Take a good look at these pictures… Do you see what I see?
Yes I know it’s hard to miss these John Rocha black laced shoes and Christian Louboutain silver wedges. They are TO DIE FOR!!! But push those aside for a moment and look closely at the team of beauty experts camouflaging every single blemish.
It’s like Sex and The City LIVE and within earshot
So I was backstage here with four other photographers (Elle, Grazia, Drapers Record and a really nice girl shooting beauty for Vogue) all more experienced than the next (and me), all of us clicking away, and I could hear everyone had their own way of talking to the models depending on what they were looking for…
“Stand over here, twist your legs towards me, towards the light, nice shoes!” Elle.
“Are those easy to walk in? NO WAY, stay perfectly still! Thank You!” the lovely Drapers Record Italian guy.
All the while the beauty worker bees are humming about, making sure that every piece of skin on show is worked; stepping aside for the photographers to get their shots and then rushing back in to use every precious moment to make the skin look flawless.
I think I’ve told you before, I love this bit of a fashion show the most…the bit where the models are on the ramp, side stage a few minutes before they go on the catwalk and all the tricks and secret weapons are pulled out of the kit to hide blemishes and create that one photographic catwalk moment. I love being part of that backstage experience. I want to capture everything and the things I hear….
“Is my hair bed-head? Or does it look like I’ve slept on this side of my head for too long?”
It’s like LIVE Sex and The City within earshot. So there you have it…or not….
… because I was standing there wondering and muttering out loud to myself ‘bedhead? Yes! What I’d like to know is what’s giving you those extra special SHINY SHINS???´
Then one of the backstage beauty team pointed to a bottle of Nivea Pure and Natural body lotion on the floor. ‘That for starters, with its rich body butter effect is easy to find, affordable (we use it in industrial quantities), soaks straight into the skin and doesn’t ruin clothes with residue.’ How AWESOME is that tip? A slice of post-recession wisdom!
Apparently ‘it’s pretty easy to enhance well kept pale skin’, one make-up artist explained. Yes WELL KEPT. And seeing as the tricks used to get a healthy glow on pale legs backstage included no bronzing products whatsoever to achieve that porcelain glow? I felt like a complete reject asking ‘How would my um, cousin Shirley get WELL KEPT pale skin on her legs then?’
‘Start at home with a great skincare ritual. Massage a cleansing oil (Shu Uemura Balancing Cleansing oil is a good one) into skin, followed by a moisturiser every day. Then use a glow-enhancing make-up base primer such as MAC Prep and Prime Skin or Chanel Base Lumière. And cover with a light make-up like MAC Face and Body Foundation .Try MAC strobe Cream along the shin bone to make it stand out.’
But all of this cleansing, priming, illuminating leg routine wasn’t needed for models backstage (their legs are in great condition) so the quick fix for them was just a slather of affordable moisturizer using both hands to apply and then any little marks or irregular blemishes were covered by swiping the area with toner to remove oils and then applying a highly pigmeted, oil-free concealer, like MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer.
Other then that, I noticed some artists were using their fingers while others plucked brushes from their kits. A synthetic-bristle (as opposed to natural bristle ) brush is usually used when a mark or blemish is very visible on pale skin. ‘A synthetic bristle brush lets me build up the coverage and work the product into the area to match the leg colour better than using my fingers or a sponge’, one MAC beauty expert explained. ‘Natural bristles are great for face foundation but soak up too much product when you want to conceal a dark mark on a leg.’
I also noticed that legs at the shows fell into a few categories. Yep! My favourites may be the pictures above, all pale and interesting but guess what, as I schlepped around I noticed that many other shows had tanned legs too. So what were the experts using from their kits on these???
For summer kissed legs, MAC’s Studio Sculpt Foundation was a biggie. The gel texture gave that perfect glowy finish with just enough coverage and applied carefully allowed make-up artists to highlight the bone structure by running a little extra along the front of the legs to defined shins. Artists also spritzed Evian Facial spray over mineral foundation on legs for a dewy glow.
For a very tanned look artists highlighted bare legs with Guerlain Terracotta Huile du Voyager Nourishing Dry Oil. In some cases they either mixed it with a very affordable moisturiser or brushed it on its own for a more futuristic edge.
A trick I saw used a lot in Paris… was high-factor suncream being used as a make-up base on legs to make them shine. Some very expensive in-house brands were used but the one I’d suggest is Liz Earle Mineral Sun Cream SPF20 (tel: 01983 813913) as it reflects light rather than absorbs it, is made with more natural ingredients and gives a very distinct shine under hot, bright lights (I’m going to make this work for me, seriously I am).
And even better news…. I saw two make-up artists use La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios XL SPF50 sunscreen, (it can be hard to find here’s a number: 0800 055 6822). I always have a bottle in my fridge at home and don’t go anywhere without it. I use it when running as it doesn’t block pores, doesn’t contain any harmful parabens and gives skin a fresh glowing finish. Best news of all though is its pocket friendly price and its used by some very high profile make-up artists. I first saw a make-up artist use it to give legs that distinctive shine for a Burberry Prorsum show a few season ago.
So there you have it… that’s all I can remember.
Oh except this… one model turned up with a momentous spot on her leg and a make-up artist just whipped a bottle of eye drops out of her kit and treated the spot immediately. It didn’t get rid of it (that would have been magic) but it did reduce the redness and swelling (something to do with the magic properties that eye drops have which cause blood vessels to restrick).
If you’ve more time ( say a few days rather than hours to treat a big angry spot) may I suggest something like Origins Spot Remover (tel: 0800 731 4039); it clears spots up after only three applications.
So that’s everything I remember.
So, what do you think? Would you have ever have thought that so much care went into legs (and hands)? Seriously the stuff that goes on, it’s better than Sex And The City or Gossip Girl.