If you’re reading this from Manhattan, you may have noticed the optimistic NYFW signage fluttering away atop lamp posts in the early fall breeze. And while it’s difficult to imagine fashion week without throngs of insiders peacocking on the streets, BMW didn’t shell out for sponsored advertising by accident—NYFW is, indeed happening! Albeit mostly online and with a highly edited run of show. At Collina Strada, the makeup was sponsored by Glossier, and ITG came along for a “backstage” look at fashion week’s most creative season yet—while hair, makeup, styling teams and photographers were in full PPE, there was energy and excitement as the team brought Collina’s vision to life.
The show was put on by live experience production company Barlow & Sons, and as Executive Producer Alice Barlow explained, the team worked with a COVID-19 safety consultant to responsibly execute the creative vision. Upon entering the space, everyone had to fill out a COVID questionnaire and get a temperature check. Only three models at a time were allowed in the studio to maximize the distance between working areas. And while models were unmasked for makeup application, lead makeup artist Allie Smith and her team were provided with face shields as well as protective masks.
“I started each makeup look with beautiful, healthy, glowing skin, and then everyone got their own unique variation,” said Smith. The same creative mind behind last season’s painterly smudges of bright citrus hues, Smith had to figure out a way to complement (not overshadow or clash with) the colorful clothing and sculptural, spray painted wigs on display this season. If you’ve ever wondered how to have fun with makeup when your outfit has its own thing going on, take notes: to keep the looks from crowding Smith emphasized one feature on each model and left the rest natural. And the not-too-prescriptive gameplan left lots of room for play. “Some models got fun sketches with colorful eyeliners, some got a lip gloss or a little more of a flush, some were just super dewy with some Lidstar on the eyes,” she explained.
In order to ensure the models’ glow would be visible in the fashion show’s updated digital format, Smith did a little Macgyvering with her suite of Glossier highlighters. She made a bespoke glow by scraping off a little Haloscope straight from the stick and blending it with a few drops of Nightshine and Bubblewrap eye cream on a sanitary palette gave skin a juicy finish. “If I wanted a little extra dew, I mixed in a teeny bit of Balm Dotcom,” she added. For a more subtle glow, Smith also experimented with combining Skin Tint or concealer with the same highlighters. “Again, it creates that nice, dewy skin finish.”
When it was time to add a colorful accent, Smith reached for a staple product you probably already own. “The eyeliner pencils are so much fun—I’m finding new ways to work with them all the time,” she told ITG. In some cases, Nectar doubled as a warm flush of light to the cheekbones and corners of the eyes. Jumbo, a dark orange, was used to draw whimsical flowers and cover up tattoos. She even tested out layering the liners under a sheer eyeshadow like Skywash, creating soft definition without a ton of blending or expert precision. Finally, Smith picked up the same highlighters she used to perfect the skin to add dimension into her handiwork. Suddenly flowers became rounded and plump, grounding the bold line drawings to their dewy canvas.
But the best highlighter technique Smith employed (and also the most unexpected) was painting it on in soft crescent moons under models’ lower lids. “I discovered that trick because I love my Italian genes, but I have more bags than Bloomingdales,” said Smith, who revealed the “absolutely bonkers” sounding move is often the ace in her back pocket for a wide-awake complexion. “I love using Haloscope specifically for the under eyes because it does two things: it gives luminescence and the gold kind of acts like a color corrector for the purple tones,” she explained. For bright, rested eyes on the day of the show, first she applied a thin layer of Stretch Concealer on top of models’ dark circles, then went to work buffing Haloscope in Topaz into the creamy concealer. “Because it’s such a creamy product,” Smith emphasized, “the most important thing is making sure the highlighter is blended in enough that it doesn’t crease and leave any peaks.” Once it was smooth, she blotted with Wowder to set. “It’s better than baking because it looks fresh and you don’t need to use a lot of product. I swear to God it works.”
Slideshow photography by Hunter Abrams