If Marc Jacobs has anything to say about it, the days of identical models stomping down the runways in a singular hair-and-makeup look are over. At his Spring 2020 show — held in his favorite Fashion Week haunt, The Park Avenue Armory — Jacobs assembled the superstar beauty dream team of Redken's Guido Palau, Pat McGrath, Jin Soon Choi and Mei Kawajiri to create completely unique looks for each of his 60-plus models. The hair, makeup, and nail pros were tasked with bringing to life what Palau described as "a cast of characters representing a mix of everything Marc likes." McGrath elaborated, saying, "It was definitely, for Marc and I, an idealized interpretation of real life. There is a nod to the past and future. What's great is taking the looks that come from the past but modernizing them. I would call it a modern take on street style — street style in the most maximum way."
Palau and McGrath sat with Jacobs as he styled the show and described to them these "characters" he loved so dearly. Some were specific references, like Jane Fonda in "Klute," or Shelley Duvall, while others were ethereal creatures bedecked in holographic cellophane and mermaid waves. "There are looks from the '70s to the '80s to now; there's fantasy, there's Belle Époque — there's every kind of inspiration in there," mused Palau.
Predictably, that translated to a hodgepodge of hair and makeup looks, with Palau releasing "every technique" in his repertoire to create styles that ranged from understated to romantic to, his favorite, "a funny '80s hair that's kind of a bad perm up in a clip." Thankfully, Redken's arsenal of products were up to the task, with various mousses, gels and hairsprays at the ready. Palau noted that the Triple Take 32 Extreme High-Hold Hairspray got the most play backstage to help keep some of the more elaborate styles in place.
Haircuts and coloring were also on the docket, but the majority were done a few days in advance of the show. And, while there were plenty of hats in the lineup, Palau said that didn't give him much respite. "Even if you see a hat and think, 'Guido got off lightly,' I didn't," he laughed. "For Marc, it's about the minutiae. He wants to know what's underneath the hat, why the texture is like that, if we should keep it natural or be done. It's all about feeling the character and who they are and whether people will get that."
McGrath also didn't get off lightly, so to speak, but seemed energized by the challenge of coming up with 60-plus distinct makeup looks. Working with Marc Jacobs Beauty (of course), she seemed energized by the challenge. "We're very much digging into our old couture bags, which was very fun to do again," she said. "Papers that I've been hoarding for 15 years — it's great to see them again." That meant that in addition to subtle nudes and smoky eyes, we also saw turquoise liner, star sequins, glitter and oil paints. While it wasn't mentioned, there was a bit of a "Euphoria" vibe to a few of the looks, including a cerulean under-eye shadow situation and a pistachio green and holographic foil lid look.
The sheer amount of cosmetics on hand to pull these off was staggering, but there were a few products with commonality, including the Marc Jacobs Beauty Accomplice Concealer & Touch-Up Stick and the O!Mega Glaze Foil Luminizers. And, McGrath focused mostly on eye looks, keeping the lips less dramatic. "We're using [Le Marc Lip Creme] lipsticks, but keeping them sheer and transparent," she explained. "It's a lot of gloss and not a lot of weight on the lip."
Nails were similarly all over the place with Kawajiri creating 14 distinct nail-art looks on gel tips, including tweeds and a "super Kawaii," while Choi used Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer in various shades, including limited-edition Baby Jane and Midnight in Paris.
As more and more designers (looking at you, RiRi and Oscar de la Renta duo Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia) eschew standardized hair and makeup, the eclectic and eccentric individuality McGrath, Palau et. al brought to Jacobs's show just might be the new normal. Sign us up if so.
See more backstage beauty photos from the Marc Jacobs Spring 2020 show in the gallery below.