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Backstage With Makeup Artists

NEW YORK -- It looked like a battle of the pretties.

Makeup looks on the New York ready-to-wear runways this season fell into two distinct camps: a dark-toned eye -- often with a nude lip -- or a classic red lip with very little on...

NEW YORK — It looked like a battle of the pretties.

Makeup looks on the New York ready-to-wear runways this season fell into two distinct camps: a dark-toned eye — often with a nude lip — or a classic red lip with very little on the eyes.

Diane Von Furstenberg’s models fell in to the first camp, where makeup artist Ayako for Nars blended three shades of wine shadow to create offbeat cat’s eyes. Bobbi Brown at Catherine Malandrino also embraced the dark eye — “But not too perfect. We wanted it too look like the model slept in and maybe had too much champagne,” Brown said, smearing a greasy brown eye shadow from lid to browbone and finishing lips with a nude lipstick from her fall collection. Brown also did smoky, lined eyes in shades of charcoal, black and white at Nicole Miller.

The eyes at Christina Perrin weren’t quite Elizabeth Taylor’s in “Cleopatra,” but they certainly were reminiscent of the 1963 film’s look. Bold black lines curved out from the lid, something MAC’s Ashley Ward termed “graphic.” Ward also drew colors onto eyebrows with a new eye crayon called Spiked. Lips were a butterscotch color called Sis.

At Anne Klein, Tracy Murphy’s centerpiece was an intense eye, using brown cream eye shadow from MAC on the eyelid and underneath the eye with Strobe Cream added to catch the light. Murphy rimmed the eyes with this season’s twist on brown eyeliner: grayish kohl eye pencil. Murphy also chose smoky eyes at Badgley Mischka, where she drew the eyeliner out past the temples, then blended it, for a soft, blurry effect.

The smoke didn’t clear elsewhere. At Bruce, Tom Pecheux used a mix of Shiseido’s Goldleaf, a rich brown, and Silverscape, a grayish-blue, to completely cover the upper eyelid and to create a thick border underneath. A black pencil liner applied inside the eye created a stark outline “just to make it a bit more powerful,” said Pecheux.

Linda Cantello aimed for “slightly decadent sexuality” at Carolina Herrera. Using her own eponymous cosmetics line, Cantello used silvery eye shadow and eyeliner, which she “smushed around,” along with not-too-neat black mascara.

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Teen brand Jane Cosmetics, in its first-ever Fashion Week appearance, provided fresh-faced simple looks for the MegaDenim show. Makeup artist Paige Smitherman and her team favored neutral lips using peaches and pinks and sheer browns. Cheeks got a dab of color on the apple.

“Henry and June meet Kiss,” is how Charlie Green — who liked both smoky eyes and red lips — described the makeup look at Betsey Johnson. Pale skin served as a canvas for smoky gray eyes and matte, black-red lips. Cheeks were colored a rosy pink with Bourjois Blush Cendre de Roses Brune.

Miranda Joyce’s lip choice at Matthew Williamson — MAC’s true red Ruby Woo — popped straight off the runway, particularly since she chose to pair it only with a coating of black MAC mascara on the eyes. At Benjamin Cho, Shiseido’s Miyako Okamoto also went very light around the eyes, saving her statement for the lips — …where she used Shiseido’s Strong Red, a brilliant crimson.

Sometimes the bright-red lip veered distinctly into berry territory, as at Cynthia Steffe, where Stila’s Jeanine Lobell chose several lip shades, including a deep berry, from her upcoming long-wear lip color line, Demi Creme. Lobell also used a greenish-black eyeliner rather than black.

No matter what the season, there are always shows where you can count on minimalist makeup — like the classically elegant cosmetics looks always seen at Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. This season, Tom Pecheux joined the Upper East Side brigade at Chaiken, teaming pale skin with peach cheeks and sheer, pink lips. And, of course, there are always the wild cards — like Anna Sui, whose carnival of color included stripes of blue, peach and lavender eye shadow. At Bill Blass, Frances Hathaway for MAC used a bit of blackened teal and blackened plum on the eyes, while at Oscar de la Renta, Raphael Pita for MAC used deep metallic gray eye shadow, which graduated into a red loose pigment above and below, along with a blue-brown loose pigment placed on top with a light hand to create a “tapestry of color,” said Pita.

But all of the looks had one thing in common: pretty, clear, natural skin, sending a clear message: If you don’t have it already, start investing in treatment products. Add it to the list of reasons why retailers report that sales of treatment lines are booming.

– Julie Naughton with contributions by Andrea M. Grossman, Cassandra Chiacchio, Jenny B. Fine, Matthew W. Evans, Laura Klepacki, and Kristin Finn