Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Backstage At Victor de Souza For Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week: Glamour Hails From Another Universe

The setting was intimate for the showing of the Victor de Souza F/W 2010 collection. At Casa la Femme restaurant, 140 Charles Street in Manhattan's West Village, de Souza brought out the drama. The beauty that was created to mesh with the clothing being presented was the most out of the ordinary and intriguing display that I had seen over the course of this week.

Lead stylist, Danilo, and his team of six, worked with PHYTO products to create what was described in Danilo's own words as an "alien chic" silhouette. Hair was formed into a tight pony tail which was subsequently slicked back with PHYTO Professional Strong Sculpting Gel and wrapped into a chignon at the top of the head. The bun was placed in line with the chin to help accentuate the shape of the face. Small sections of hair at the temples were left out, and extensions wrapped within a hair net (in blond, brunette, and black shades depending on the model's hair color) were fastened to the top of the head, covering the chignon. Once set into place with pins, the hair left out at the temples was tucked into the back of the head and underneath. To finish off the look, Danilo used PHYTO Professional Workable Hold Hairspray. The overall style was reflective of the "high class couture woman," the "classic woman from another universe." Danilo commented that what he loves about PHYTO is the fact that when using the products he feels that in addition to styling, he is treating the hair.

Danilo in action

Makeup was led by Lena Koro, head artist for the NARS team (of 25!). I spoke with Ashley Robb, who works on the NARS PR team, and she enlightened me regarding the inspiration for the look. She told me that the underlying idea for the face was a photograph of Audrey Hepburn, and was intended to emulate the feeling of her elegance and class, with an "alien twist." Looking at the face, one should be able to get the sense of old, chic beauty, but it should also be apparent that something is off, a bit "out of this universe." The face was made pale with powder. Brows were muted as well, and were practically invisible. Models sported black contact lenses (through which I am not quite sure it was easy to see!) that added to the alien aesthetic.

The main products used to create the look:

Snow Loose Powder

Sheer Matte Foundation in "Siberia"

"Black Moon" Eyeliner Pencil

"XXX" Lip Gloss

Eyeliner Stylo in "Black"

Finished look:

Nails were done by CND (Creative Nail Design) manicurists. Christina Estabrooks, lead nail stylist, gave me the low-down on the look. She revealed that nails were shaped down and adhered just below the first knuckle (to further the "alien chic" concept), defined with a series of polishes, and finished off with French tips (for which the color "Studio White" was used). The other polishes that were integrated into the manicure were "Pink Lily" and " Copper Chrome," as well as the "Super Matte" top coat. The nails were to appear as if they were indestructible.

After getting the scoop backstage, I was able to stay to see the show. The garments were, in general, highly theatrical and the aesthetic was rich and reminiscent of old-school glamour. In attendance was actress Jessica Biel as well as the mastermind behind the NARS brand, Mr. Francois Nars himself (who posed for a picture with me, which admittedly, left me a bit weak in the knees...he is definitely an artist I admire immensely).

Me and Francois Nars

Bravo, Victor!

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