June 17th, 2014
There are times at Warpaint Towers when we love our inbox, especially when an invitation lands from MAC to attend a MUA-only presentation by the inimitable Terry Barber showcasing A/W14 trends to his peers. Add to this an opportunity to catch up with some of our favourite pro artists and what better way can you spend an evening?
A/W 14 is all about beauty as individuality; with make-up as a beautiful paradox where artistry achieves something that looks essentially un-cosmetic, thanks to the ever-more sophisticated and subtle formulations and applications.
Masking and morphing feel irrelevant; there’s a quiet alchemy of product and technique that nonchalantly amplifies what is unique in the face. The runways of A/W14 show a myriad of believable make-ups.
Terry breaks his trends into four distinct themes:
Off Colour – subverts classic tones with a dirty edge to become the new neutrals
Streamlined – eyes have a gestural quality that widens them
On Reflection – explores how shine is the most crystalised direction of the season
Unprocessed – make-up employs the skin’s own shades to embrace authenticity in every form
“There’s no absolute formula to how make-up has to look to appear modern now,” counsels Barber. “There’s a freedom to experiment and a confidence to break away from conventional means of constructing beauty. Nuances of texture – transparent lightness is more important than heavy opacity this season – combined with unpredictable colours (Off colour is distinctly On trend) and non-prescriptive placements form the new technical vocabulary that makes these trends look distinctly fresh and now. The attitude is your own. These are the ingredients, the inspirations – how you style them for yourself is ultimately what makes them look modern.”
Polluted pink, unwholesome brown, bruised plum, dirty khaki, dull rust, dingy violet, dusty ochre, veined blue and myriad shades born of a sludgy organic nature – mud, moss, mushroom, algae, sap, grit… A drab-inflected palette is being used in a beautifully paradoxical manner this season; grungy colour that creates the effect of luminosity and life in the face.
These decayed shades prove that colour absolutely does not have to correct or complement in order to be beautiful. The artistry involved in this subversion is what is compelling about these uncomfortable shades. “It’s all about breaking them in, not breaking them down,” explains Terry of the fact that these dustily filtered tones are seamlessly at one with those already present in the skin. Their inherent greyness and extreme transparency take them away from looking like evident pigments. They add mood, not make-up to the face.
As seen at: A.F. Vandevorst, Carolina Herrera, Jonathan Saunders, Diane Von Furstenburg, Marni, Max Mara, Meadham Kirchhoff, Philosophy and Preen.
Eyes are indisputably the feature to focus on for the season ahead. Framed with an architectural liner, these eyes add a strength to the face that sits somewhere between glamour and grunge (but, vitally, looks like neither of the two). Tomboy and tough around the eyes were common descriptives of these lean, horizontally focused shapes.
Complemented by similarly present brows, they lend a beautiful edge to that face that is not anything angry or extravagant. Liner now is an ornament, but not an excessive one. What breathes new life into liner for AW14 is as much to do with the entire treatment of the face as the eyes in isolation. “The idea of something contained against something organic is what keeps it feeling modern,” explains Barber, pointing out that very minimally covered skin feels like the most appropriate canvas for an eye this season.
As seen at: Edeline Lee, Christian Wijnants, Giles, Haider Ackermann, Kenzo, Marques Almeida, Missoni, Ter & Batine, Veronique Branquinho and Zac Posen.
Just as textural contrasts informed the fashion collections, reflective accents are a dominant refrain for AW14.
Punctuations of shine against matte provide an endless repertoire of plays on light, from neutral metallics (predominantly gold, with forays in copper, pewter and silver) through to literal gloss. Whether it’s a burnished accent or a shine reflective, make-up inherently has a very literal ‘lightness’ to it which projects the features, rather than recedes them.
So whilst reflection this season is not about conceptual minimalism, it is a designed minimalism: thoughtfully applied with consideration on specific placement and weight of shine (from sheer balm to high vinyl), this is a luxurious, but not glamorous approach, to shaping the face.
As seen at: Jonathan Saunders, Alberta Ferretti, Antonio Marras, Desigual, Donna Karan New York, Holly Fulton, Issey Miyake, Peter Pilotto and Simone Rocha.
“How about we don’t talk about ‘natural’ make-up any more?” suggests Barber. “Let’s call it ‘real’ instead, because that’s what a barer-faced look is really speaking about now – the individual.”
Applying the tag ‘natural make-up’ to any face created in a palette of skin-akin tones is an outmoded concept; ‘real’ is not 3D-perfect skin that has had all the contours and highlights artificially added back in. Yes, all make-up is, by definition, not natural, but minimal make-up in AW14 is about the purely democratic idea of accentuating reality, of revelling in normality. Neither masculine nor flirtatiously pretty, neither glam nor grunge. This is, quite simply, how a strong, self-assured, cool, relevant woman today probably wants to look: like she has not tried too hard.
Of course, there is great artisanship in creating weight and presence in the face without the literal weight of make-up, concealing around negative space and working with super nuanced textures and tints are at the technical forefront of these looks.
It all makes the girl look more groomed and fresh but is invisible make-up. It’s about paring down product – and most modern women just don’t wear that much make-up – but being highly specific in the choices of what you do – and don’t – use.
“It’s pushing home the idea that a woman’s face is beautiful in its natural state,” says Terry Barber. Skin can be beautiful in itself. If it becomes too finessed, the whole look starts to look makeup-y.”
As seen at: Ann Demeulemeester, Barbara Bui, Giambattista Valli, Iris Van Herpen, Jacqemus, The Row, J.W. Anderson, Margaret Howell, Mary Katrantzou and Prabal Gurung.