Met Gala: 6 Beauty Predictions From Star Makeup Artists and Hairstylists

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Tessa Thompson, Cher and Lily Collins

The pros prepping regulars like Emma Stone and Tracee Ellis Ross forecast what the camp theme will translate to.

On the first Monday in May, the fashion cognoscenti will ascend the red carpet-lined steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for its annual fundraiser that draws the boldest of names. The theme of this year’s Met Gala, camp, will likely see guests, including Harry Styles, Kim Kardashian West and Lady Gaga, and their glam teams pulling out all the stops.

“Camp is an extreme exaggeration of reality,” says makeup artist Quinn Murphy of the term coined by writer Susan Sontag in the ‘60s. In terms of beauty, “It’s most prevalent in drag culture, but can also be found in haute couture, like with Galliano at Dior or McQueen when he did the overdrawn clown lips in a runway show.”

Adds makeup pro Rachel Goodwin: “It’s going to be a feast for the senses. Artistically, people are going to take a lot of risks—it’s the night to do that. It’ll be big and bold and colorful.”  Here, six hair and makeup professionals working with stars attending the gala reveal the looks they expect to see on New York City's biggest fashion red carpet of the year.

Braids and ponytails

For Carly Walters, slated to work with Riley Keough at this year’s gala, “Sleek hair pulled back into full, long ponytails and thick, long braids” will help capture the camp essence while giving “a bit of sophistication yet wild edge to a look.” Though she admits camp “can go in multiple directions,” she expects plenty of “long, fully accessorized and colorful looks.”

Abstract Eyeliner

Carolina Gonzalez—who works with Hailee Steinfeld, expected to attend her ninth gala this year—predicts that “some will go the minimal route and let the fashion speak for itself, and then some people will go all out.” She anticipates “a lot of color and abstract shapes” for both eye and lip, including abstract eyeliners. Think colorful strokes like those seen at Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2018 presentation or black liner artfully painted anywhere around the eye, à la Lucy Boynton's above-the-crease liner at the SAG Awards.

Big Hair

For hairstylist Lacy Redway, who is booked to groom Tracee Ellis Ross, Tessa Thompson and Atlanta actress Zazie Beetz, “This theme means go all out! Don’t follow any rules and don’t be afraid to give drama.” Her translation of camp: “Big hair. I think it will give the artist a way to tell a story with the theme” and she expects “more drama than normal” for this year’s event. Expect big volume, big pompadours, big curls, big updos and big bouffants. 

Embellishments

One scroll through veteran makeup artist Pat McGrath’s Instagram and it’s clear she’s a fan of camp, championing modern looks like glitter on the lips and thick swaths of gold on eyes. Back in 2015, at the fall Givenchy runway show, with the blessing of designer Ricardo Tisci, McGrath made a splash by artfully placing jewels on models’ faces. Later she told Vogue she thought the trend might catch on. Not yet (aside from Coachella), but face bling may make an appearance at this year’s gala.

Rachel Goodwin, who is working with longtime client Emma Stone for the event, predicts embellishment will have a moment and quotes Oscar Wilde as inspiration: “One should either be a work of art or wear a work of art.” Goodwin translates that to “things in the hair and on the face that aren’t necessarily traditional beauty items.” Get ready Pat McGrath: Your face jewelry trend may gain traction next Monday.

Strong, Hard Shapes

Derek Yuen, Constance Wu’s hairstylist, thinks “there are going to be a lot of strong, hard shapes” when it comes to camp-worthy hair. “If they’re going for waves, make them super defined in a way that it stands apart from the usual red carpets.” In other words, exaggerated everything. If a look is long and straight, expect it to be extension-palooza and massively shiny. “I hope people really go for the camp and embrace their inner Cher or Lil’ Kim,” he says.

Safe Camp

Makeup artist Quinn Murphy expects that “some will play it safe and do what they feel looks best,” adding that “camp makeup isn’t popular because it isn’t sexy and women want to either be sexy, cool or elegant when they go out, even at the Met Gala.” But it can be done. He points to Jennifer Lopez at the 2017 gala: “It had a camp element with the hair and makeup and overall look, like a fabulous ‘60s Italian actress.”

Murphy is prepping Lily Aldridge, known for her elegant looks. Is he planning to stick to her usual subtle sophistication? “I have no clue! I have to come prepared with an open mind and the flexibility of a drag performer doing the splits.”