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Mad For Manga At Cynthia Rowley Fall 2010 Fashion Show

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It’s the theatricality of fashion shows, the performance art element woven into each presentation, that always lures me in, enticing me to look closer — it’s what makes my eyes twinkle with excitement, and what stamps a show into my memory bank (or, in the case, of those more lackluster shows, allows them to ebb away into oblivion hours after the finale walk). The more conceptual the inspiration behind the fashions, and the more imaginative the twists imbued into each component (hair, makeup and nails), the more fascinating and robust the experience. Thus far, on the hair and makeup front, I’ve been most impressed with the Vena Cava and Cynthia Rowley shows — but, I have to say, the looks at the Cynthia Rowley Fall 2010 show, held on the afternoon of Friday, February 12th at Gotham Hall, simply floored me.

Since Rowley’s collection was heavily inspired by Japanese Manga art, the hair and makeup complemented this theme, helping to make each model look like a flirty doll that had come to life. Celebrity makeup artist Val Garland led the MAC team, creating the remarkably innovative and unique look. Eyes were the main focus here — a few members of the MAC team were hard at work in a “lash bar” of sorts, where they carefully took false lashes, mainly MAC 3 Lashes, straightened them using a TS-2 Detailer flat iron, and trimmed them according to Garland’s specifications. Each makeup artist applied two sets of these flattened lashes along the upper lash line, layering them atop one another so that they fanned out horizontally, adding a quirky, doll-like effect. To add dimension and drama, they applied MAC’s Penultimate Eye Liner in Rapidblack along the upper lash line prior to gluing the false lashes on, then added a bold streak at the outer corner of the eye, beneath the lower lash line, resembling the stroke of a  fountain pen. The MAC team relied on MAC’s Studio Sculpt Foundation to give models a dewy, glowing complexion, while lips were given just a slight stain with the MAC Pro Longwear lipstick in Til Tomorrow, a beige-ish hue which should hit stores in the fall.

The hair, too, added dimension to this magical Manga tale. Wella Professionals lead colorist Eva Scrivo and her team dyed human hair extensions in jewel tones like amethyst, turquoise, navy, emerald and ruby using Wella Professionals Koleston Perfect Special Mix so as to saturate the hair pieces with the desired colors. The models’ tresses were then styled by a team of experts led by Alain Pichon for the Antonio Prieto Salon. The look, a loose low ponytail,  involved a juxtaposition of colors but also of textures, with the models’ natural hair given loose curls, while the jewel tone-colored hair accessories were tightly crimped to add movement and a funky, messy feel. Pichon started out by prepping the hair with System Professional Volumagic to give the hair height and movement. He then used a curling iron on hair and worked the crimped hair extensions in using double-sided tape (which helps to not leave residue along the hair or scalp and to reduce any potential damage from glues and other adhesives). The hair was then brushed, with some System Professional Gloss-On added to give it a shiny finish, and tied into a loose ponytail. I love the unexpected vividness of the color and the interplay of hair textures — together with the makeup, they make for a look with a whimsical, irreverent, edgy street flavor.

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