Runway Report: Keeping It Real (Yet Polished) at Monique Lhuillier

When it comes to beauty, it’s all about keeping it real at Monique Lhuillier. “The clothes are impeccably constructed and designed, and that's the last thing we wanted to do with the beauty,” says Moroccanoil Lead Stylist Bob Recine. “We want the beauty to be real; we don’t want to perfect beauty to sacrifice charm.”

To get the au natural look, Recine works Moroccanoil Volumizing Mousse through the models’ locks and then roughly dries hair with Moroccanoil Tourmaline Ceramic Hair Dryer. “[I call it a] convertible [car] blow-dry,” he says. Think: the top’s down and the resulting windblown locks on a beautiful summer day. He uses his hands to pull the hair into a ponytail in line with the ear, and then secures it with an elastic and a bow. “We don't want a ponytail that's too high or low because that’s too boring,” he says. He mists the ponytail with Moroccanoil Dry Texture Spray, roughing up the hair with his fingers for added texture, and then finishes with a spritz of Morrocanoil Luminous Hairspray to seal the design. “The little details like the bow make it real and sophisticated versus messy,” he shares. “If you see a lady walking down Madison Avenue without the bow, you’d call her messy, but, with the bow you’d think she’s [intentionally] making the look.”

MAC Lead Artist Mark Carrasquillo works with the models’ natural features for his makeup design. “I’m calling the inspiration ‘heightened realness,’” he says. “We’re being really honest to the [individual] girl so we’re not changing her features, we’re just enhancing them.” For the eye, Carrasquillo curls lashes sans mascara and uses concealer on lids and the brow bone. “I want to mimic skin,” he says. “We get the arched shape without it looking powdery or like a product and it kills the redness on lids.” Depending on the models’ natural hair color, a darker shade of a MAC eyebrow pencil is chosen to fill in brows, giving them a strong, groomed look. “It’s reminiscent of Christy Turlington in the ’90s,” he says. “I want it to feel like we intentionally did [the brows], so it’s darker than her hair and more defined.” For the cheek he applies MAC Cream Colour Base in Vintage Rose or MAC Cremeblend Blush in Ladyblush, depending on the model’s complexion, and adds a layer of MAC Studio Careblend powder on top. “It makes it feel like [the flush] is coming from the inside out,” he says. To finish the look, Carrasquillo coats pouts with moisturizer and uses a MAC Lip Pencil that matches the model’s natural lip tone to highlight the cupid’s bow. “Everything is just heightening the real thing,” he says. “It’s just making sure it’s defined without being beat down with a ton of makeup.”

For the nail design, Essie Lead Artist Julie Kandalec taps into both the innocent and dark sides of the collection, choosing sheer nude Essie in Adore-A-Ball for toes and deep red Essie in Wicked for tips. “With nudes I like to compare opacities with milk,” she says when explaining the shade. “[Adore-A-Ball] is like skim milk: It has a little bit of coverage and, no matter how many layers you put on, it won’t be opaque, but it still has something [to it].” To get this look, Kandalec applies Essie Ridge Filling Base Coat, two coats of Adore-A-Ball and finishes with Essie Good To Go Top Coat. “With toes, a ridge-filling base coat is best because [toenails] have more possibility to have ridges,” she says. “It’s super important for a smooth canvas.”

For the tips, Kandalec picked Wicked to steer away from typical pinky spring colors. “We wanted something grown-up but not too predictable,” she says. “We wanted to keep it cool, but didn’t want it to [read] spring. It’s nice to see the contrast when you're wearing light colors—if you're wearing pink colors it's like, where did the mani go?” To get the look, apply Essie in First Base Base Coat, two coats of Wicked and finish with Good to Go.

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