MAC Cosmetics Lead makeup designer Gordon Espinet and lead nails designer Keri Blair talk inspiration for Desigual’s show at #NYFW.
Backstage at New York Fashion Week is no joke. It’s almost open season; photographers and journalists walk amongst models and stylists, trying to get that perfect shot of life behind the runway. Desigual is premiering their Fall/Winter 2016 collection on Day 1 of NYFW, and lead makeup artist Gordon Espinet and lead nails artist Keri Blair, both for MAC Cosmetics, both took the time to talk about the inspiration behind their looks amidst the chaos backstage.
The Knockturnal: Do you have any memorable moments that have happened over the years at NYFW that stick out to you?
Gordon Espinet: Well, of course, it’s not really a funny story but it’s kind of a funny story. September 11th, 2001, going backstage at Bryant Park and getting ready to do makeup at Oscar de la Renta’s show and we had three shows for MAC (Cosmetics) so there was a 6 o’clock call time, an 8 o’clock call time, and a 9 o’clock call time. I showed up for the 9 o’clock call time and the first plane was at 8:46 am. Getting there and us not understanding what the hell was going on–that was one of this fashion moments where you get kind of stupid at that point and we’re like, “Well maybe we should still do the makeup because the show will still go on. The show always goes on.” And one of the PR girls in the audience is like, “Trust me, nobody wants to come here right now. There’s more important stuff in the world than a f***ing fashion show,” excuse my french. And for the first time, I learned that there was a loudspeaker system through the tents, I never knew that! They announced to get out of here right away, go to a safe place, and stay away from landmark buildings because at this point in time we had understood that this was serious. There was crying and there was all kinds of stuff. We had a team of artists in from all over the world, including Singapore, France, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Italy, we had people from everywhere, and of course they were stuck here for a week. And what do you do for a week? Go out drinking! That was probably the most life-changing thing that’s ever happened in my life, but I’m sure anybody who was here would say the same thing. It made me, maybe, a little crustier on the outside. That’s when I think I became a New Yorker. You know, in the way that you pick yourself up and dust yourself off and you go, “F**k you!” And you get a little crustier about everything and you’re like, “Yeah, no, that’s not gonna work for me,” and that was the moment I became a New Yorker. And I used to live down there, it took me a week to get home.
TK: What was your inspiration for the looks?
GE: Well, this is the first show I’m doing. The inspiration really is sort of embracing sort of old, vintage glamour but with a modern twist. So rather than a dark smoky eye, we did a red smoky eye, or smoky shape– it’s not smoky. It’s a red, terra-cotta eye. So we really wanted something that was a little bit more cool, a little bit more young, a little bit more modern. It almost has slight goth appeal, but it’s not goth. It’s still very enthusiastic.
TK: How can people reading this at home recreate this look?
GE: You know, I love red eye shadow and I think anybody can wear it, it’s just about learning how much of it you can wear. So how red it is, how dark it is, because some people can wear bright red, some have to go to more of a brown red, or a terra-cotta red, and how intense you want it. In other words, you can go more sheer or more translucent if you want a more subtle look or you can go more strong if you want something that really has impact.
TK: What would you say is the top makeup mistake people make?
GE: Too much. Actually believing that makeup hides things. That is the biggest mistake people make because, trust me, all you do is you look like yourself with a lot of makeup on.[slideshow]
The Knockturnal: What are some memorable moments or crazy mishaps or miracles that have happened over the years at NYFW?
Keri Blair: You know, its more about what happens before fashion week in my dreams. I’ll have dream that I’ll show up without my kit, or without the nails, or I’m late, or I can’t get somewhere. I mean, as far as the actual act of fashion week, there are a million stories, but I think every one of them is sort of its own, unique experience. There’s so many personalities, and there are moments where you’re trying to get the girl out and the nail’s falling off and you’re asking her if she washed her hands and she’s like, “No!” And you’re like– it’s those moments where you just have to think on your feet to get through it and then you can laugh it off at the bar later.
TK: How can people at home recreate this look?
KB: Well, you know what’s interesting is that, honestly, it’s using things like black nail polish, matte top coat, acrylic paint that I, to tell you the reality is that I bought it at Michael’s for $1. One of the things that’s so interesting about nails is that obviously if you’re going to be touching your skin with it, everything should be cosmetic grade, but when you’re working on a nail tip, you can actually have a little bit more freedom to use things like glitters or embroidery floss for that matter to create interesting patterns and pictures on the nail. To me, it becomes like an art piece. It becomes more about a multi-media layered, textured, tactile individual thing than thinking, “Oh my god, I’m painting a nail today,” you know? I think that you can do things very inexpensively with nails. Sure, you can go and buy really high-end $50 nail polish, but that’s not really necessary. I think even looking into what you already have at home, mixing colors, using a toothpick to dot something, it’s so easy. You can do those things, just be a little creative and think outside the box and you’ll be amazed with the things you can come up with.
Cutler/Redken Salons also sponsored the show. The models’ hair was very sleek and parted down the middle. Some of the models wore hats. Redken Guts 10 was a key product used to achieve the Desigual hair look.
Photo Credit: Jason Jaskot