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Q&A: Charlotte Tilbury and Guido Palau

Charlotte Tilbury and Guido Palau talk about the natural hair and makeup look that’s sweeping the runways, overdone eyebrows and Kim Kardashian wearing the “wet” hair trend.

Fashion week might be in full swing, with editors, retailers and influencers Instagramming and Snapping from show to show — but it’s the makeup and hair stylists behind the scenes who complete a designer’s vision. They are integral parts to the fashion week machine, the “finishers” who, with the swipe of a highlighter or the right chignon, can bring a trend to life.

Below, makeup guru Charlotte Tilbury and leading hairstylist Guido Palau talk to WWD about the natural hair and makeup look that’s sweeping the runways, overdone eyebrows and the “wet” hair trend that’s being brought to the mainstream by Kim Kardashian.

WWD: Do runway trends translate to everyday beauty?
Charlotte Tilbury: Of course, and now thanks to the rise of social media and online how-tos we’re seeing runway trends make it into people’s everyday beauty routines faster and faster. Every season there are always a few different makeup trends and themes, and one or two break through and become more defining for the season. For example, strong brows were a big recent runway trend that have now become an integral part of people’s daily beauty routine.
Whenever I conceptualize a new product, complete a look or lipstick color for my line, I always take mood board inspiration from the runway looks I have created.

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WWD: How do you feel about the “natural makeup look” that’s been picking up steam where there is little to no inspiration from the designer?
C.T.: The clothes are always the inspiration. Every season, designers pull from their incredible libraries of inspirational references including film, art, architecture, music and photography as well as cultural movements to create their collections.
One of the wonderful things about being a makeup artist is that you are able to be chameleonic and go on these inspiring journeys with the designers each season — going on a deep dive into each of their very different magical worlds and creating a makeup look for their show that allows the clothes to shine.
A juxtaposition, or contrast between the makeup and the clothes really brings modernity to the total look — and a fresh minimalist natural look to the face really does this — which is what we’re seeing with the current natural makeup trend that we’ve seen on many of the recent runways.

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WWD: What do you think the next phase after that will be?
C.T.: It all depends on the collections of the coming season. That is the genius to it; I always meet the designer a few days before the show, and together we will look at the clothes, and combine our ideas and inspirations for the makeup look. One trend I know will remain, is beautiful, highlighted skin. When juxtaposed with a bold lip or a statement eye, glowing luminous skin keeps the look fresh and modern.

WWD: What do you think of the trend of using makeup to achieve skin-care effects?
C.T.: Hybrid products are the future of the cosmetics universe. Everyone is so time-poor, that every woman and man needs products that can multitask and perfect their skin, such as my Wonderglow, which is an instant soft-focus beauty flash primer.

WWD: What makeup trend do you wish would go away?
C.T.: I think my quest to give women the tools to create perfect makeup is really reaching people and all the little makeup mishaps like foundation tide lines, and overdrawn fake-looking brows are being banished thanks to a wider awareness on YouTube. It’s about accessibility, not negativity.

WWD: What makeup trend do you wish would come back?
C.T.: A lot have come back around already! I love the Seventies trend for golden goddess-esque, glowing, tanned skin, wider, fuller lips and glossy, bouncy hair. The Sixties will also always be a huge source of inspiration for me — amazing Bardot hair, that beautiful elongating Feline Flick, nude-y lips and lots of lashes.

WWD: What three products does every woman need to own?
C.T.: My Magic Cream: I carry it with me at all times. The cream actually got its name because I used to mix and use it backstage to turn around tired skin of supermodels and celebrities. I never apply makeup without it; it gives me the perfect glowing base.
Legendary Brows: Brows are the pillars of the face — they define your beauty. Eyebrows are actually the key to facial identity, they’re what makes us recognizable. My new Sculpt & Shade Gel, Legendary Brows, glides on like a dream and has a micro-fine precision brush that coats, shades and grooms every single hair, “growing” them for defined brows in an instant.
Lipstick: It’s happiness in a tube. My new Hot Lips collection celebrates the mood-enhancing powers lipstick has. I wear Kim K-W.

WWD: Do runway trends translate to hair?
Guido Palau: Yes. Nowadays, a lot of what designers want to see on the runways are heightened versions of real hair. The barrier has been broken down. It’s not at the moment about fantasy in hair; it’s making realness look special and desirable. That’s not every show, but I’d say 70 percent of shows want some realness so the woman looking can understand the runway. It doesn’t have to be 100 percent replicated, but I’d say [most] shows I work on are based on reality, taken from the streets and reinterpreted and put onto the runway. It’s something real women can identify with. At the moment, we aren’t inspired by history or fantasy, which we have in other decades. That isn’t relevant at the moment.

WWD: When was “fantasy” really happening?
G.P.: It goes in and out. When you do Marc Jacobs’ show, there’s a fantasy element. It’s full-on fashion and has a total look. That doesn’t always step into reality. There are shows in Europe and New York that are about a fantasy; it’s not a decade where everything is referencing a fantasy period. Going back to the Eighties and Seventies, those [decades] were more about a fantastical journey in fashion. But it does exist in spots all over the fashion calendar. People get excited about these, because [they know] it’s going to be a more extreme idea of hair. [There is fantasy at] maybe Prada, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen — but not always. The designers — someone like Ralph Lauren — always has a woman who is a relatable, American, classic kind of idea of beauty. At Marc Jacobs, each season his woman changes. And it can be quite radical; it can really jump. I am prepared to do whatever for shows. At the moment it’s quite natural and streetlike, but that wont stop me from doing much more extreme things.

WWD: What hair trend do you wish would come back?
G.P.: I wish fantasy would come back. I like the excess of the fashion show and the unbelievability and the wow factor. Certainly, Marc Jacobs has a great energy and visually, it’s impactful. [It’s] that kind of crazy fashion stuff that people are like, “Wow how does that come together?” I wish that would come back a little more.

WWD: What trend appeared the most during the February and March shows?
G.P.: Textures, a more “wettish” texture in hair…sort of damp.
It’s non-dry hair, just out of the shower, caught in the moment and your hair is disheveled and slightly sticking to your face. It’s almost like a moment that’s captured in a film. I started to work with damp textures at Prada maybe four years ago, and you do them once and it feels avant-garde and then you get used to it and then you use it again in a different way. It can take three to four years for a trend [to form]. Kim Kardashian at the MTV VMAs [last week] had wet hair, and then people see her as a recognizable face of beauty and think she looks sexy and it crosses over.
When I do a show it might not seem as palatable.

WWD: Will wet hair become a mainstream hair trend?
G.P.: With Kim’s endorsement, it goes a long way with a trend. She looked glamorous, she looked sexy. She wore that wet texture and she looked like how a lot of women would like to look. Having Kim Kardashian wear a trend makes people see it in a different way. Yes, wet hair can be appropriated for women wanting to look sexy.

WWD: Are there any hair trends you think we’ll see a lot of this month?
G.P.: It’s hard to say because we haven’t really started. It’s only after I’ve done them that I realize what the trend is. There’s a more varied idea of beauty [now]. Maybe 10 years ago we’d be looking for trends and putting them into categories, like “romantic waves” or “Fifties glamour,” giving them titles that we know and that we’ve seen before. [Now,] beauty doesn’t want to be so targeted in one era or genre. We talk about character, a feeling in hair, an ease in hair rather than the Fifties of the Forties. If it is Forties-inspired, it’s so hidden in the modern way we do it that you probably wouldn’t even realize it’s inspired by the Forties. Even though [we’re] taking inspiration from different eras, it doesn’t come out as literally. It’s been so diffused that you don’t even know where the reference point comes from anymore.