New York Fashion Week
A bucket list item for any makeup artist worth their salt is to go and work at New York Fashion Week at least once. NYFW is the epitome of fashion runway in the industry. Held in February and September of each year, NYFW is a semi-annual series of events, mostly runway shows, where fashion collections are shown to buyers, the press and the general public. Names like Marc Jacobs, Proenza Scholer, Calvin Klein, and Rag and Bone debut their collections to an audience of “who’s who” in the fashion industry. Tall beautiful models strut the catwalk in one-of-a-kind pieces to thumping music, camera flashes, and TV cameras.
It is fast-paced, chaotic, hectic, and spectacular!
I had my chance in 2016 to join the team of makeup artist James Vincent for NYFW and took it. As key of many shows, James is the one to meet with the designers, create the looks, work with his makeup sponsors for the shows, and pick and train his teams. He and his assistants coordinate and plan the shows in great detail so that when his team arrives, all runs smoothly and efficiently.
I arrived a few hours before the Serena Williams show was to begin at to set up my station (we were the first show at the venue), learn the look, and get our models ready. Once everyone was set up and the Serena gave her final okay for the look, James took us very quickly through the key pieces. The look James created for the Serena show was based on a matte complexion, golden metallic on the eyes, and a super deep plum lip. It was important that they skin stay matte so that the eye popped. One thing I have learned in working with James is that he wants the skin to look perfect, but never heavy. He also expects his team to be efficient with their time and precise in application.
My first model was a young lady from Milan who arrived with her mom in tow. Like many runway models out of Europe she was working multiple shows each day in NY and then moving on to Paris, London, and Milan. Despite being at a big name runway show with a well known celebrity designer and an audience of famous faces, I was very calm. We had about 25 minutes which is long for backstage runway, to get out models ready enough for a walk through. At this point James took us in front of house to see how everyone was looking and to give us feedback. I loved working with my Italian model as her skin was so golden and she had really dark eyes. The gold and rose shadow popped and the deep lip was beautiful. My second model was a light red head. We worked primarily with Limelight makeup products and some Embryolisse skincare (which I love, use, and sell at my studio).
Because of how beautifully planned and organized James was, the makeup ran smoothly and although a bit hurried and chaotic at the end, was successful. We ventured out while our models dressed to the front of the house for a peak. Because we are “the crew”, James and his assistants are the ones that you see doing touch-ups and such in the behind the scenes videos. I”m posting a video link to the show and some photos. It really was a blast working NYFW and I hope to do it again.
Some pointers when working a runway show:
- If you are the key it is your duty and job to create the look with the designers, find out how it will be implemented, choose a team and train them on the look, then oversee that everything goes smoothly. It is a big job.
- As a crew member, you are not doing your makeup, you are a reflection of the key. As part of James’s crewe I did James Vincent makeup and did what I was told. No push-back, no argument.
- Be prepared to work with product you might now know well. I always carry a few “hero” products from my kit and my brushes in case I need it.
- Be on-time, be quiet, observe and listen. It isn’t about you, it is about the show. To work a show of this caliber you should be able to create a full makeup in 20 minutes.
- The most important piece of all of the makeups I did, all of the shows I worked, was skin. Making the skin look perfect and real and not covered.
Until next time, Terri Tomlinson Makeup Artist Dallas TX