Backstage Beauty: Mara Hoffman Spring/Summer 2012

(Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

At Mara Hoffman, mexican goddess influences translate as bold brows, coral lips and sky-scraping hair woven with fabric.

“The look we created for Mara Hoffman represents an ethnic beauty, specifically a Mexican Goddess, whose style is tribal chic,” says TIGI lead hairstylist Nick Irwin (who is co-leading with DJ Riggs). “There’s a very strong Mexican influence in the collection’s prints, so we want to marry these prints with the hair; get the material flowing into the hair, while also creating a high, Frieda Kahlo-esque shape.”


(Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Rather than create a simple head-wrap from tribal-print fabric, Riggs and Irwin opt to weave strips of fabric from the collection into a fat three-strand braid made of synthetic crimped extensions. They then wind this braid into a labyrinthine shape that climbs high atop the models’ heads. “The idea is to make the girls look elongated, because these dresses are long and flowing,” Irwin says.


The key to the whole style, Irwin stresses, is crimping. “After spraying hair with TIGI Catwalk Session Series Work It Hairspray, we’re crimping the hair, getting as close to the hairline as possible. Then we brush out the crimps and spray it again, and brush it out again, which lends this almost powdery texture to the hair and allows for some stick.” Pulling the kinked mass into a high, tight ponytail, Irwin braids it and pulls it into a topknot smack in the middle of head to act as an anchor. He sprays hs anchor with a few coats of TIGI Catwalk Session Series Transforming Dry Shampoo to toughen up strands with stiffness and texture and add grip. Only then is the masterpiece ready to be erected. Irwin artfully zigzags and tucks and bends the thick, material-woven braids over the top of the head into a knotted pattern that is as stunning as it is intricate. “I have been excited about this,” Irwin admits, smiling. “It’s nice to do more than a simple high ponytail, to do something a bit more conceptual that really works. I can see girls wearing some version of this on the beach next summer.”

Not surprisingly, the ghost of Frida Kahlo surfaces in the makeup, keyed by Lottie for Make Up For Ever. “Frida’s very strong, and we want a strong look, starting with a very strong eyebrow that will play against a ‘wet’ eye, which I’m creating with Vaseline,” she says. “We’re doing tons of sculpting on the eyes and the cheeks. And then we’re making it modern by adding super-exaggerated highlights.” Lottie notes that the only true color she’s using on the face is Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick in 39, a satin orange coral that plays softly against the neutral sculpted face. “For me, I didn’t want the makeup to take away from Mara’s clothes. The makeup first and foremost is about making these women super-strong, super-beautiful and almost otherworldly,” Lottie says.


(Credit: Ann Lawlor)

For nails, the complexity of the tribal patterns on the clothing at first had Dashing Diva lead nail tech Pattie Yankee excited. “Originally, we were going to dupe the same prints [from Mara’s collection] on the nails, but then we decided to keep the nails a nude color so that they wouldn’t upstage the designs,” Yankee admits. The nude, Dashing Diva Chelsea in the Buff, decks the digits of all but one girl, who is confidently brandishing Dashing Diva The Red Carpet, a fiery, Mexican goddess-approved, red. —Karie L. Frost/Beauty Etc.

Watch the beauty come to life on the Mara Hoffman Spring 2012 runway!

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