A half mast Union Jack waved sombrely in the wind as Erdem’s SS23 show at the British Museum began. A procession of sheer black veils, ballerina length tulle dresses and swathes of lace draped over one shoulder Royal sash style, provided a reflection on portraiture of the past, whilst feeling more than timely.
A go-to designer for the Royal Family, Moralioglu dedicated the romantically melancholy collection to the late Queen Elizabeth II on the eve of her funeral, printing Her Majesty’s enduring quote, ‘Grief is the price we pay for love’ on the show notes.
An ode to the restoration of art and the knowledge, skill and dedication required to perfect the craft, Erdem looked to celebrate the intricacy and beauty of that which has faded over time and the power to reclaim its former glory. The message: preservation over consumption – a less obvious nod to cyclical fashion.
Over on make-up, a more literal application of restoration as NARS Global Artistry Director, Jane Richardson, delicately ‘restored’ models’ skin for an SS23 take on picture perfect beauty. ‘Erdem wanted to make the models look as if they have been restored in the most natural way,’ Richardson told ELLE UK. ‘Subtle tone, colour and texture considerations allow the models to appear part of their environment.’
No punchy eyeliner or disco diamanté here, instead pin point concealing, spotlight powdering and just a finger press of painterly ochre-tinted lipstick transformed naturally beautiful models into living portraits. Even Richardson’s application techniques rang true of restoring art, gently buffing out models’ lip colour with concealer if their resting shade was too pink to let the rusty-hued NARS Powermatte Lipstick in No Angel ring true. ‘I’m applying highlighter to the middle of the eyelid and underneath the brows to pull focus to the eyes which are always the most important part of a portrait,’ explained Richardson backstage.
Equally, the make-up hinged on what wasn’t there – mascara, eyelash curlers and blusher all remained on the artist’s bench for a more authentic type of period drama. Cotton buds were used to softly remove foundation, revealing freckles and moles that bring a realness to otherwise flawless skin.
Elsewhere on hair, L’Oréal Pro hairstylist Adam Reed combined brushed out blanket waves with ‘city slick’ gelled roots for his own take on the old-meets-new brief. Care and consideration for the models themselves was priority for Reed, encouraging his team of backstage stylists to check on their comfort if any pulling or tugging was required.
Even Reed’s use of products put the models first, with a bespoke mix of L’Oréal Professionnel Fix Max gel and Metal Detox Professional Concentrated Oil creating a flexible formula that could easily be rinsed out post-show.
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