Catwalk hair and make-up proved to be refreshingly inventive this spring/summer, making a welcome change from the predictable "beach" look of bronzed skin, windswept hair and minimal make-up. Instead there was a new world of colour, light and quirkiness on show, with alien bleached eyebrows at Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton, strange Mekon sculptural post-beehives at YSL and Prada, and bizarre, insectoid eyelash protrusions at Gareth Pugh.
Perhaps the absence of "sun, sea and sand" looks can be explained by the fact that in beauty, as in fashion, traditional notions of the seasons are dissolving due to faster moving trends and even climate change. Hence, black lips appeared at Vivienne Westwood; melted mocha tones at Dior. The message was that it's acceptable to be creative with your appearance all year round – no need to slip into default tanned mode just because it's summer.
The latest catwalk beauty trends also reflect the new directions seen in the clothes collections; hence the return of the Eighties with coiffed quiffs and high hair as displayed by Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Moschino. Meanwhile, the full face of make-up returned, with models sporting heavy lips, eyes and cheeks all at the same time, breaking the either-lips-or-eyes rule.
We've moved far beyond the straightened, blow-dried look that dominated the late Nineties and early Noughties. This summer it's all about so-called "statement hair" – and there is nothing more elaborate, breathtaking and architectural than a perfectly executed bun. These appeared at 3.1 Phillip Lim, where they were perched asymmetrically on top of models' heads like jaunty little hats, and at Gianfranco Ferre and Marni, where models sported them behind the ears, looking a little like kooky librarians. "The inspiration for the hair at Marni was the circles in the print of the fabrics and we decided to make buns in the shape of a ball, located on the side of the back of the head," says session stylist Orlando Pita. "At Marni we almost always attach the hair in an asymmetrical way, following something in the clothes rather than a trend." Pita and his team blow-dried models' hair with Plump by T3 (you can use any other volumising spray) and created a precise left-side parting. They snared hair in an elastic round the back of the head at the opposite side to the parting (the right side). Then, using bobby pins, they attached the pony tail to the head in the shape of a circle and teased the hair to smooth it into the shape of a ball. The look was finished with a spritz of control hairspray by T3 – but any strong hairspray will do.
For almost a decade, lipgloss, especially clear lipgloss, has been considered as naff as orange fake tans or overabundant extensions. Lipstick has dominated the catwalk for the best part of the Noughties, but that's about to change, as yet again fashion reinvents the passé. When the world's most influential make-up artist, Pat McGrath, uses lipgloss at more than one show, it's a sure sign that change is afoot. At Louis Vuitton she painted models' lips a patent cochineal red, and at Dior she embellished pouts with a spectrum of puttyish mochas and caramels. "Transparent lipgloss on its own looks very 'mass market'," diagnoses McGrath. "It's about lipgloss with very strong pigments now. At Vuitton we used a rich red to make the models look exotic and rich, and at Dior it was used as part of the return to a full face of make-up. Lipgloss is decadent. It's about a rebellion into glamour, especially in the light of the economic climate." At Dior, McGrath used Guerlain Kiss Kiss Lipstick in Beige Sensuel topped with Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Crystal, as well as Max Factor's Colour Collection Lipstick in Coffee Toffee coated with Laura Mercier's Lip Glace in Crystal. The vibrant scarlet at Vuitton was achieved using Max Factor's Colour Collection lipstick in Intensely Red covered with Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Crystal.
Rainbow brights dominated the catwalks and make-up followed suit. At Viktor and Rolf there were dramatic clouds of volcanic orangey-red blooming from brows to temples, while chilli-pepper red lipstick appeared at Miu Miu. At Gucci, models sported exquisitely dense cerulean-blue eyeshadow from eyelid to brow. "The inspiration was an old shoot of the Sixties model Veruschka on safari," recalls make-up artist Pat McGrath, who executed the look. "So we used a real aquatic blue to evoke being on vacation and the colour of deep water." Make Up Forever's Flash Colour Pot in Turquoise and Max Factors Earth Spirits Eyeshadow in Ultra Aqua were layered and blended from eyelid to brow, picking up on the cobalts and aquamarines in the clothing collection.
Hot pink lips
Whether you call it cyclamen, fuchsia, raspberry or Schiaparelli, pink is vying with red as the bright lip colour of choice. Populists will relish the fact that Cheryl Cole sported it during the 'X Factor', while more rarefied fashion fans will delight in Pat McGrath's painting of lips hot pink at Hussein Chalayan's spring/summer show. "When I first met Hussein to discuss what we should do, he said, 'I want lots of make-up'," recalls McGrath with a laugh. "This was completely out of character and I wondered what had come over him!" And so they searched for colours that might complement Chalayan's car-crash-themed collection. "We were wondering what could work with the acid yellow of the clothes and give the look that 'pop'," relates McGrath. In the end they opted for an acerbic bluey pink – created with YSL's Rouge Volupté in Provocative Pink. "The theme of the show was the speed at which we are heading into the future," explains McGrath. "The lipstick lent it a colour and vibrancy with an ultra-feminine edge."
Scraped-back hair (think Robert Palmer's "Addicted To Love" video) was in evidence at a vast swathe of influential catwalk shows. Louis Vuitton, Lanvin, Stella McCartney, Valentino, Ann Demeulemeester, Hussein Chalayan and Christopher Kane were just a few of the runways on which models' hair was slicked back off the face and gathered neatly at the back. It was almost the complete antithesis to the eye-grazing, vision-obscuring fringes that dominated the mid-Noughties. "All Christopher Kane's references were 'Planet of the Apes'-based, so the hair was severe and off the face," explains session stylist Paul Hanlon, who created the looks. "It was based on prehistoric woman." If you're short on time or sick of elaborate procedures using curling tongs, straighteners or rollers, it could be just the thing. "It opens the face, it's clean and it's modern," affirms Hanlon. To replicate the look at home, he advises brushing it back and setting it with a hairspray such as Elnett, which he used at the show. "If you want, you could also use a gel to get that wet Eighties look, or a serum, or even an oil such as Nuxe dry oil."