Backstage Beauty: Carmen Marc Valvo Fall/Winter 2015

Catholic schoolgirls have been known to have a wild side, and such is the inspiration behind the beauty at Carmen Marc Valvo. “It’s chic nerd,” says lead hairstylist Ted Gibson of his design. “Girls these days aren’t shampooing their hair every single day, but they’re sick of wearing a braid or putting it in a ponytail. So this twist in the back with a little bit of height in the crown gives them a different kind of sensibility and feel to the hair.”

To craft the messy schoolgirl look, Gibson creates a dry, wavy texture using a curling iron, flat iron and Kérastase Volumifique and Spray A Porter. For a bit of off-kilter asymmetry, he guides the hair away from the face and to the right, being careful not to create any parting, and then twists both sides of the models’ tresses and secures with bobby pins. Using his fingers (as a schoolgirl would!), Gibson pulls loose a few pieces from the front and passes a few sprays of L’Oréal Professionel Infinium 2 Hairspray over the entire look.

For MAC lead artist Romero Jennings’ schoolgirls-gone-bad makeup design, he focuses on fresh skin with a lash twist. “When you look at the eyes, it looks like regular eye makeup. But when you get really close, you can see the eyelashes are actually painted onto the skin,” says Jennings.

But don’t think lashes can go bare; oh no — Jennings curls and sets them with MAC Extended Play Lash mascara. Only then does he paint vertical strokes of additional lashes onto the skin itself using MAC Superslick Liquid Eye Liner in On the Hunt. The effect magnifies the natural lashes above and beyond. “I always like a little bit of artistry. And it looks more painterly so it’s more fun!” he claims.

Does the schoolgirl theme carry over to the nails? Sort of. Morgan Taylor lead manicurist Danielle Candido says she can’t go totally cutesy and preppy; she instead opts for a sophisticated design. “Carmen’s work is always so classic and timeless. It’s just beautiful,” she shares. “He was going for that classic schoolgirl Americana feel. And there’s just a sophistication about Carmen’s designs that I can’t escape. I didn’t want to be cutesy. I want it to be sharp and sophisticated. I want it to be the finishing touch that you say, ‘Oh, there’s a little bit more there than I expected.’”

To create the look, Candido custom-mixes (as opposed to layering) Morgan Taylor in Metalling Around with Morgan Taylor Mattes a Wrap to mimic the shimmery effect found in the designer’s collection. “There is a reflective quality about the clothes that isn’t shiny-shiny, and I really wanted to capture that in the nails,” she explains. “So I mixed the two of them because if I layered Mattes a Wrap on top, it would have taken the shine away completely.” Candido finishes the design by hand-painting a thin stripe along the outside of the cuticle with Morgan Taylor in Little Black Dress and then highlights only the stripe with Morgan Taylor Make it Last Top Coat. “I wanted the stripe to stand out against the matte finish,” she shares. “It’s understated but it really makes the whole design pop at you.”

–Molly Church

[Image credits: courtesy of Morgan Taylor]

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