As bare-bones beauty dominates the runways, a few holdouts are making sure fantasy lives on.
It was a casual remark, meant to highlight the exceptional craftsmanship behind the Old Hollywood-inspired, ultra-glamorous sets he devised for the Armani Privé Fall 2013 Couture show. But hairstylist Orlando Pita’s words backstage in Paris last summer offered an astute commentary on the state of runway beauty as a whole: “Now that John Galliano and Alexander McQueen are gone from the business, a new guard has created a kind of couture that relates to the street,” he said. “It was always about fantasy; that’s gone for now.”
The role of the backstage beauty team is to complete the full translation from the designer’s mind; it helps refine the woman, or the character, who would wear the clothes. Certain designers stuck to their fantasy-driven existence for spring, with all the over-the-top beauty fanfare that goes with it (Gareth Pugh’s alien-inspired eyebrow discs; Thom Browne’s frizzy-haired, smudged-makeup insane asylum patients; Vivienne Westwood’s similarly unnerved walking dead iteration). However, if you take a look at some of the most anticipated shows of the past few seasons, the resonance of Pita’s statement becomes much louder. From Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang and The Row to Burberry Prorsum, Christopher Kane, Balmain and Isabel Marant, there has been an overwhelming reliance on minimal makeup and easy, undone hair that was most certainly not in the phrasebooks of Galliano or McQueen—or Thierry Mugler and Azzedine Alaïa, for that matter.
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