Balenciaga Couture: The straight eyeliner was a special highlight of the show. We'll show you how to style it.
The return of FOMO ("Fear Of Missing Out") has been the subject of much discussion since restaurants - and borders too - reopened and the lucky ones among us begin to resume their once flourishing (and undoubtedly overloaded) social and professional commitments, in a world that is slowly returning to a form of pre-pandemic normalcy. This week's haute couture shows, many of which are in attendance, already offered the greatest FOMO opportunity after the lockdown for fashion lovers: inside. And there was perhaps no more important moment we could have missed than Demna Gvasalia's couture debut for Balenciaga. Those lucky enough to be there reported audible sighs of relief as Gvasalia developed his sensitivity for the street with what Sarah Mower of VOGUE described as "confidence, size, and lightness," and the brand in for the first time the couture calendar has returned since Cristóbal Balenciaga closed his house 53 years ago. What was particularly impressive was that the collection, with its mix of structured cuts, voluminous dresses, and extravagant embroidery, was a nod to the past while at the same time paying respect to the modern aesthetic that Gvasalia has brought in entire armies of millennial fans. Hair and makeup at Balenciaga Couture followed a similar pattern, spicing up classic techniques with idiosyncratic details.
"It felt like a movement that was just always there," says makeup artist Inge Grognard of the targeted, gender-neutral black eyeliner strokes she used on some of the male and female models. The allusion to the more well-known couture make-up - the thin, black cat eyes that were a fixture in the Parisian salons of the 50s and 60s - has not escaped Grognard, who cleverly managed to avoid anything that was too retro looked. "It had to be a modern version," she says of the graphic statement, a combination of Kiko's gel eyeliner with a glossy layer of Maybelline liquid eyeliner on top. Grognard estimates that she tried 30 different eyeliners before coming up with this particular combination that was applied to otherwise almost untreated skin - no blush, no mascara, no made-up brows. Hairstylist Holli Smith's sleek, individualized hair looks underscored Gvasalia's rejection of standardized forms of beauty. "'Wet' was the keyword for a lot of the looks," says Smith, who used the classic French pomade to create an eye-catching shine without gelling the hair too hard. Smith's razor-sharp looks with angled ends, the occasional texture detail, and even a couple of nifty chignons provided a similar update on more familiar couture styles while also forming the perfect base for a range of Philip Treacy hats.
Both Grognard and Smith confirmed the collective suspicion that ran through those of us who viewed Balenciaga Couture's catwalk photos online: that the show was really something to see with your own eyes. "There was a lot of emotion," says Grognard of the mood today at 10 Avenue Georges V, which has been remodeled to resemble Cristóbal's original studio and where, according to Smith, work began at 5 am. "It is very special to be a part of it."