Catwalk Cut: The Beauty of Prabal Gurung Fall 2012 Wednesday 22 February, 2012

The central theme, “uncursed,” informs the beauty at Prabal Gurung’s Fall 2012 showing, but the beauty-makers cite their inspiration as being everything from Avatar to Sissy Spacek to birds of paradise. In a few words: It’s devilishly divine.

I’m trying to wrap my mind around the central concept to Prabal Gurung’s Fall 2012 collection. It’s “uncursed,” which lead hairstylist Paul Hanlon is telling me isn’t necessarily the opposite of being cursed. “It’s like a dark innocence. The show begins with these ‘cursed’ girls wearing black clothes with darker hair, and progresses to a lighter, more pure place—the girls here have lighter hair, almost white blonde,” he explains. So being “uncursed” is the evolution of coming out of a curse? Maybe…maybe not.

 Prabal Gurung Fall 2012 inspiration board

No matter; high-concept collections and beauty delight me, and Gurung’s show is rife with conceptual mind-bending. Hanlon, who’s working with TIGI, has crafted locks that are supremely glossed and tight to the head, and that boast a clean break over the ear—a small detail that elevates the style to a brighter shade of strange. This “split” is central to the style, and Hanlon is adding wefts near the front of the girls’ heads to help better define it. “Hair is less dense near the front [of the head],” he explains. True. Amazing that even thinks to fatten tresses with extensions just to accentuate this tiny detail…

 Prabal Gurung Fall 2012 Paul Hanlon for TIGI

The other element of the style, a high-gloss finish (courtesy of TIGI Catwalk Your Highness Weightless Shine Spray), speaks to something beyond practical reach; Hanlon cites hair commercials where manes are whipped around under shine-inducing hair lights as the pinnacle of that lacquered ideal. (Side note: I’ve used quite a few of these hair lights in photo shoots; I know their magical ways. If we could all walk around with a hair light shining down on our domes, we’d be happy campers, let me tell you.) “We wanted the shine and the style to be artificial in a way; Prabal wanted it almost too perfect,” Hanlon continues, adding, “I sort of view it like Sissy Spacek from Carrie: beautiful sharp lines, flat, narrow, very pure.”

 Prabal Gurung Fall 2012 TIGI Catwalk Curl Collection Curlesque Mousse

“She was kind of sinister, wasn’t she?” I ask of my horror-flick namesake.

“I guess she was, wasn’t she?” he laughs. “But I think the style is pure.” Got it.

 Prabal Gurung Fall 2012 hairstyle all angles

When I sidle up to lead nail tech Jin Soon Choi, she’s in the midst of talking about one of the polishes that Gurung collaborated with Sally Hansen on for the show. It’s Gilded Lily, a coppery gold with multidimensional flecks that have that certain twinkle nail polish fetishists will be drooling over. When I get my moment with Choi, she tells me, “This is hell to heaven” of the four polish colors, starting at the depths of Hades with black Onyx and Blue Rose (my personal favorite, inspired by a Japanese rose), and rising to the heavens with Gilded Lily and white Ivory Skull (all available Fall 2012). The colors are a straight match to the different color segments in Gurung’s collection, which begins in a black period, moves to blue, shifts to gold and ends in heavenly white. “But, in the end, Prabal decided we are only doing three colors on the girls for the show, starting the dark section of the show with Onyx, then going into Blue Rose, then ending the pure section with Gilded Lily,” Choi says. I can’t stop staring at Blue Rose, a gorgeous toned-down navy, and for good reason: Choi tells me it flatters all skin tones. I’m thinking Blue Rose as a base and Gilded Lily across the nail tip will make for a gorgeous Fall/Winter mani…

 Prabal Gurung Fall 2012 Charlotte Tilbury

For makeup, MAC lead makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury tells it straight: “This is all about good and evil, dark and light, but I’m feeling quite Avatar-ish, and that doesn’t really have anything to do with the inspiration,” she laughs. “This is really inspired by wild birds of paradise—the colors in their feathers.” The graphic, “techno” eye design involves blending up and out a clutch of teal, green and brown cream shadows (part of the MAC Delft Crème Eye Shadow Fall Trend Palette, available this fall). “Everything on the eye is being done at diagonals,” she explains, as she brushes MAC Pigment in Blue Brown over her design near the inner eye and brow bone. To pop the design further, she concentrates MAC Technakohl Eye Liner in Smoothblue on the inner corner of the eye as well as the middle upper lid through the brow bone, casting a feather-like appearance, and sets it with MAC Eye Shadow in Freshwater.

 Prabal Gurung Fall 2012 makeup eye design

The blues are so intense, it’s actually quite breathtaking in person. Such vibrancy calls for the rest of the face to be kept minimal. “I’m just spot-checking skin, and then hitting all the right areas with MAC Luna Cream Colour Base highlighter—the cupid’s bow, down the nose, along the tops of the cheeks,” Tilbury says. The design is brilliant; the paring of brown with teal divine. “Divine” as in “heavenly”…or simply “uncursed”? You decide.

Karie L. Frost Signature

(Main image: Left courtesy of MAC; right via



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