The Marc Jacobs runway is always one of New York Fashion Week's stand-out spectacles, and without fail, that always extends to the hair and makeup looks, as well. Spring 2018 was no exception to this long-standing rule: Models wore a late-'60s/early-'70s-inspired combination of head scarves, nude lips and thick, black cat-eyes.
In fact, the show featured a whopping eight different cat-eye looks, each subtly different from the next. "The inspiration for the show for Marc this season is the juxtaposition of couture and sportswear," said makeup artist Diane Kendal, the mastermind of the look, backstage. "We're keeping the skin really fresh and luminous. Then we're [doing] different variations of black liner: Every girl has black eyeliner in the water line, and then with the [liquid] eyeliner we're shaping the eyes and extending them out. There are, like, six different variations." (Editors' note: I counted eight, as shown in the image below.)
Kendal used three different eyeliners, all from Marc Jacobs Beauty, to create the variety of eye looks: Fineliner Ultra-Skinny Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner in Blacquer, Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner in Blacquer 42 and Magic Marc'er Precision Pen Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Blacquer. "The good thing about using those pens is that they've got really great points with the nibs, and then if you use a really fine Q-Tip, you can clean it up underneath afterward," said Kendal.
In order to determine which model would receive which cat-eye shape, Kendal said it was a matter of "just really looking at their eye shape[s]" and noted that for "some girls we made it a bit thicker on top than underneath; for some girls we made it more saturated."
While Kendal's team was scrambling to perfect every last liner shape, hairstylist Guido Palau (for Redken) had a relatively easy task: Instead of an elaborate hairstyle, there was... no hairstyle. When I first ventured backstage and saw models' having their hair slicked along the head and tucked under wig caps, I assumed wigs were going to make an appearance. Nope! Instead, Jacobs chose to swath the models' heads with colorful scarves designed by milliner Stephen Jones.
"Really, my job is just to get read of the hair... which is fine," said Palau backstage. "It's all about style for me, and I don't really mind if there's tons of hair or no hair, it's all the same, as long as it looks great, in the end."
Depending on each models' hair texture, he used gel, hairspray or plain old water to coax their strands into a flat, slick shape against the head. "We're trying to get it as tight as possible so the snoods and wraps sit on the head sort of comfortably... It's a very old technique that's been around for a long time," he said.
While Guido mentioned "the [Diana] Vreeland era" and Anjelica Huston as references, he also noted that he and Jacobs never actually discussed these women specifically. "[It was inspired by] all of that period, late '60s, early '70s. It was like, Pat Cleveland, Grace Jones, all of that era, but I think also it's very now... The shape and everything is very modern."
Palau seemed especially chill backstage, explaining that his team wasn't even responsible for wrapping the scarves. "It's all pre-done," he said. "I love scarves and I've happened to use them quite a lot in editorials lately. It's a way of kind of giving a lot of style in a very easy way. They bring so much style to a pair of jeans or something. Or you could just tie it into your ponytail, which is a lot easier."
This idea of ease was also applied to the nail look for the show. Nail artist Jin Soon Choi created manicures that looked partially grown-out, intentionally leaving a gap near the cuticle.
Perhaps this idea of laziness in the hair and nail categories was meant to lend a certain realism to the overall beauty look of the season. After all, as anyone who has struggled to draw the prefect cat-eye knows, that one step in your makeup routine can easily eat up 90 percent of your allotted getting-ready time. So, if you do manage a perfectly rendered cat-eye, you should celebrate that achievement, throw your hair up in a scarf and pretend not to notice just how grown-out your manicure is. The Marc Jacobs runway look has never really been about practicality, but this season seems to be a slight nudge in that direction. (Nevermind that it still took no fewer than six hours to get the models through backstage hair and makeup.)
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