Ghosts and witches and graveyards, oh my! The inspirations cited at yesterday's Chris Benz show sounded more like the script of a Wes Craven flick, a result of the designer's frequent trips to Savannah where he's been serving as a fashion mentor at Georgia's famous art school, SCAD. "Savannah has a strange beauty," said Chris backstage. "You've got proper Southern decorum intertwined with the art school kids' abstract fashions and eerie old mansions." This mishmash of influences could have led to a brooding beauty, but instead, the makeup and hair were more fitting of a spunky young heroine. "The clothes are somewhat restrained this season, so we can go more out with the makeup," said Chris.
For makeup artist Daniel Martin, who was working with Lancôme, this offered the chance to get colorful. And he seized the opportunity by creating two vibrant versions of smoky eyes using the Color Design 5 Shadow & Liner Palette. He worked the Teal Fury shades into a sea-blue medley on the blond and African-American models, and blended Mauve Chérie's purple-y mix on the brunette and Asian models. The application was the same on everyone: He brushed each palette's highlighter shade at the inner corners of the eyes, either the sky blue from Teal Fury or the royal purple from Mauve Chérie on lids, and the palette's liner all around eyes. He then smudged everything with his finger, lined the inner rims of the lids with black pencil, and added lots of Hypnôse Volume Mascara on both top and bottom lashes, encouraging models to squeeze their eyes shut every so often as they lingered backstage to give the look a slept-in quality. "Chris's collection is quite refined, so the makeup needs to be a little unkempt to keep the feeling young," said Daniel.
For the rest of the face, Daniel evened out the skin with Teint Idole foundation, defined the cheeks with Blush Subtil in Mauve Coquette (a plum-y shade), and created a sensuous mouth with L'Absolu Nu Lipstick (out in March) in Evening Lace (a shimmery deep rose) on the blue-shadow models and Satin Toffee (a purple-y brown) on the mauve-shadow girls. Nails were inked with one of two new polish colors (out this fall): Most models had square-shaped nails painted with Noir 29, a black creme with a hint of gold shimmer (bottom photo, right). But about five girls were selected to wear Bang Bang Red, a classic scarlet (bottom photo, left), on short, round nails.
For his part, hairstylist John Ruidant of Redken whipped up what he called "witchy hair," though the look was arguably more romantic than wiry. Working with small sections of hair, he misted each one with Hot Sets 22 Thermal Mist, wrapped the top two-thirds around a 1-inch curling iron so the ends were left straight, let it cool, then backcombed it into a slightly frizzy wave. Once all the hair was wavy, he parted it on the side and pinned it back at the temple on one side. "It's very lightweight and airy," he said of the style, which he set with a few mists of Forceful 23 Hairspray. Call it devilishly chic beauty.
PHOTOS (FROM TOP) 1, 2, AND 3 BY CAMERON KRONE