From the moment we laid eyes on Tomo Koizumi's invitation for his Fall 2019 show — which featured an artistically blurred photo of Kaia Gerber swathed in a voluminous, brightly colored tulle confection — we knew it was a show not to be missed from the New York lineup. This season marked the Tokyo-based designer's NYFW debut, but to look at the A-list backstage beauty team, big-name-studded cast of models and beautiful designs themselves, you'd never know it.
Stylist Katie Grand spotted the costume designer's work on Instagram, and then, with mere weeks of notice, enlisted her friend and collaborator Marc Jacobs to stage a show in his New York City store on Madison Avenue. Because neither Grand nor Jacobs are the type to do anything halfway, they made sure the industry's best were on hand. The aforementioned impressive casting included the likes of Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Karen Elson, Gwendoline Christie, Joan Smalls, Rowan Blanchard, Lexi Boling and Taylor Hill. Guido Palau for Redken helmed hair, while Pat McGrath keyed makeup and Jin Soon Choi oversaw nails. In other words, the Tomo Koizumi debut featured the most revered beauty pros of our time.
But despite all that mega talent, because the collection itself was a veritable explosion of candy-colored, rainbow tulle, glitter-covered shoes, and couture-like silhouettes that seemed to float like clouds down the makeshift carpet runway, the beauty look was relegated to play second-fiddle. Given that it included hair that was shellacked to models' heads and baby bangs so choppy they could be mistaken for the handiwork of a four-year-old, that's really saying something.
In an exclusive backstage interview, Guido noted that Koizumi had given him plenty of creative freedom to execute a look to complement the designs. "They sent me pictures of the clothes and just let me kind of get on with it, really. I was deciding whether to go really crazy and extreme, and I didn't want it to look vintage," he said.
The look that won out was a "head wrap with a fake bang," with the models' hair smoothed flat against their heads, concealing a row of extensions at the hairline chopped into piece-y, ultra-short bangs. The key product Guido and his team relied on was Redken's Forceful 23 Hairspray, which they misted on generously as they brushed the hair into place for a pristine, shellacked effect with a glossy finish.
"There's a lot of texture in the clothes and a lot going on, so I wanted the head shape to feel very solid," he said. As for the decision to add the slightly wonky, "jagged" bangs, it was all about creating a bit of edge. "I didn't want it to be too classic. The bangs give it a bit of strength; the clothes are quite over the top, so I didn't want to compete with them, but I didn't want to go so simple that the girls almost disappeared in the clothes. It gives the girls a strength. This made it a bit boyish."
The makeup look varied from model to model, but the main focal points that remained common were the skin — luminous, dewy and flawless, having been patiently tended to, perfected and highlighted in signature Pat McGrath fashion — and lashes. Several models also wore exaggerated, almond-shaped shadow in appropriately confectionery shades like glittery, cotton-candy pink (shown above).
The nails were the most subdued aspect of the look, with Jin Soon pulling three different nude shades from her own polish line — Pinky, a pale shell pink that will debut in the spring; Sandbar, a creamy pale beige; and Demure, a dusty brownish-mauve. "I love his clothes; his color palettes are bright and inspired by nature, like sunsets, sunrises," the nail artist said backstage. "We talked all about it and he said he likes to have natural colors, but I didn't want them to be too sheer. I wanted opaque colors that could flatter different skin tones."
Click through the gallery below to see more of the beauty look from the Fall 2019 Tomo Koizumi runway show.
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