This season, a wide variety of catwalk-inspired beauty trends has developed out of autumn's love affair with Veronica Lake-style waves and red lipstick. Screen-siren carmine is still very much in evidence for spring/summer – at Chanel, where it provided a primary counterpoint to the acres of blue denim; at Louise Goldin where it sang out against her emotive palette of brights; also at Daks by Giles Deacon – but there were new variations on the strong mouth. These took the form of blue, green and burgundy, and even pink lip gloss at Viktor and Rolf – perhaps the latter is due to return in a bigger way soon after a long period in the catwalk fashion wilderness; lipstick has ruled for the past few seasons.
As for the tone of the face, models were predominantly pale. Not a great deal of bronzer was in use considering these were summer shows, although self-tanning products will no doubt continue to sell like the proverbial hot cakes on the high street. A few runways paraded models with a light, healthy glow, for example Stella McCartney's, but the majority of models strutted with alabaster skin. Tawny eyes made an appearance at Zac Posen – big swathes of catlike beige swept up from the centre of the eye. For the most part, though, a nude face was the order of the day, not wishing to detract, perhaps, from the pretty floral motifs that sprung up all over clothes. At Balenciaga and Chloé, for example, plain faces were adorned with nothing but the palest pink of lipsticks.
Of course, there was a counterpoint to all this understatement: at Prada, the make-up artist Pat McGrath's eyes were hyper-elaborate, a jigsaw of jagged and patchy claret and rose pink flecked with gold, almost painterly in execution. And at Alexander McQueen there was full-on face painting around the eyes, again, this time in feather patterns. These were exceptions that proved the rule, however.
For hair, centre partings abounded, some scraped back and secured in tight ponytails, as at Marios Schwab and Zac Posen, others with locks flying free. Side partings were also prevalent, however, some of which were also secured into ponytails and buns. And finally, frizzed out, textured and teased hair – giving new meaning to the term flyaway – ruled at Roberto Cavalli, Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs.
So, the main things to look out for are ...
Claret was in abundance as far as lips were concerned. At both Lanvin and Christian Dior, McGrath painted mouths a deep wine shade moving on from autumn's omnipresent red.
"The concept behind the burgundy lips at Lanvin was 1970s glamour; strong women with an edge," says McGrath who used Nars lipstick in Scarlet Empress and Dior Aqualiner in a darker shade to effect the look. "The burgundy lips convey luxury and expensive living with a nod to decadent beauty." McGrath advises applying lip balm and foundation to lips before the colour to create a lasting look.
As with the clothes, colour was still a major preoccupation for catwalk make-up. At Marni, Tom Pecheux executed a lick of a cat's eye swinging out from the corners in a chlorine turquoise. Peter Phillips painted on a halo of satsuma orange around the top of eyes at Dries Van Noten, and at Louis Vuitton McGrath painted lips in a rainbow of shades. "The blue lips featured at Louis Vuitton were just one of 30 different coloured lips," she explains. "Each girl sported a unique, Technicolor lip, inspired by the artist Richard Prince's multi-dimensional appropriation art, as well as animated colour."
Nude faces picked out by very pale shrimp- pink lips were in evidence at Chloé and Balenciaga. This predominantly romantic look with a faintly blushed face and sweet sugar-pink lips was the default mode at many shows. "To achieve the Balenciaga look, focus on perfecting the skin and brows," says McGrath, who formulated the make-up. "The skin is perfected with liquid foundation, concealer, and a light application of loose powder to achieve a natural matte finish." McGrath used a duo of face perfectors to achieve the look including Max Factor Miracle Touch Liquid Illusion Foundation and Shu Uemura Face Powder Matte, and brushed foundation lightly over lips to give them that slightly rosy complexion.
Scraped back hair
Maybe it was a post-grime thing, a reference to urban girls with "Croydon facelift" hairstyles, but hair squeakily scraped up into high ponytails and buns was back: at Danielle Scutt and also McQ. "There was a reference to gymnast spandex in the clothing," says Holli Smith who did the hair at McQ. "That's why I wanted to have a real clean bun with an innocent braid wrapped around for the Olympic gymnast feel." She created the bun by brushing all the hair up in one direction and then putting it into a clean ponytail on top of the head. Smith used TiGi gel mixed with Bumble and Bumble Straight to prevent the product from drying up and to preserve the shine.
The centre parting
The mid-parting was pre-eminent at many of the spring/summer shows. At Chloé, where hairstylist Guido Palau presided over the general look, a feeling of free-flowing romance was created with models sporting long thick locks decisively and precisely parted in the middle. "Use a tail comb to achieve the ultimate centre parting," Palau advises. "This comb is the type with the metal tail on the end. Guide the tail down the centre and part. Use a little Redken glass serum to smooth down any flyaway hairs." At Zac Posen, where Odile Gilbert styled the hair, the centre parting was fore-grounded and hair was neatly pulled down into a twist at the nape of the neck, proving that this style can take more than one form.