“I think a neutral, monochromatic face looks chic and elegant,” said M.A.C guru James Kaliardos, backstage at Richard Chai’s show this morning. “Richard’s collection is full of masculine separates so we didn’t want the models to look too made-up. The guys and girls actually look quite similar.”
Using M.A.C Pro Sculpting Cream in Coffee Walnut, he shaded the eyes—lids, sockets, and inner corners—on both male and female models. He then contoured cheekbones with taupe and filled-in brows to “strengthen” them. Hair had a uniform, androgynous element as well; using Aveda Men Pure-Formance Grooming Clay, hairstylists Kevin Ryan and Frank Rizzieri combed the matte, volume-inducing product through the strands of males and females alike.
Even manicures had a masculine touch: for the perfect in-between finish—not too shiny, not too dull—manicurists applied Essie Man-e-Cure to the tops of taupe-painted nails. “It’s a product made for men that want to be well-groomed but don’t want a telltale shiny nail,” says Elle, Essie’s lead nail technician. “Richard chose it because it gives nails a texture that mimics the wool and cashmere in his collection.”
The final result—clothes, makeup, hair, and nails—is one that model Liu Wen approves of. “It’s very cool—I like the tomboy style,” she says. “Sometimes I’ll change my lips and make them a different color, but even if I’m going to a party, I always keep it simple,” she says.
And that, according to Kaliardos, is why Wen is such a success. “Girls look great when they keep it simple,” he says, adding with a laugh, “They look smarter, and they’ll get raises at work.”