Couture always means fanciful and fantasy. Pat McGrath and Tom Pecheux are two of the most influential and talented makeup artists when it comes to fashion shows of any kind. They inspire the masses with their creativity and eye for Uncommon Beauty. For some of the couture shows-McGrath outlined the models’ eyes with iridescent sequins, acid-bright bits of paper, metallic fabric and vivid feathers. At Jean Paul Gaultier, Tom Pecheux gilded a model’s arms and legs to match her golden dress and painted another’s chest with a faux tattoo of flowers that could be glimpsed through her sheer net shirt. “It’s interesting,” says Pecheux, “when makeup becomes clothes and clothes become makeup.”
For hairstylists too, haute couture often translates into greater flights of fancy. “You don’t have to think trends,” says Orlando Pita, whose chignons at Valentino seemed to bloom from the base of the models’ heads. “There’s an opportunity to create something more intricate.” At Dior, he designed a “frizzy flying saucer” look inspired by Klimt, while at Armani Privé, Hanlon embellished coifs with shards of black Lucite.
Extreme as these looks might seem, Pecheux believes that elements of couture beauty are transposable to daily life. For a past couture show, he used bindis around the eye “like a fashion accessory,” he says. After that, “I saw a lot of young women playing with the idea.”
McGrath notes that fashion-obsessed clubgoers will sometimes mimic couture looks. “It can create an interesting cycle,” she says, “because many designers frequent these same clubs and will see the kids and find inspiration in their interpretations.
“The genius thing about couture is the surprise,” McGrath adds. “There are no limits, which means it is always magical.”