Backstage Beauty: Naeem Khan Fall 2015

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of designer Naeem Khan’s work, the Davines, NARS and Essie beauty teams set out to create an overall look that is the “epitome of who the [Naeem Khan] woman has been for 10 years: always glam, always textural and embellished,” says NARS makeup lead James Boehmer. “Glamorous” could be heard on the lips of every backstage beautifier at Khan’s show and, not surprisingly, that very word is the perfect descriptor of the end result.

Khan gave Davines master session ambassador Joseph DiMaggio carte blanche to create any updo he believed suited the collection. DiMaggio came up with an “asymmetrical, French twisty roll,” he says, adding that the key to the design is to err on the side of modernity—nothing too classic, ’40s or dated. To achieve this youthful update, DiMaggio concentrates on two elements: eliminating a traditional parting and playing up fluffy texture. He begins by prepping hair with Davines More Inside This is a Volume Boosting Mousse at the roots and drying the hair with a paddle brush. He then sections hair from ear to ear and gently backcombs the top section with a fine-tooth comb. Now for that eliminated part: DiMaggio interlocks bobby pins as a “grip strip” at the front of the head where a side part would be, and then rolls the section of hair on the same side of the pins away from the face, all the while securing the roll with additional pins to the grip strip. He continues twisting the hair down to the nape of the neck and pins it into place. To finish, DiMaggio musses up any perfection by pulling a few fine face-framing pieces of hair out of the style for an “effortless and easy” vibe.

For NARS lead James Boehmer “glamorous” translates to Tamara de Lempicka, a chic Polish art deco painter whose personal style became as well known and revered as her portraits. Even today, the women in De Lempicka’s paintings “would seem like modern, cool girls,” says Boehmer. Using colors and shadings found in these paintings, Boehmer crafts a smoky eye (one that looks more like a Hollywood lighting effect than a standard smoky eye design) by blending NARS Ashes to Ashes and Bali Eyeshadows up to the brows and below the bottom lashes in a soft, edgeless fashion. He leaves the brows untouched and skips mascara completely, which further accentuates the hazy look. To create a complementary deep reddish-chocolate matte lip, Boehmer first lines lips with NARS Mambo Eyeliner and then fills them in with Mysterious Red Velvet Matte Lip Pencil. A layer of Jungle Red Lip Liner over the entire mouth works to blend the shades together and prevent an obvious lip-lined look. The final touch is unexpected, yet yields the most amazing result: Boehmer dabs a touch of Rosebud Salve atop the eye makeup “for foggy definition and a kick of light.”

To complete Khan’s “glamorous” ideal, Essie nail lead Julie Kandalec settles on a distressed gold manicure and pedicure. “A flash of toe on the runway is always nice,” she exclaims, adding that she achieved the matchy-matchy nails and toes by painting on two coats of Essie Shifting Power, a gold hue, followed by one very thin coat of Essie Jiggle Hi, Jiggle Low, a light silver color. “The key is to let the gold peek through the silver,” she remarks, explaining that this simple technique is what gives the nails that glam, distressed appearance perfect for the runways and beyond. —Kristen Oldham Giordani

[Images courtesy of Essie, Shan Schnur for Davines and NARS]

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