"As usual, the inspiration was Joseph's collection", explains editorial makeup artist extraordinaire Tom Pecheux, in French, from the MAC Cosmetics-sponsored beauty area backstage of Joseph Altuzarra's fall '14 show on Saturday. The airy space is set on the 6th floor of the upscale Spring Studios, fashion week's new fave venue at the threshold of Tribeca. One by one, the girls come to the maestro for inspection after Pecheux' face chart-directed instructions have been applied by the buzzing team.
"Tres joli... but brush a little bit because it is a bit too much glitter," the makeup master says in his thick accent. It is 4.45, the beauty backstage is about to close. In a minute, all the girls will run by the stairs, one floor down, to the dressing room and the runway.
"Luxurious and minimal, that's something difficult to achieve in an outfit," continues Pecheux. Simultaneously he is dabbing light touches of foundation to Mum en chief, the great Karen Altuzarra, chairman of her son's label who is almost ready for her close up. "You know what I mean? This season again, the Altuzarra codes are there, but pared down. Sober. You will find this amazing tailoring, which is his royal signature, the ethnic element he loves so much -- this time, an homage to the Inca culture. But everything has even been elevated to higher standards. The fabrics are to die for. I was fascinated by his double face cashmere, his furs and his work by color blocks," the artist continues.
As for the show's look, Pecheux tried to avoid a cosmetics palette that felt redundant. "I started to play with the double colors on the lids, but it was too matchy-matchy, you know? Like very-5th-avenue-uptown-tight ass."
"Constipated! " chimes the elder Altuzarra, still sitting in the makeup chair.
"Yes! So we started adding some glitter, and we just dropped the double color. That was it: we settled for a gloss texture at the lash line, pressed on with a brush, then a dash of MAC 3D Glitter in Brass Gold (in stores this April). Of course, everything else had to be subdued: natural complexion, lips that are actually very made, but more for texture than color. You won't see it, it's skin-colored. I used two MAC lipsticks, Siss (beige) all over the lips ($16), then Myself (light pink) over the top. I wanted lips that would be the contrary of an itchy wool. The exact translation of that fabulous cashmere. Lips which would say.... Ummm! "
And because the French never go without a twist of quirk, Pecheux and the French-American Joseph went even further.
"In the name of fashion which is also about fun and bizarre, n'est-ce pas? So I draw a swoosh of pink Good Kisser Lipstick across the crease of the lids, in the shape of a banana. Surprise! When the girls appear on the runway, in these fabulous outfits, the glitter starts to shine, it is like a slap and a glass of champagne!"