The saying "save the best for last" often feels apropos on the final day of New York Fashion Week, during which Marc Jacobs stages his always-spectacular runway show. And this season, day seven was stacked with another major name in fashion: Rihanna. The singer/actress/beauty mogul/designer/otherworldly being held a presentation to debut the Fall 2018 collection of her Savage x Fenty lingerie brand, and — in a move that surprised absolutely no one — it was an absolutely epic event. There was, of course, the wonderfully diverse cast of models including Bella and Gigi Hadid, Duckie Thot, a pregnant Slick Woods, Joan Smalls, Raisa Flowers, Paloma Elsesser, Leomie Anderson, Carissa Pinkston, Jazzelle Zanaughtti and Indira Scott and a group of professional dancers.
The combination runway show/performance was broken up into different segments, each evoking a different mood — with a distinct beauty look to match. Rihanna's personal makeup artist Priscilla Ono (who also serves as Global Makeup Artist for Fenty Beauty) headed up the vision. "There's different groups of models, and they're going through the different feelings," she explained in a pre-show interview backstage. "Each group has that feeling interpreted in makeup."
"Everything is really washes of color, kind of like stained glass," said Ono of the overall inspiration. But that manifested quite differently from one look to the next. Several models who were included in what Ono described as the "badass grunge group" wore a blurred red lip, which was traced outside their lip lines and then blended to create a messy, disheveled effect inspired by "a bloody nose." Other models, in extreme contrast, received much more subdued, traditionally pretty makeup. "We have a very ethereal, shimmery, glossy eye, and that's very happy, very glowy," explained Ono. "Then we have a very strong look, very strong on the inner brow bone and the eyebrow. Then we have happy, bright, vivid colors, so I guess every emotion goes with the way these are being interpreted."
Unsurprisingly, Rihanna was "very involved" in the creative direction for both the makeup and the hair. Speaking of the latter, which was executed by hairstylist Yusef (also part of Rihanna's glam squad) for Dyson and Oribe, there were almost too many distinct styles to sum them up with any one specific descriptor. The hairstyles were as unique and diverse and eclectic as the models themselves. "It's about freedom of expression, mixing whimsical with some sex appeal and just fun. Everybody is their own person," said the hairstylist backstage.
Drawing on each model's own style, aesthetic and hair texture, Yusef and his team created elaborate ponytails, updos, braids, slicked-down baby hair styles, Afros and loose curls. "I went to rehearsals, I saw all the things they were doing. I had a vision yesterday, and then today when I came in that all changed. I had the freedom to do that, which is fun. It's very whimsical, like a dream," he said.
A whimsical, Rihanna-directed dream isn't exactly the worst way to end New York Fashion Week, if you ask us.
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