Saturday, February 28, 2009

Direct from the Runway: Cynthia Steffe Fall 2009

It's always a thrill for me to talk to the designer of a label. So when I showed up at Cynthia Steffe, bright eyed and somewhat bushy-tailed at 7:30 in the morning, and was immediately whisked over to designer Shaun Kearney, I went with it. And the excitement only continued when I found out I'd have the chance to interview makeup artist Christian McCulloch and hairstylist Rolando Beauchamp! Find out all the details after the jump.

"The whole collection is really based around urban glamour," Kearney told me backstage. "Mixing uptown chic with downtown cool. This season she’s a little tougher, she’s a little sexier, but she’s still sweet at the same time." Kearney used "tough downtown fabric" like leather but made it glamorous with ruching, ruffles and interesting finishes.

Kearney also spoke to the hair and makeup and how it tied into the collection. "Hair is definitely swept up, it’s a little done, but it’s put into a bun and it’s a little disheveled, so it’s a little more relaxed," he said. "The palette is really about jewel tones and smoky kind of greys and charcoals with a little bit of bronze. [We] tried to tie the makeup back to that. The lip is a very strong kind of aubergine which is quite deep and rich. But the face is left very subtle, kind of a bronzy finish to it."

I also asked Kearney about his favorite look from the collection (of which there were 46 altogether). "This oversized bomber jacket with a dress underneath –- because I think that says it all!" he told me. "It’s something that’s so pretty and glamorous, but then she puts this big boyfriend bomber jacket on, which makes it look a little more downtown."

Makeup artist Christian McCulloch for M.A.C worked with the uptown/downtown reference, but was also inspired by the 1980s. "She’s got dark lipstick and smoky eye makeup on. So it’s kind of both rather than traditional," he told me. "You know people just say choose one." After prepping the skin with Studio Sculpt and Mineralize Skinfinish Natural, McCulloch used two eyeshadows to create the look -- Patina on the lid and Smut on the crease and lower lashline, blending the darker color up and out and keeping the lighter shade on the inner corners to make the eyes look wider. "It's a little more youthful," he said. He lined the lower lashlines with Smolder Eye Pencil and finished with Plush Lash Mascara in Black on the lashes.

The lips were coated with Currant Pencil and Underworld Lipstick. "Just a really moisturizing lipstick, I think that’s the texture du jour," he said. "It’s a really hydrating lipstick that leaves the lips looking moist without the stickiness of gloss."

Then it was on to hair with Rolando Beauchamp for Bumble and bumble. "The inspiration was rock and roll, cool little buns on top of the head," he said, "because they’re all gonna get veils." He created the bun by first doing a high ponytail, working with his hands instead of a brush to keep all the texture in the hair. He used Bumble and bumble Styling Cream to give it a little hold before pulling it up with his hands into the ponytail, teasing a bit at the base for added texture. He decided where to put the ponytail by looking at the models' profiles.

As for the buns, he told me, "They’re not round, they’re more elongated." He used Bumble and bumble Spray de Mode when twisting the hair, saying, "That’s the key when you do any ponytail or a high bun. You want to get the nape of the neck, hold the head up and then do the ponytail. That gets it really nice and tight."

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