Catwalk Cut: The Beauty of Alexander Wang Fall 2012 Tuesday 21 February, 2012
Effortless, naturally textured hair; opaque beige nails; heavily sculpted features: The beauty at Alexander Wang’s Fall 2012 show is tomboyish and cool—just like the girls who wear his duds.
The Alexander Wang Fall 2012 backstage was my first trip-up of the Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week season. I had misunderstood the call time and showed up just as the artists arrived. That equated to sitting around and clock-watching; no models set foot in the place for a long time—so long, I’m embarrassed to say how long I sat there. The reason this all saddens me is that: A) Such a silly misstep looks stupid; and B) I missed Giselle Bündchen. Yes, I missed the supermodel who I’ve had a girl crush on since she stepped onto the scene. In all of my years of covering shows backstage, I’ve never laid eyes on Giselle. And, apparently, she showed up to Wang’s backstage not too long after I departed—and like I said, I’d been there forever. Sigh.
So, no Giselle sighting for me, but plenty of beauty to view—the kind that’s effortlessly cool, just like Wang’s well-defined client. Practically every girl worth her fashion salt owns an Alexander Wang piece—and these very girls tend to have a downtown-chic vibe to them that extends from the tips of their nails to the roots of their hair. “When designing his collection, Alexander is very in tune to the details and designs for the girl today, and we wanted the hairstyle to reflect that as well,” shares Redken creative consultant Guido, who keyed the show. “It’s a very simple look—an easy down style with a center part and hair tucked behind the ears.”
As with every style you see on the runway, no matter how effortless, more than a modicum of effort goes into the prep. Extensions are added and sheared where needed, and then Guido applies Redken Satinwear 02 Ultimate Blow-dry Lotion to damp strands to create a styling foundation. From there, the heat comes: He blow-dries hair to about 80% dry—stressing he’s really only blow-drying the front while letting the back air-dry. Then, he rakes Outshine 01 Anti-Frizz Polishing Milk though the mid-lengths to ends, explaining this will prevent major fuzzing from occurring as the hair dries. The final detail is tucking the hair behind the ears. “I think this is a tomboyish touch. The center part, the tucked hair, the big forehead—it’s boyish, straightforward, effortless,” Guido says. “I’m calling this ‘non-personality personality’ hair.” I joke about my own big forehead—I hadn’t thought oversize foreheads are a beauty ideal. Guido laughs, but doesn’t assuage my qualms about my large pate, and quickly runs back to his waiting models.
If foreheads are “big” and hair is “straightforward,” the makeup is about whittling down that big forehead and is certainly less straightforward than the hair—though you can’t tell by simply gazing upon it. Lead makeup artist Diane Kendal, working with MAC Cosmetics, is molding the perfect face—all taupe and champagne angles, arcs and lines. “This is the sculpted Alex Wang girl—a tough chick,” she shares.
She draws MAC Pro Sculpting Cream in Coffee Walnut (available Fall/Winter 2012) along the low planes of the face, under the cheekbones, through the temples and along the sides of the nose. Then, she chisels even more, blending MAC Pro Sculpting Cream in Accentuate (available Fall/Winter 2012) over the high planes, above the cheekbones, along the bridge of the nose and above the brow bone. “The skin is very lit,” Kendal remarks as she finishes with a light powdering of Studio Careblend Pressed Powder along the middle of the face only, leaving the perimeter of the face raw and natural. Eyes receive some definition; a very thin line of MAC Pro Black Crème Liner along the upper lash line opens the eyes while brow arches are given a straighter shape for a tomboyish feel.
That “tomboyish” feel is carried over to the nails, a collaboration between Wang and Sally Hansen. “These are very light opaques,” lead nail tech Jin Soon Choi remarks. “Alex really likes natural-looking colors.” The three hues (available Fall 2012)—Bandage, a clean neutral; Pumice, a grayed-down mint; and Ion, a cool stone—are what Choi deems “very wearable.” Though the Wang collab produced three colors, only Bandage made the catwalk cut.
I’m a little bit saddened Ion isn’t hitting the runway; the stone-y hue is definitely an original. But Choi is on the Bandage bandwagon, and we both agree the name (Wang picked all the monikers) is beyond bad-ass. “Bandage is my favorite,” she allows, adding, “Beige is the new pink!”
(Main image: left courtesy of MAC; right Charles Sykes for Redken; Giselle image: Charles Sykes for Redken)