Catwalk Cut: The Beauty of Prabal Gurung Spring 2013 Monday 17 September, 2012

Spring 2013 backstage beauty alert: Blood-soaked nails, ethereal yet haunted makeup, and skinny, ropey hair at Prabal Gurung.

When I say it’s hot backstage at Prabal Gurung‘s Spring 2013 show, I mean it. Walking into the cavernous setting of Pier 57, you first inch gingerly down a pitch-black tunnel (probably a loading dock, but it’s so dark, I can’t tell) with others walking toward you, their bodies completely in shadow. Then you come to the backstage, extremely huge, yet oddly heated like its Hades. It’s so akin to descending into the depths of Hell that even the nails are dripping—well, they’re not really dripping from the warm clime, but rather, from the hand-painted blood-like ribbons of Sally Hansen‘s lead tech Tracylee.


“Prabal was inspired by contemporary artist Anish Kapoor,” Tracylee explains as she delicately creates a “blood” droplet with a striper brush on the tip of a model’s nail. The artist’s fascination with blood is literally being translated onto the nails in the form of Sally Hansen‘s new polish shade Angel Bite (part of the three-polish collaboration with Prabal; other colors include grey Apparition and steel-blue Resurrection). “I’m forming the drip by putting a droplet in the middle of the nail, and then dragging the color toward the edge,” she says. She’s customized her striper brush by cutting away hairs to make it thinner and more user-friendly—exactly what she needs to help speed up the process backstage (each manicure takes around 15 minutes to complete). To finish the bloody nails, she top-coats the entire nail, saying, “this blends in the nail art. And also, I want the naked part of the nail to shine.”


Thankfully, the blood idea isn’t explicitly translated for the makeup. Instead, MAC makeup lead Charlotte Tilbury describes a woman whose appearance juxtaposes haunted and ethereal. “It’s very sculpted. And we’re using mostly creams to get this look,” she says. Good thing, as we’re all—models included—melting away backstage.


For the skin, Charlotte lays a base of MAC Mineralize Moisture Fluid SPF 15 Foundation (available spring/summer 2013) and then carves out contours under the cheekbones with MAC Pro Pure Sculpture and Coffee Walnut Sculpting Creams (both available spring/summer 2013). “I’m having the girls suck in their cheeks, and then I’m buffing in that color,” she shares. A hit of pearly white Luna Cream Colour Base adds luminescence above the cheekbones and up into the eyes to bring in that ethereal feel.

For eyes, she taps the same aforementioned products to give them a slight hallowed feel. “And no mascara; I want this to look very pure,” Charlotte says. To finish, she dabs pouts with MAC Lip Conditioner and follows with a soft patting of concealer.


(Designer Prabal Gurung’s collection finds its roots in the art of Amie Dicke and Anish Kapoor.)


“The key words Prabal mentioned are ‘purity,’ ‘naive’ and ‘freshness,'” says lead hairstylist Paul Hanlon, who’s working with Schwarzkopf. “There’s a lot going on with the clothes, so we didn’t want the hair to be overkill.” This translates to a look that Paul says shouldn’t appear as though it has too much product running through it—though he’s using four products, to be exact. He first massages Osis+ Grip Grip Extreme Hold Mousse into the roots and dries the hair, conjuring the girls’ “natural texture.” He’s careful to keep the style super-flat to the head to create “very skinny hair; this is like Sissy Spacek in the ’70s.” He then pulls a gracious amount of Osis+ Magic Finish Anti-Frizz Shine Serum through the mid-lengths to craft “little ropes and strings in the hair that will move and pick up the light as she walks,” Paul says. What he doesn’t want: flyaways standing at attention under the harsh runway lights. To quell these nuisances, he runs Osis+ Buff Light Styling Cream over the center part and a light spray of Osis+ Elastic Finish Light Hold Hairspray over the entire style. “This isn’t meant to look glamorous,” he offers. And yet, even with the seemingly 100-plus-degree heat, it does.

Is there an element of the Prabal Gurung beauty you’re just dying to try?

Karie L. Frost Signature

(Runway image: courtesy of Schwarzkopf; all other images property of L. Frost)


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