Makeup As You Go: Beauty Artists Talk Trends At NYFW

James Kaliardos puts makeup on a model before a show.

James Kaliardos puts makeup on a model before a show.

French women don’t get fat, and they draw fruit on their eyelids, don’t they? The thought crossed my mind over the weekend after the first salvo of Fashion Week. Not many people might know this, but the beauty looks coming out off these runway shows—a smoky eye, a bright lip, untamed brows—are decided on during so-called “makeup tests” that makeup artists have with designers.

Brands take advantage of that by sending their teams out with an arsenal of new products they’re developing, months before they hit the shelves. By the time they hit the stores, it would have been enough time to “make trend,” that is, for the look to be experimented on by celebrities and become desirable to consumers. It’s the reason why the last time orange lipstick became a thing, it was because prior to Spring 2013, MAC, the makeup brand, dispatched their artists with samples of tangerine pigments in their makeup cases, which were then picked up by Moschino, Missoni, Holly Fulton, Erdem and Paul Smith—all MAC-sponsored shows.

To see what newfangled makeup craze the next season might bring, The Observer scoped out a handful of shows (the coinage of terms, purely ours). Like an orange mouth, not everything here is for you—but you might not want to throw out that old jar of Vaseline just yet.

PETER SOM: The Banana-Eye

On Friday at Milk Studios, lead makeup artist Tom Pecheux was busy drawing on eyeliner in “perfect sharp bananas.” In his lilting English, the Frenchman said he had been talking to the designer about the face that would suit the clothes. “Two names came up, Jane Birkin and Lou Doillon,” he said. “It’s a mix of the bad British girl, in the sixties. Or what they used to call bad. What we call… cool.” To create a morning-after look, he swept creamy olive shadow on his model’s sockets, jammed a mess of mascara into the top and bottom lashes, and ran a Q-tip along the outer edges of those oblique, bad, British bananas he’d drawn to reinforce their plantain shape. They looked… sharp. Or rather, bad. On the mouth, he dabbed on a mossy nude. “I do say, a bird poo color.” Merde.

The gloss eye.

The gloss eye.

PRABAL GURUNG: Winter Burn Blush

The next day at Prabal Gurung, the barefaced MAC makeup artist Diane Kendal went to work with her own number on the lips. She was trying to erase them, explained the Briton transplant to New York, as she patted more concealer onto a pasty pout. On the eyes, there was no mascara; the lashes weren’t curled—She just penciled in a smidgen of white liner on the very inner corners. She did blend cream blush on the apples of the cheeks. “Like winter burn,” she said, without batting an eyelash.

DELPOZO: The Eggwhite Eye

On Sunday at Delpozo, Spanish-born Monica Marmo created a similar in-from-the- cold look inspired by “a woman, a romantic woman, the future of the romantic woman,” she chanted. Her technique, however, was to finger-paint the blush in a T-shape, traveling down the cheeks like a natural flush. When a model passed by, she whipped out a clear tube and waved it at slick, glassy lids. “This is what we put on the eyes,” she said, looking up in awe from behind her thick black glasses, at the combination of nubile peepers, chrome nails and blond wreath of hair. “Super shiny, it’s plastic, it’s like… amazing.” It was a tube of lipgloss.

DIANE VON FURSTENBERG: More of the Eggwhite Eye

Elsewhere, at Spring Studios in Tribeca—making the final case for repurposing on Sunday—lead artist James Kaliardos was putting lipgloss on the eyes, too. At DVF, he topped off taupe shadow with a sticky gel, identified by an assistant as MAC’s Gloss Crème Brilliance. “It’s not [necessarily] a lip gloss,” Kaliardos said. “It can really be used on the eyes. Gently, without much rubbing, you paint it on.” Like the other artists, he was also thinking of a very cold place, as he buffed contour powder under the cheeks and jaws of a model, whose hair was pulled back in a bun.

“The look is inspired by Russian ballerinas… who have fled. They’re refugees. But very glam refugees.”