BACKSTAGE BEAUTY EXCLUSIVE! Nathan Johnson for Leanne Marshall Fall 2014

BACKSTAGE BEAUTY EXCLUSIVE! Nathan Johnson for Leanne Marshall Fall 2014

I know I LOVE a makeup look at fashion week when there’s no way I’ll wait til the next season to recreate it. This killer cat-eye from Leanne Marshall Fall 2014 was one I’m already envisioning the right outfit and event to debut. Good thing I got the backstage beauty scoop from the show’s Makeup Designer (and brand President) Nathan Johnson, who dished on what inspired the look and how to recreate it with ease. Yes – ease!!! Don’t worry, he’s got tricks!!

LC: What was your inspiration for the beauty look? 

NJ: Leanne’s collection was soft and ethereal, so we wanted to add some drama to the eye. Because she used so many couture techniques with this collection – the hand beading, the hand applied and hand distressed pieces, etcetera – we thought a multilayered eye that brought in touches of timelessness from many different eras would make a very modern statement. We mixed some 20’s, 30’s, the 60’s black eye and the classic cat all together and extended it into an overly dramatic black eye with pink accents and a soft brow highlight.

LC: Leanne’s fall collection was super feminine and romantic, from the fabrics to the cuts to the colors. How did the strong makeup look complement the line and the overall intended spirit of the collection?

NJ: The make up was an externalization of the strength that hides behind elegant femininity. Women are strong, beautiful creatures and this look put some of that strength and confidence right on the face. The collection was so airy, we wanted to add the darker edge where we could.

LC: What products were used to create the look? 

NJ: For many years, we have been lucky to have Aveda as our official hair and make-up sponsor. I create the look, then I hand it over to Janell Geason, the Global Artistic Director for Make Up. I am very protective of my work, it’s a baby to me. There is no one I would trust more than Janell and her amazing team to turn it into a reality. The entire face was created using the Aveda line. 

LC: The dramatic cat-eye was GORGE but something women may feel intimidated to try themselves. Any pro tips or tricks you could share for the woman who would like to recreate this eye? 

NJ: As it is, this is a very dramatic makeup that might be more than many would want to wear on a regular day. For those that do, it’s all about the sharp cat eye and the  blending. For the perfect cat eye, an old credit card will be your best friend. Place the edge at the corner of your eye and in one swipe, you have the perfect, razor-sharp cat! If you make a mistake, it’s only makeup, use a cotton swab to clean it up, or just wipe it away and try it again. A few times with the business card and you’ll find that you can do it on your own.

The lid is all about black. Using the eco-friendly and vegan Aveda Eve contour brush, sweep it above the crease and blend it into a soft highlight under the brow bone. At the inner and outer corner, and under the black that lines the lower lash line, add a touch of well-blended pink to bring romance, color and lightness to the very dark eye. Peony Blush Petal Essence Eye Shadow by Aveda is the perfect way to add that pink accent to the eye. When blended with the black, it takes on a purple feel. 

If you want to make this an everyday look, soften the cat eye, sweep black over the center of the lid and apply the pink to the inner and outer corner.

[As for the rest of the face], the skin was left clean and fresh. Just enough coverage so it looks perfect but not made up. The blush was used only on the top of the cheekbone and a soft contour was placed below. The lips were individual to each model. The goal was to pop up each ones natural lip color.

LC. Who would best wear this makeup look – or do you feel it’s universal?

As you saw on the models, the look can be worn on all different eye types and skin colors. It is a dramatic eye, so it is best for the woman who doesn’t mind catching the attention of everyone who sees her, the same sort of way a woman with a true red lip catches everyone’s eye. 

LC. Anything else you’d like to share with us?  

Make up is about expression. The look for Leanne Marshall Fall 2014 could easily be translated into a wearable look for any woman. Who doesn’t want to show the strong side of their femininity?

Could not agree more!! Strength and femininity are on the same side of the coin in my opinion.


Lauren Cosenza - Beauty Expert and Makeup Artist Lauren Cosenza is the creator and editor-in-chief of DIVAlicious, a trusted beauty/fashion expert, an on-camera personality and spokesperson, a leading NYC-based professional makeup artist, a published contributor and writer, a brand consultant, a product junkie and an insatiable style seeker.

 Serving up style with a side of attitude, DIVAlicious gives women (and men) the confidence and permission to be fabulous. The site is filled with must-have products, pro tips and tricks, how-to DIY tutorials, makeovers, style inspiration and insider access.