Backstage Beauty: Christian Siriano Embraces Russian Winter

It seemed particularly appropriate that as New York City was blanketed by snow (and shoe-ruining slush), the makeup notes for Christian Siriano’s Fall 2013 show cited “the coldness of Russia” as inspiration.

So far with makeup trends this week, the eyes have it; see: Rag & Bone’s floating liner, Jason Wu’s cobalt lids. Similarly on the Siriano team, M.A.C. artist Polly Osmond went for a flawless face and inky, carbon-rimmed eyes. “The clothes are heavy, brocade, black and gold, so I imagined a very strong, cold Russian woman,” she explained. Thin black liner on the waterline met with carbon eyeshadow for an all-around heavy matte lid, inky and feathered on the outside corners and softly diffused inwards. The result was less raccoon, more smouldering Czarina. To balance, lips were a mauve-y nude, with a bare, flawless face. “The skin is as good as it can look—I’m not going light on the foundation,” laughed Osmond.

The hair was styled by Antoinette Beenders at Aveda, who has worked with Siriano for eight seasons. “Christian wanted a Heidi braid,” she joked, “But I wouldn’t let him have it. I said, ‘We can do better than that!’” And better it was. Beenders envisioned “a girl who is going to the ballet, very opulent and wealthy,” and crafted two integrated fishtail braids, “macraméd” from a severe middle part and crossed in the back. It looked (and sounds) extremely complicated, but she explained it could easily be done at home. Skip the braiding from the crown—Beenders had an assistant to do that, making it a four-hand braid process—and make two ponytails behind the ear. Then, just fishtail from there, secure with clear rubber bands, fluff and scrunch the braid for body, and pin up. “I’m sure there are a million demos on YouTube,” she added when we looked wary. “And it’s totally wearble too.” On that, we had to agree, as did the models — more than one mentioned they’d be wearing it out (or at least until their next show).

To recreate the look, all you’ll need is a thickening spray — Beenders used Aveda’s Pure Abundance Style Prep, which gives thickness and body to thinner hair (and adds that “dirty” texture that holds braids so well). Work it into damp hair, blow straight, and braid away. For the face, prime with foundation and highlight your cheekbones, then line and shadow the eyes: Osmond used M.A.C’s crème liner and carbon matte eyeshadow.

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