M.A.C. senior artists recap trends from New York, Paris, London and Milan

To coincide with our Issue 127 coverage of the fall beauty trends, we asked M.A.C. senior artists about their fashion week experiences.

M·A·C Cosmetics Senior Artist Keri Blair: New York Fashion Week

Make-Up Artist magazine: What specific preparations go into New York Fashion Week?

Keri Blair: The biggest and most time-consuming preparations have to do with my M.A.C. make-up kit. In total, I spend close to five full work days preparing my kit for fashion week, this includes depotting, decanting and re-organizing all of my “essentials.” It is important to be prepared for everything! … Beyond make-up, it is important for me to stock up on easy-to-grab snacks and food options from breakfast to dinner. Sometimes days can have long stretches of time in-between shows. This is always the perfect time to curate my social media account and prepare for anything from the weather to travel. It’s a crazy few weeks in New York so getting the proper amount of sleep is tough, but you always find yourself falling into a groove.

MUA: What challenges do you anticipate for New York Fashion Week?

KB: Logistics! For as organized as New York is, getting around town, hailing taxis and booking cars to get you from show to show can be the most challenging exercise of the day. … The other challenge is keeping up with schedule changes and call times that shift throughout the week. Fortunately, we have a pretty tight network of people behind the scenes making sure the week moves as smoothly as possible.

MUA: What were you most proud of in executing the looks for New York Fashion Week?

KB: I supported a few make-up artists this season that I had not worked with before or in many years. It’s always a redeeming and proud moment when you get that thumbs up and stamp of approval on your make-up. I have been working backstage for almost 17 years, but trends shift and every artist has a different aesthetic; [it is a proud moment to be able to use your experience to ebb and flow from show to show and artist to artist.

MUA: Name a fun, unexpected thing that happened during New York Fashion Week?

KB: It is New York in February and so of course, right in the middle of Fashion Week, we had that warning of an overnight blizzard. Living just outside the city in New Jersey, that kind of forecast can leave one feeling a bit nerve wracked as I had a super early call time that next day. In these situations, is always M.A.C. team to the rescue. I had to find a friend to crash with at the hotel where all the traveling M.A.C. senior artists were staying. Fashion Week sleepover! That one day of a crazy blizzard would normally bring the city to a screeching halt, but not during NYFW. We still had a 7 a.m. call time for Jeffrey Dodd, a M.A.C. event with designer Gypsy Sport at our M.A.C. SoHo location and another show later that evening. The snow came down all day long but Fashion Week continued without a hitch.

MUA: Name a look or two that stands out from New York Fashion Week.

KB: Every look this season was really interesting or beautiful in their own distinctive way, but probably the two that stood out for me was the polished ’90s grunge girl look at R13 and the heavily lash-endowed, orange-vinyl eye at Katie Gallagher.

Francine Daly created this absolutely gorgeous look for R13 complete with over-accentuated lashes (this was created by applying extra amounts of M.A.C. Haute & Naughty Too Black Mascara). Four coats were applied here! M.A.C. Eye Kohl in Smolder was used in the waterline to get that punky grungy look. The skin was then perfected using M.A.C. Face & Body Foundation all over the face and then M.A.C. Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Double Gleam, pressed into the high plains of the face with fingers. It created a super fresh and dewy canvas for the backdrop of this grungy eye. It was perfection!

This season at Katie Gallagher, Bradley Miller used M.A.C. Lipstick in Forbidden Sunrise on the eyelid, topped with M.A.C. Studio Eye Gloss in Next Up Neon—for a high-shine bright orange, vinyl finish to the eye. This was paired with M.A.C. Lashes that had been pre-covered in too much mascara and then placed in clusters on the top and bottom of the eye, to create a doll-like look. It was simply striking and super fun to re-create!

M·A·C Cosmetics Executive Director of Makeup Artistry Lyne Desnoyers: Paris Fashion Week

MUA: What specific preparations go into Paris Fashion Week?

Lyne Desnoyers: Preparation is key and starts weeks before the season starts. Like all make-up artists, my make-up kit is a never-ending project! I am constantly upgrading, decanting and reconfiguring. The goal is to fit as much as you can in the most compact way possible! The best bag I would recommend using is the M.A.C. Zuca Bag because it fits everything and acts as a seat, which is a very important feature. For some reason, there are never enough chairs backstage!

MUA: What challenges do you anticipate for Paris Fashion Week?

LD: Fashion week is a crazy time for everyone—especially backstage. When I am backstage with the team, I try to create a relaxed atmosphere and it allows us to continue working together and executing the best looks. The success of the show is very much linked to how well everyone collaborates together. This is the best way to produce beautiful work in my opinion.

MUA: What did you learn during Paris Fashion Week?

LD: Fashion week is an intense moment of creativity for everyone involved. I learned you have to be open to ideas and be quick at finding the best ways to execute a  look that will have impact. Also, it has to be on point and cohesive with the story the designer is looking to tell. It also has to be a look that will be achievable by a whole team.

MUA: Name a look or two that really stands out from Paris Fashion Week.

LD: This season I worked with three labels with whom I have the privilege of

collaborating for a couple of seasons now: Jour/Né, Paskal and Marimekko. They each have different approaches to beauty but their diversity is what interests me most when doing fashion shows. For instance, at Jour/Né, it is a young hype Parisian label and we explored the story of a young traveler in the ’60s. As for Paskal, it is an up-and-coming Ukrainian label, youth spirit and music culture were the starting point ideas.

M·A·C Cosmetics Senior Artist Caroline Hernandez: London Fashion Week

MUA: What specific preparations go into London Fashion Week?

Caroline Hernandez: Before fashion week I always head over to the M.A.C. offices to pick up all of the new products I will be able to use in London. It’s a sneak peek into products that will launch around six months later, which coincide with the season we are doing backstage. Apart from spending time unboxing and exploring all of the new colors, products and formulas—unpacking and going through the contents of my make-up kit is how I prepare. It’s important to make sure it’s ready to go for backstage.

After arriving in London, other M.A.C. senior artists and I have a meeting where we receive our schedule of shows and for some, the tests we are going to. Tests are sometimes referred to as the fittings of fashion week. They are prior to the show where the hair and make-up looks are worked out and finalized. … It is super important as we are the ones who are responsible for providing what make-up is necessary to the team so everyone is prepared and has what they need.

MUA: What challenges do you anticipate for London Fashion Week?

CH: It is important to be prepared for anything—after make-up tests some of us need to go directly to shows after our meetings and tests. It’s best to have our make-up kits with us.

Sometimes, the key artist for the show designs more than one look for a show, so one cohesive look doesn’t always fit all. This means that the backstage managing team has to be sure to assign the right look for each model. This can be challenging, especially if models have a lot more changes than normal. We really have to keep an eye on the make-up as garments are pulled off and over their heads many times.

MUA: What were you most proud of in executing the looks for London Fashion Week?

CH: For London Fashion Week, the Chalayan show was very exciting. I had the opportunity to listen to what the looks were from Chalayan’s key artist Thomas de Kluyver when I attended the test. After listening through the test, I was prepared with all the choices that could be used in my kit to execute the look. In this case, it was shades of reds and peaches. The look was a bright red pencil with stay-put black liner around the eyes. I then added a red lip pencil which was lightly applied on the lip line with a touch of peach lipstick.

MUA: What did you learn during London Fashion Week?

CH: One of my favorite shows to be a part of is Gareth Pugh. This partly has to do with the amazing and inspiring key make-up artist Val Garland. When I had arrived backstage at the show, Val had a table with photos from the test laid out with all of these curious looking tubes that resembled old 35mm film cases beside them. The look is incredible, featuring dark lips and shiny dark stuck-on eye covers.

It is always interesting to learn what goes into achieving these beautiful and eerie looks. After Val conducts the demo, we find out that the models have to wear the dark eye covers (which are essentially bubble-looking black goggles). We learned the best way to apply them is to put eyelash glue on the side that would touch the face. We carefully took each pair and allowed the glue to dry on the skin. When dry, the glue became clear and would not allow any movement and prevented them from falling off on the runway. When we placed the goggles on them, their eyes quickly adjusted to the darker lens. [It is sometimes quite surprising how a simple approach can look so striking and complicated in process.

MUA: Name a fun, unexpected thing that happened during London Fashion Week?

CH: Another show with Val Garland: Roland Mouret. This time the make-up was conceptual and very popular among the models. We were to ask each model what make-up they would wear on a date and how did that make-up essentially look the next morning after they were out all night.

This was at first strange for the models because they normally get the look applied that was assigned to them with no questions or debates. But this look was their choice, and one which they liked! It was nice to see the models smiling and so excited when they saw their look in the mirror. You could tell they felt good about how they looked and were happy with the make-up they chose. They each brought different aesthetics from cool to sexy or beautiful—whatever they liked. It was fun and simple for us too since their make-up did not have to fit an overall look and it was all individual and designed to fit the face.

M·A·C Cosmetics Senior Artist Ashley Rudder: Milan Fashion Week

Make-Up Artist magazine: What specific preparations go into Milan Fashion Week?

Ashley Rudder: … One of my favorite tasks is condensing items that come in bulky packaging into small sleek mini containers to help reduce the weight and size of my kit. [I am such a kit nerd and constantly scanning craft stores, hardware stores and my local beauty warehouses for sleek organizational containers. I’m pretty obsessed, and when I’m really hyped about a condensing process I’m definitely posting it on my social media platforms! I just love sharing things like that!

… The intense bumping and shaking that my kit goes through from rolling it over the beautiful cobble stoned streets in Milan can easily turn my pressed powders, blush and eye shadows into a shattered mess. To prevent this, I line my palettes and compacts with foam liners to ensure that they stay intact.

Clean and abundant light can be illusive backstage in the historical buildings there, especially in the areas where the models get dressed. To help with this, I carry a handy and compact lighting system that I use at my station. I’m also able to attach it to my backstage mobile set up. This allows me to easily see anything that needs to be concealed on the legs and feet, and of course see which parts of the face needs touching up.

MUA: What challenges do you anticipate for Milan Fashion Week?

AR: In February, it frequently rains in Milan, so I’m sure to pack an umbrella and shoes that won’t be affected by the rain.

The venues in Milan are steeped in history and are absolutely mesmerizing. This also means that stairs are in abundance, so staying in shape is essential for me to have the stamina to climb up and down flights of ancient marble stairs carrying my 40-pound kit.

MUA: What were you most proud of in executing the looks for Milan Fashion Week?

AR: From time to time I might get a glance at the backstage monitors once the show has begun. When I see how gorgeous things look on the runway, and I see smiles on both the key artist and designer’s face, I know that the team crushed it. Those smiles make me incredibly proud of what I do, and being a part of that is such an adrenaline rush. It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it!

MUA: What did you learn during Milan Fashion Week?

AR: I picked up an awesome recipe for a gorgeous spa-fresh highlight: use a cream highlighter like M.A.C. Cream Colour Base in Luna, and add a few drops of essential oil! The glow is absolutely captivating. I’ve been wearing and using this little recipe on myself and on my clients, and it looks so healthy. As you can see I’m obsessed!

MUA: Name a look or two that really stands out from Milan Fashion Week.

AR: … Moschino is the highlight of my week and is my last show in Milan. There is always a new twist on the ’90s supermodel which is definitely a favorite era of mine. This season Tom Pecheux created a look that was inspired by the idea of Linda Evangelista and Twiggy as super heroes. It was gorgeous!

MUA: Name a fun, unexpected thing that happened during Milan Fashion Week?

AR: I got a tip about how phenomenal the spas are in Milan, and I thought what an awesome way to end the season!

My schedule is packed daily, so I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to fit it in, but I was pleasantly surprised that they offered services until as late as 11 p.m.! The day before I left for Paris I booked an appointment with one of my friends after we finished our show at 6 p.m., and had an incredible massage. We don’t know much Italian, but we smiled and “grazie’d” our way through it! We enjoyed the mineral pools, dished about our highlights from the week, soaked in the infrared light treatments and let our fatigue melt away in the salt and the aromatic steam rooms. I think we experienced every amenity there. On the ride back to our hotel we decided that this must be a new tradition of ours.

For more details on fall make-up trends, order Issue 127 here.