Runway Makeup: Rodarte Spring 2013

“A modern-medieval face” is what the tip sheet James Kaliardos was passing around to his team backstage at Rodarte said, but there was more to it than that, of course. “The collection feels Dungeons & Dragons to me, not Joan of Arc,” Kaliardos elaborated, referencing the austerity of old religious paintings and “getting rid of the Kim Kardashian look—forever.”

That meant skipping those familiar, heavily bronzed contours and focusing instead on a paled-out complexion that was treated with NARS Skin Optimal Brightening Concentrate and a light-handed application of its Sheer Glow Foundation just in the center of the face, “because once it gets on the cheeks, it actually looks like foundation,” according to Kaliardos. There wasn’t much visible product on the face at all, really, save for NARS’ Triple X Lip Gloss, which was swathed onto mouths and eyelids and applied through girls’ brows as well, including show-opener Jessica Stam’s. “Can you fix me,” Stam beseeched Kaliardos, who added a little fullness, too, at the model’s request.

Odile Gilbert was working off the proportions of Kate and Laura Mulleavy’s designs. “When they showed me the clothes, I thought [the girls] needed something long,” Gilbert said, referring to the hair, which she made “strict and straight” to accommodate a dragon earring cuff clipped onto models’ left ears. “It’s like the girls are shaved,” she explained, slicking strands with Kérastase Ciment Thermique for a pre-blow-dry polish, and dividing them into three sections: two in back—one hanging straight down over the other—and one in front, which was combed all the way over to one side and coated with its Elixir Ultime for added shine.

The finishing touch came from the most conceptual neutral nail we’ve seen this week. “It took 200 man-hours,” CND manicurist Michelle Huynh said of the three-dimensional polish-on-polish basketweave tips that showcased a blended base of its varnishes in Desert Suede and Frosting Cream. Nude, it turns out, doesn’t necessarily mean boring.

As we stagger through day six of New York fashion week, the nude nail—or no nail—movement is gaining steam with each passing show. But that hasn’t stopped the industry’s nail artists from flexing their creative muscles. Michelle Huynh’s spiel at Rodarte started much like many similar spiels have gone since the weekend. “We created a base with two coats of Frosting Cream and Desert Suede, which we followed with a glossy topcoat,” the CND manicurist began. But it ended quite differently. “Then we mixed those two colors with Chocolate Milk, painted a piece of wax paper, let it dry, and topped that with a matte topcoat,” she continued—at which point our ears perked up. “We cut the paper into strips,” she explained, demonstrating how the microscopic slivers were then crisscrossed on top of the nail and glued down by another coat of the band’s Super Shiny Topcoat, which was slicked on underneath the paper pieces, not on top of them, so there was a “glimmer” from the different textures playing off one another when models walked down the runway. Not your average nude nail, to be sure.


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