The MAC trends presentation always gives you a tantalising glimpse into the future of make-up, making you feel like fast-forwarding through the current season into the next one because what’s waiting there seems so much cooler and more alluring than what we have right this minute. Such is the ever-changing nature of fashion, constantly lusting after the new.
When beauty is explained to you by a senior MAC make-up artist like Charlotte Tilbury, Val Garland or the great Terry Barber who presented to us this week, it becomes both human and awe-inspiring. These people are true visionaries and artists who use the human face as a canvas to express all sorts of concepts, moods and emotions.
But when Terry’s describing a particular technique or product it doesn’t feel remote or intimidating, in fact quite the opposite – I couldn’t wait to get back to my own dressing table and start playing around with colours and textures, looking at make-up in a totally new, experimental way.
For the AW13 presentation, Terry translated four different aesthetics that dominated the autumn/winter catwalks while a senior MAC make-up artist created a corresponding look on a model. I've tried to decipher all my manically scribbled notes and distilled down Terry's words of wisdom here, so if you want a glimpse into the future of beauty and a few tips for trying out the looks yourself, read on...
REB-ELLE“Black is definitely back” declared Terry, adding “fashion wants to reclaim the black eye as it was stolen from us by reality TV stars!” At Missoni we saw lots of black under the eye, broken down into the lashes. “All make-up at the moment has this beautiful streamlined quality. Not a lot of eyeshadow, more liner and eye stain."
"It’s a ‘night meets day’ mood – the walk of shame! For the woman who liked her make-up when she’s worn it for about three hours. It’s a very technical look to do.” Terry wryly notes of fashion’s obsession with punk (*cough* Met Ball *cough*) “I love it when Versace does punk – it’s not really punk at all, the punks I knew were all about spots and spitting.”
The modern look is all about bottom-heavy eyes – above the eye looks ‘50s, below it is more urban cool. This season is all about make-up that has a slightly unfinished quality, like a beautiful jacket with a frayed hem – it suggests confidence, intelligence and youth. Terry explains “Perfection is getting slightly boring – even tacky. Broken is chic – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!”
SPIRITUAL-EYESThis is all about the trend for colour on the eyes, but we’re not talking boring old eyeshadow, rather eye stains. The look is cold, soft, pretty, romantic and gothic. ‘Tired, sleepy eyes’ – Victorian diseased eyes! (Oh I love fashion when it gets like this!) A new take on romantic with a gothic twist. Brows should be thick, full, voluminous. Bring them closer together to add intensity, make them less arched, straighter to frame the face.
“Beauty plays against fashion, it doesn’t coordinate to it” advises Terry. I liked the sound of the “scorched beauties” that Alex Box created for Gareth Pugh – girls partying in a stately home which then catches fire and they have to flee in disarray, lightly singed. Chic.
Don’t be scared of putting colour below the eye – it’s moody and intense ie. HOT. There was a scary amount of pinky-red, Bordeaux colours being used around the eye to create the consumptive Victorian heroine look that so many make-up artists seem obsessed with. To me it looks worryingly like ‘rabbit with mixamatosis’ so I think I’ll probably leave that one.
Putty and mushroom shades are also blended around the eyes – languid and expressive, rather than classic beauty. Senior artist Rachel O’Donnell used a stone lip pencil on her model which was almost grey in shade – Terry explained that MAC were always on the verge of discontinuing this shade because the customers don’t get it, but every time they try the make-up artists campaign to keep it!
AU-CURRANTThe lip is still huge – it hasn’t gone away. Phew. Creating this look on stage for us was Debbie Finnegan who did Rebecca’s LFW makeover! This trend is all about a new, dark sophistication – deep fuchsia, oxblood, charred red, smoked purple.
At Paul Smith they took the colour blocking in the clothes and recreated that on the lip for a futuristic take on ‘50s – patting colour on, then smudging it up – modern, blurred, as if through a lens. This is definitely one I will be trying as I’m quite bored of my classic retro red or deep pink lip, but don’t want to abandon it completely. And I’m definitely not waiting for autumn – I’ll try it right now!
Terry assured us that plum lipstick no longer says “mother of the bride”. Avoid matching a strong eye with a strong lip – this way lies Joan Collins in Dynasty. Keep the lip strong and the eye plain for a feeling of ease. It will look pure and subversive (the Belgian designers love this look). Debbie created an almost Shakespeare’s Sister vibe, using my beloved Russian Red lipstick accented with a neon pigment for an undone feel.
PERSPEX-TIVEEvery season, texture becomes more important – creating structure with light – and nowhere was this more obvious than with the fourth key trend – futuristic nude. This is a chic, monochromatic look, or as one make-up artist put it, “a French girl going grunge” (I SO want to be that girl.) The key for achieving beautiful matte skin is MAC’s mineralised loose powders which Terry described as like silk stockings for the face. Not a chalky, talcy matte – this is luminous.
Charlotte Tilbury created a modern Hitchcock heroine at Mugler by using Lipglass on the lids for a mirror-like, Perspex effect and contrasting this with a matte, peach lip. Terry confessed that using MAC’s famous Lipglass on the eyelids for catwalk shows is a total nightmare, but it looks so amazing that it’s worth standing by with handfuls of cotton buds to tidy up the smudges.
The most extreme version of this trend is the all-over face gloss (probably not one for an evening in the pub) which is reminiscent of robots and androids. Could you bear to wear gloss on your eyelids? I actually tried this very look with my own tube of Lipglass about ten years ago and my eyelids stuck open and I couldn’t close my eyes! So no, not fun.