So today we are taking another look at what the New York Times dubbed the ‘best in couture beauty’ to see whether we agree with the prestigious newspaper or not. Last time, I talked about the Dior, Saab and Jarrar shows. Quick review: Dior = Alien Zombie. Saab = “The Hills.” Jarrar = Clinique Bronzer / Iman. I’ve had a lot of things to tend to in my personal life as of late so I was not able to post any reviews since then. But I’m back, baby! So let’s get down to business because today’s designers’ looks are sexy, sea inspired and sleek…just not always in a good way.
Versace Fall 2012 Couture Beauty
Versace’s couture beauty for Fall 2012 was just another take on what they do best: 70’s-suntanned-smoky eyes-glossy-bouncy hair-glamour. I’ve already openly admitted that I love this look because it was one my mom rocked back in the day thus; you will hear very little criticism from me. (But fear not! The Giambattista Valli “beauty” report more than makes up for the lack of snark here.)
Per the Versace norm, the girls wore a version of a smoky eye. I would call this season’s interpretation more smoldering than seasons past. Why? Because if you look closely you’ll see that the eyes are fully lined with a black liner and the black-gray shadow is pulled up and out way past the crease / eyelid into a cat-eye shape that extends all the way out to the end of the brow. Further, there is also a heavy amount of shadow under the eye. A lot of eye shadow is involved in this look. The effect is fantastic; eyes smolder giving off such heat and passion it can be intimidating to look a girl like this in the face. Think of “Smoky Eye” being the cute little sister who tries to be more like her older sister “Smoldering Eye.” While Smoky sits at home talking on the phone to boys, she still does not want to upset her parents and is a relatively good girl. Meanwhile, Smoldering is shimmying down the tree outside her window so she can hop into her much older boyfriend’s car where they will do all kinds of naughty things till dawn. Simply put, smoldering doesn’t give an ‘F.’ Pulling shadow out past the eye onto the face and properly shaping it into an even looking cat eye is very tricky. Also, getting the right amount of shadow under the eye without looking like Taylor Momsen (i.e. a totally disgruntled Panda bear) is even harder. Trust. I speak from great experience.
Also on closer inspection, you’ll see that a lighter shade was used on the center of the eyelid. The lighter haired girls had a bronze colored shadow while the brunettes had more of a dark brown color. Regardless of what color was on the top lid, it looked like the same color was used on all girls to make the cat eye and smolder out the bottom of the eye. I’ve not seen this take before on a smoldering eye but I like it. The lighter color in the center of the top lid will actually open the eye up a bit so that the look isn’t too heavy.
Again, per the Versace norm, the skin was clean and lightly bronzed with a natural, rosy looking wash of color on the cheeks. And the hair! What glorious hair! When I used to have long hair, I was the queen of hot rollers. I had too much hair and not enough patience or skill for a curling iron so I would hot roller my hair within an inch of its life. The result was the same as you see here: shiny, bouncy, healthy, glossy, sexy hair. Now mine would fall flat within about 1.5 hours but that was before the litany of miracle hair-care products we have today. *Shakes fist in air with fury for the 90’s.*
Usually the Versace girls have a color on their lips with a super high shine gloss on top. That may be another small difference to this season as the lips were extremely neutral / natural looking. It looks like a nude lipstick that perfectly matched the models’ own lip color was used with a bit of clear gloss on top. However, it’s such a natural looking lip, I would not be surprised if no lip color was used at all. The makeup artists may very well only put a touch of gloss on their natural, clear lips.
So yeah- I am a total sucker for this 1970’s Barbie doll look. Point: Versace.
Giambattista Valli Fall 2012 Couture Beauty
Dear Giambattista Valli,
Oh, Giambattista, Giambattista, Giambattista…
You make such beautiful clothes but then you go and ruin it with your “bug-eyed-fish-caught-in-the-net” beauty look. The dresses you featured were impeccable gowns with huge, oversized ruffles in bold, daring colors and patterns like red-black ombre. Yet, like a teen with oppositional defiant disorder, you had to go and ruin the good thing you had going for yourself with the makeup. Why can’t you just let yourself be great? Don’t you know you can fly? And no, I do not mean like the butterflies you attached to the net which look like they are caught on the grill of a car / the moth from “Silence of the Lambs” / a model inhaled really hard and got a butterfly stuck on her lips. That’s not what I mean- at all.
Such refined and detailed clothes like the ones you created in this collection, deserve an opportunity to shine. The makeup should be like a good bra- supportive but not noticeable. I know I said that couture is about pushing the envelope but this is like flipping over the Fed Ex truck that has your package inside. Too far. Way. Too. Far. I mean, was this your beauty muse?
So where does it go wrong? Well, if I had to start somewhere, I would say the blue-silver-meadow foam green shadow and how it is placed on the eyes. I like these colors personally, but not necessarily all at once and layered. The way you have them arranged they look more like the scales of a seafood dinner…before it is cooked. Never mind that they do not coordinate back to the clothes you are showing. (I mean, at this stage, that point is moot and not even worth talking about. I have much bigger fish to fry with you- no pun intended but it works so I’m keeping it.) The placement of these colors is haphazardly painted on the model’s faces- not on the eyelids- but around the inner and outer corners of the models’ eyes. This makes the girls look more like your muse (see above) than a woman. The way the colors are layered, one on top of another, gives an iridescent look but not in a good way…more in a sea bass way. Further, the fishnets on the heads look like both a literal translation of a fish caught in a net:
As well as a figurative interpretation of the fish/scale/net genre:
If your goal was to make million dollar models look like carp (fish joke!) then I say to you sir, bravo. Mission accomplished.
As to the butterflies attached to the “catch of the day models?” Well, I can’t even go there. The butterflies remind be of a six year old girl with Lisa Frank stickers.
‘Not enough glitter!’
‘Not enough puppies!’
‘Not enough pink!’
‘Not enough butterflies!’
You see where I’m going with this, Giambattista? Wayyyyy too much of a good (?) thing kills it all. The whole look was both literally and metaphorically speaking, "fishy" to begin with. Adding butterflies on top of that? Call me next season and we can chat about how to prevent this from happening again. No big whoop.
Armani Prive Fall 2012 Couture Beauty
I’m going to come right out and admit it: I adore the bejeweled veils the models wore at his show. (See photo above and photo at the beginning of this post.) Less you call me a hypocrite because I just lambasted Valli’s show for their fishnet-faced fantasy, let’s take a minute and really look carefully at Armani’s chic facial coverings. The netting itself is so fine; we do not see the big, exaggerated design, as was the case with Valli. Also, the veil does not detract from the model’s face- rather it gives it an air of mystery.
It’s drama! Something Alexis Carrington Colby would sport as she busts though the white double doors of a church in the middle of a wedding right after the minister says, “Speak now or forever hold your peace” and right before she huskily announces, “I object!”
As for the makeup, I actually like it. It’s a very modern take on the cateye we’ve seen so much of the past few years. However, the silver shadow with a hint of shine mixed with a more satiny gray makes what could be called a ‘been there done that’ look appear fresher and futuristic. Notice how the top of the cateye begins above the eyebrow. This is not a look for the faint of heart. You will turn heads in this but that will be because you are just that awesome. As is usually a good idea with a heavier eye, the lips remain pale and nude. I would have preferred a touch of balm on the model’s mouths because their lips look chapped. It sort of takes away from the ‘1940’s-high-society-lady-meets-Superman’s-home-planet-elegance’ the hair, eyes, veils and clothes provide; more of a distraction if anything.
Oh, and just so you know...the line for those hot velvet berets starts behind me.