If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat you’ll know that I was backstage at Milan Fashion Week on Saturday, designing the makeup for Jil Sander’s AW16 show. I’m a huge fan of the brand and loved this stunning collection. 'Precise but not so precise' is how creative director Rodolfo Paglialunga put it - think flashes of lurex, metallic and foil alongside their signature tailoring and chic, clean lines (I'm seriously lusting after the pink dress above...).
When I arrived for the makeup test, Rodolfo and the show's stylist Tony Irvine talked me through some of their inspirations and I put together a makeup moodboard, with references from German expressionist cinema and film noir (notably Fritz Lang’s Metropolis), as well as Man Ray's portrait of Dora Maar. This all tied in with the incredible set, inspired by cult German silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari - the walls were black and grey and dimly lit, with reflections from the windows and downward pools of light along the runway. Coupled with music taken from sci-fi movie Under The Skin, all in all the show felt wonderfully spine-tingling and cinema-graphic.
Here’s how I created the makeup look…
I wanted the skin to look really fresh, natural and illuminated, so after prepping each model’s skin according to type I gave them all a bit of facial massage to quickly boost condition. I then used either Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra or Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation, depending on the model's skin type and shade.
At the makeup test I had an idea to paint a silver line down each model’s nose a la Marlene Dietrich, who had been taught this highlighting trick by film director Josef von Sternberg in the early days of cinema. For the show I did this by mixing Eclat Miracle (coming back to Lancôme later this month - watch this space!) with a drop of Kryolan silver highlighter for the paler girls and gold for darker skintones. As the girls walked the runway, this caught the downward pools of light and looked beautifully striking and cinematic. I also highlighted all the high points of the face so each model's bone structure popped.
To keep the focus on a monochromatic look I forwent blush, contour (not necessary with the sculptural lighting) and bronzer and tried not to use too much powder - I did however add a light sweep to any shiny foreheads in the line up, before the girls stepped out onto the runway.
I’d played around with a few different eye looks at the trial - abstract black liner, a lived-in smokey eye and a pared back, glossy eye with no liner. Rodolfo wanted a bit of strength, so I came up with this soft grey shaded look, with a flash of silver across the upper lash line (you can see the eye look before and after the silver liner in the pictures above). We used a mix of different grey shadows (depending on what my team had in their kit), some matte and some with a hint of shimmer. I flitted between Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette and Nars Eyeshadow Duo in Brumes, buffing the shadow all over the lid and right up to the socket, making sure I kept it very soft and blown-out with no hard edges. I then massaged black liner along the roots of the top lashes and applied Hypnôse Doll Eyes mascara, again just on top - I wanted the mascara to be subtle, so dark lashes only had a teeny brush through, with a bit more applied to blonde lashes to darken. I also abandoned my eyelash curlers - quelle horreur! ; ) I finished the eyes by adding the silver liner (Lancôme Drama Liqui Pencil in Lumiere) and a touch more of my Eclat Miracle mix to the inner corner of the eyes on some of the girls.
For brows, I used a mixture of powders - like Suqqu Balacing Eyebrow - to fill in any gaps (and darken blonde brows), adding strength and power without changing the natural shape. I then brushed them up into shape.
I wanted to take lips down slightly from their natural colour, without making them look too pale. I used either a little bit of concealer or lipstick for this, then took my trusty Eclat Miracle again to highlight the cupid’s bow (centre of the top lip) and across the bottom of the lower lip and crucially a line across the centre of the chin - like Dora Maar in the inspiration photography.
All in all the makeup was fairly minimal but really effective - I loved the way the highlighter and metallic flashes caught the light as the girls walked down the catwalk and under the spotlights above. It's also a really wearable look that would look beautiful for night out.
I hope you like the makeup - let me know what you think in the comments. X
Creative Director - Rodolfo Paglialunga
Stylist - Tony Irvine
Hair - Sam McKnight
Watch the show finale in the video below: