Catwalk Cut: The Beauty of Jason Wu Spring 2013 Tuesday 09 October, 2012

Spring 2013 backstage beauty alert: Braids and finger waves, deepest dark nails and a five-step ombré lip speak to the beauty of Helmut Lang lovelies at Jason Wu.

Photographer Helmut Newton is having a moment right now—at least amongst some of the biggest beauty arbiters out there. (Oribe just told me he has him on the mind lately.) When I ask lead hairstylist Odile Gilbert, who’s working with Kérastase Paris, about this highly stylized hairdo she’s crafting at Jason Wu’s spring 2013 show, she immediately sources Helmut and his hyper-sexualized imagery. “But it’s not vulgar,” she assures. “The style is very elegant, very expensive; it’s also sophisticated yet young.”


There are so many components to the hair design, it’s hard to focus on just one. First, a deep side part to draw upon the “masculine” feel of Helmut’s sirens. Second, an “African braid. It’s not a French braid. When you do just one African braid, it looks very chic,” Odile says. She’s folding the tail of the braid under and up, tucking it’s ends away and keeping it tight to the head. “It’s like basting a turkey,” she jokes in her signature Odile way of concealing the braid’s tail.


The third piece to this intricate style, a drenched single finger wave, lends femininity to the overall look. All the while, Odile’s prepped strands with Kérastase Elixir Ultime Rose Millénaire to “treat the hair, but also give it texture and shine,” she says. “The shine makes this whole look modern.”


(All angles of the beauty look)



(Hair lead Odile Gilbert puts the finishing touches on ’90s supermodel Carolyn Murphy—who also happens to be one of Helmut Newton’s favorite subjects.)

She then locks it all down with Kérastase Double-Force Hairspray, noting that the process of coming up with a hair design for Jason Wu is always a straight-forward one. “He knows exactly what he wants,” she admits.



The Helmut vibe continues through the makeup with lips that take a legion of products to create. MAC makeup lead Diane Kendal begins by prepping skin with a clutch of Sunday Riley products, conjuring the type of canvas needed for flawless makeup. From there, everything becomes about contours: sharply sculpted cheekbones (courtesy of MAC Shape Powder Blush in Taupe) pop due to convincing placement of pinks on the apples and silver on the higher planes of the cheeks. Kendal swaths lids in MAC Pigment Golden Lemon and etches the crease using MAC Shape Powder Blush in Taupe (available spring/summer 2013) to lend definition.


When talking about the eyebrows, the Helmut girl is strongly referenced: strong, bold. “I’m paying attention to the top of the brows, and squaring them at the inner corners to make them almost straight,” Diane says. She then focuses on the lip: five steps all culminating into one fiercely dangerous mouth. To begin, she draws her shape and fills it in with MAC Lip Pencil in Cherry; she then traces the outline with Vino Lip Pencil, a darker wine hue. Then Diane applies MAC Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Lady at Play, a neon pink, to the middle of the lips, followed by MAC Pro Process Magenta Lipmix over the entire lip. Is she done yet? No: A final dappling of Neo-Orange Pigment over top seals the deal.


“It’s a gradation, and the pigment doesn’t really make it matte; it actually looks very moisturized,” she allows. “It’s just a really glamorous lip for a strong, sexy woman. These lips give her edge.”



The vamp in this look also springs forth in the nails: Two coats of OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees, a blackened granite, look luxe and unexpected for a spring outing.

Fearless Beauty Quotient (scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most fearless): 9. This isn’t a particularly out-there beauty look; it’s actually quite wearable. That’s not why I give it a high number on the fearless scale. That number comes about because each part of the look is so detailed. The hair? A gazillion different steps that each take an amazing amount of skill. (Not to mention: Highly lacquered looks still don’t seem to translate to the streets. Come on, ladies! Let’s start pumping out that hair gel!) The makeup? Lips that require five products seem quite laborious for the everyday woman. (Some may draw the line at three; others just want one, thank you very much.) But it’s all so beautiful, and perhaps adapting parts of the look should be the focus. But which part to pick? I leave that up to you.

 Would you try this five-step lip? Is five steps one too many?

Karie L. Frost Signature

(4th image courtesy of Kerastase; 7th image courtesy of MAC; 10th and 11th images courtesy of OPI; all others property of Karie L. Frost/


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