Behind the Beauty Look of Brandon Maxwell's Inaugural NYFW Show

Brandon Maxwell's NYFW Runway Show - P 2015
AP Images

Brandon Maxwell's NYFW Runway Show - P 2015

Legendary makeup artist Val Garland shares their thought process behind the boyish makeup for Lady Gaga's stylist's debut presentation.

Brandon Maxwell is famous for styling Lady Gaga in wild and glamorous attention-grabbing looks, but when it came time to debut his own eponymous label at NYFW, those attending got to see another side of the new designer. "There are lots of kind of smoking jackets and pantsuits and columns—it’s all very elegant and beautifully tailored," MAC makeup artist Val Garland told Pret-a-Reporter backstage before the show.

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His inspiration? Halston and Yves Saint Laurent, according to Garland, who says he’s always been passionate about about being a designer and made clothes despite focusing on styling. "I guess if I was to liken him to anybody I would say the great late L’Wren Scott," she said. "It’s coming from the same place — really elegant, very chic, well made."

The legendary artist has known Maxwell for years, since he assisted Nicola Formichetti and she did Gaga’s makeup. Garland says their process to find a concept to perfectly complement his creations began with looking at the models and the intimate show space, Mr. Chow. "Brandon wants it to feel like a party, like all the girls are having fun and anyone can wear these clothes, so we thought lipstick — red lipstick, beige lipstick — is going to look dated."

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Garland continued, "What’s the way we can make it the most modern? Let’s keep the girls fresh, let’s make them more boyish because the clothes are so elegant and sophisticated. It’s a bit of an opposite, so maybe that’s what’s going to work." Work it did: models emerged looking super chic and effortless with barely there makeup that included MAC Mixing Medium Shine, Waterweight Foundation ($33), a hint of blush and a hydrating lip balm. Their nails were painted in a timeless classic: blush pink Deborah Lippmann Shape of My Heart lacquer.


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The makeup artist curled their lashes but didn't add mascara; some had a cream pencil in the waterline. And the brows were the star: Garland brushed them up and used MAC Brow Set ($17) to keep them in a feathered, full state. “Basically it’s real girls — handsomely healthy,” she said. “It’s all about a brushed-up boyish brow. The girls are so beautifully we’re just enhancing a little bit of magic because it’s already there.”