rich looking,"), said that virgin hair is not necessarily better hair.

"Processed hair truly does shine differently from virgin hair," Josh said backstage. "Virgin hair doesn't hold texture very well. If you wave it, it goes flat."

I will take that as vindication for the years I've spent dying my hair into a yellow-ish submission. Look at how great it holds a wave!