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Backstage Beauty: Milly By Michelle Smith Fall 2014

Backstage Beauty: Milly By Michelle Smith Fall 2014

03.12.14

By James

Ballerinas float across the stage with what appears to be almost no effort. They’re graceful, poised and elegant—as is the beauty at Milly by Michelle Smith. The minimal yet chic hair design is made to look easy, as if the model has styled her own tresses. “She’s a ballet dancer who’s just come from a class and she’s had her hair up in a topknot. She’s taken it down, put it into a ponytail and taken a little piece of hair and twisted it around so that the band is covered, and then she’s off out into the town,” explains Wella Professionals lead hairstylist Christopher Dove. To create the simple, sophisticated and classic look, he first works Nioxin DiaMax into the roots of dampened locks and blow-dries them straight. Before creating a middle part, he applies Wella Professionals Oil Reflections for an added hint of shine. “It’s almost like she has a little moisture in her hair because she just finished dancing,” Dove shares. But it’s not too slick—if any stray frays come down, they are to be left as is. “We want it to really look like she’s done it herself. So for a hairdresser, that’s one of the most difficult things—making it look like someone’s done it herself!” he laughs. He next creates a low, soft ponytail at the nape of the neck, twists a piece of hair around the base multiple times and then mists Sebastian Professional Shaper to set it in place.

When it comes to the face, the first step to creating the off-duty ballet dancer look is skincare. A host of Arcona skin care items are used: Arcona Triad Pads work to cleanse, tone and hydrate while Arcona Instant Magic Reversal Serum rejuvenates the skin. “The makeup will go on effortlessly after. If you have good skin, you wear less makeup. I think when makeup artists have a really good canvas to work with it makes their job easier,” shares Arcona natural skincare expert Allison Marks.

Once set with skincare, Kevyn Aucoin Cosmetics for Beauty.com lead makeup artist Romy Soleimani begins to craft the soft yet edgy makeup look. She creates hazy lines on the top and bottom of the eyes using navy-blue Kevyn Aucoin The Eyeshadow Duo in #206 (Taupe Shimmer/Blackened Blue Shimmer). “It’s a little more interesting than black, grey or brown. And there’s a lot of navy in the collection,” she shares. “It just really gives a beautiful, soft finish and it flatters everyone.” She accentuates the eyes by curling lashes and applying Kevyn Aucoin Essential Mascara in Rich Black, making them beyond feathery. Soleimani keeps both the lips and cheeks subtle using Kevyn Aucoin Essential Lip Plumper in Sheer Petal (available in the fall) and Kevyn Aucoin The Creamy Glow in Pravella. “[The look] is very soft, beautiful and ballerina-like, but also it’s just a little bit off. The eye anchors a lot of softness in the collection—but there’s a little bit of a twist because it’s navy,” she shares.


For the nails, Essie lead manicurist Michelle Saunders wanted an exact color match. “There is this color in the collection, so we matched and matched and matched until we found the right layering effect,” she shares. She applies to both fingers and toes one coat of beigy-taupe Essie in Cocktails & Coconuts and tops it with Essie in Mademoiselle for an added touch of femininity. “It really reminds me a lot of a tulle skirt or a satin bow,” she says. And a little extra attention is being paid to the models’ feet as it is nearing the end of Fashion Week. The secret source hidden in Saunders’ kit to alleviate blisters the models have accrued over the week: Neosporin.  “Usually by their fifth show their feet are in such poor shape! So we’re really making sure we’re taking care of those ballerina feet,” she shares. “It’s like we are working on ballerinas except they are strutting down the runway!” –Molly Church

[Images courtesy of Wella, Zoya and Molly Church]

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