On Sunday, Rodarte made its triumphant return to New York Fashion Week after spending several seasons showing in Paris, much to the delight of the New York fashion crowd — and the beauty editors who cover the shows backstage. With its own brand of elegant whimsy, the label is known for putting its stunning, ethereal runways, and that always extends to the beauty look, often via inventive, unexpected makeup and larger-than-life hair studded with dreamy accessories. For their Spring 2019 collection, designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy held true to all of those aforementioned hallmarks.
For the drizzly outdoor show, which was held in a cemetery on the Lower East Side, the backstage area was housed in a Russian Orthodox Church across the street. Upon entering the space and getting a first glimpse at the look, several beauty editors turned to each other to express their excitement at how refreshing it was to see a capital-L Look, complete with brightly colored eye shadow, voluminous, rose-studded hair, striking red lipstick and gem-adorned nails. Every aspect of the look was artful and new, yet it was imbued with the specific edgy romanticism that's completely familiar for the Rodarte runway.
Nars makeup artist James Kaliardos was inspired by the "Picasso 1932" exhibit he'd seen recently at the Tate Modern in London when it came to incorporating bright colors into the look. "It was so inspiring, and then Kate and Laura and I met and we were talking about colorful eye shadows, and then simultaneously Nars re-launched their eye shadows with these colors and it all fell into place," he said in an interview backstage.
Kaliardos, along with the designers, landed on three matte eye-shadow shades: Douro (canary yellow), Baby Jane (turquoise blue) and Domination (fuchsia pink), which he methodically patted into a geometric shape before diffusing the edges out for a soft, hazier effect.
"I thought it would be great to do [the bright eye shadow] horizontally and [with] a graphic shape to them, but the clothes are so soft and frilly, I didn't want to do that 2000s makeup look. So, we did a softer version of that," he explained. As for the more classic lip, which Kaliardos described as a "red velvety, gorgeous matte lip which looks quite graphic, too, like a Salvador Dalí painting," every model wore the same exact shade: Powermatte Lip Pigment in Don't Stop. "It really works on everybody — I thought I'd have to use different colors on different skin tones," he said. "It goes on liquid and then it dries to a velvety matte and it looks good on every skin tone. It's such an amazing color."
The hair, styled by Odile Gilbert for TreSemmé, was also a showstopper. Each model's strands were adorned with colored roses (real, live ones), among other metallic accessories shaped like birds, stars and flowers. Yes, there was a lot going on, and yes, it was incredible. The floral headpiece trend — which we've seen most recently on fall fashion magazine covers like Rihanna's British Vogue and Beyoncé's American Vogue will continue its reign through spring, it seems. When asked about the inspiration, Gilbert used exactly one word: "Romantic!" And who's to argue with that?
The goal, said Gilbert, was to make the styles somewhat haphazard and messy, as if a young child who had "no idea what they're doing" had been responsible for them. While each model had a unique look, and the accessories — as well as the size and color of the roses — varied from one to the next, the common thread was an intentional disheveled-ness that translated to drama on the runway. She secured the florals with hair pins, as well as with the hair itself, twisting, wrapping and tying the strands around the garlands so that the blooms almost appeared to sprout from beneath them. Romantic, indeed.
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