If you're reading this from Manhattan, you may have noticed optimistic NYFW signage fluttering on lampposts in early fall. And while it's hard to imagine Fashion Week taking place without many insiders on the streets, BMW didn't accidentally throw in sponsored advertising – NYFW actually happens! Though mostly online and with a heavily edited show. At Collina Strada, the make-up was sponsored by Glossier, and ITG came to take a behind-the-scenes look at the most creative season of fashion week to date – while the hair, make-up, styling teams and photographers were all in full PPE Energy and Excitement The team brought Collins vision to life.
The show was organized by live experience production company Barlow & Sons, and as executive producer Alice Barlow explained, the team worked with a COVID-19 safety advisor to responsibly implement the creative vision. Upon entering the room, everyone had to fill out a COVID questionnaire and undergo a temperature check. Only three models were allowed in the studio at a time in order to maximize the distance between the work areas. And while the models were exposed for makeup application, head makeup artist Allie Smith and her team were provided with face shields and protective masks.
"I started every makeup look with beautiful, healthy, glowing skin, and then each one has its own unique twist," said Smith. Smith was the same creative mind behind last season's picturesque flecks of bright citrus colors. He had to find a way to compliment (not overshadow or conflict with) the colorful clothes and sculptural, spray-painted wigs on display this season. If you've ever wondered how to have fun with makeup when there is something special about your outfit, take notes: to keep the look from crowding out, Smith emphasized one feature on each model and left the rest Naturally. And the not too precise game plan left a lot of space to play. "Some models got funny sketches with brightly colored eyeliner, some got a lip gloss or a little more flush, some were just super wet with a bit of Lidstar on their eyes," she explained.
To ensure the models' glow is visible in the show's updated digital format, Smith did a little macgyvering with her suite of Glossier highlighters. She made a bespoke glow by scraping a tiny haloscope right off the wand and mixing it with a few drops of Nightshine and Bubblewrap eye cream on a sanitary pallet to give the skin a juicy finish. "If I wanted a little more dew, I mixed in a little bit of Balm Dotcom," she added. For a more subtle glow, Smith also experimented with combining skin color or concealer with the same highlighter pens. "This nice, moist skin finish does it again."
When it came time to add a splash of color, Smith reached out for a staple you likely already own. "The eyeliners are so much fun – I keep finding new ways to work with them," she told ITG. In some cases, nectar acted as a warm ray of light on the cheekbones and corners of the eyes. Jumbo, a dark orange, was used to draw whimsical flowers and cover up tattoos. She even tested how she layered the liners under an eyeshadow like Skywash for soft definition without a ton of blending or expert precision. Eventually, Smith picked up the same highlighters she used to perfect the skin to add dimension to her handcraft. Suddenly the flowers became round and plump, grounding the bold line drawings on their damp canvas.
But the best highlighter technique Smith used (and the most unexpected too) was painting in soft crescent moons under the lower lids of the models. “I discovered this trick because I love my Italian genes, but I have more pockets than Bloomingdales,” said Smith, who revealed that the “absolutely crazy” movement is often the ace in her back pocket for a wide-awake complexion. "I love using Haloscopes specifically on the eyes because it does two things: it gives luminescence and the gold acts like a color corrector for the purples," she explained. For bright, rested eyes on the day of the show, she first applied a thin layer of stretch concealer to the models' dark circles and then went to work buffing the haloscope in Topaz into the creamy concealer. "Because it's such a creamy product," Smith pointed out, "the most important thing is to make sure the highlighter is blended in well so that it doesn't wrinkle or spike." Once it was smooth, she dabbed wowder to set. "It's better than baking because it looks fresh and you don't have to use a lot of product. I swear to God it works."
Slideshow photography by Hunter Abrams