Ready to wear: Make-up artists may say 'dewy' but in real life, it's oily

 

Just as the designer "show piece" – anything from flashing shoulder pads to glow-in-the-dark jellyfish dresses, say – is rarely seen away from the catwalk, so various hair and make-up looks are unlikely ever to make it into real life. These vary from the extreme – think anything courtesy of Pat MacGrath for John Galliano – to the more deceptively usual, the kind of thing that innocent onlookers might think they'd like to emulate but do so only at their peril.

Take dewy skin as a prime example. "Do you really want to look like someone spat on you?" muses a colleague who may always be relied on to call a spade a shovel. She has a point, though. What make-up artists might describe as dewy, mere mortals might more readily call oily, shiny or just damp, hardly likely to be favoured by working women of style.

In a similar vein is wet-look hair. The idea in this case evokes decadent young things clubbing in the wee small hours or indeed Ursula Andress emerging from the sea in a white bikini. Away from the screen, however, and "lean back on your chair and you'll leave a grease mark", says my colleague again.

The line between the fashion statement and a style more suited to everyday existence is clear-cut. Only this autumn, for example, Louise Gray placed trails of tiny coloured dots on models' faces, which looked more kindergarten than Knightsbridge, and the designer knows that only too well. Multi-coloured Bride of Frankenstein fright wigs at Yohji Yamamoto were equally alluring, but hairstylist Eugene Souleiman would almost certainly not propose anyone wear one on their way out for the weekly shop. For Viktor & Rolf, who have something of a reputation for catwalk theatrics, with styling to match, their new-season designs were best showcased by models whose faces were painted tomato red (pictured). It was an unsettling sight and that, presumably, was the point.

Still, very little is ever likely to upstage the make-up in the pair's notorious black hole collection, where matt-black face and body paint was applied from the roots of models' hair to the tips of their toes.

It was murder to remove, by all accounts, wreaking merry havoc when the women in question were required to rush off to their next show, and not intended for use at home.

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