DIVA DOES… Backstage Beauty with Nathan Johnson for Leanne Marshall SS14

DIVA DOES… Backstage Beauty with Nathan Johnson for Leanne Marshall SS14

Beauty Look for Leanne Marshall SS14

My inner 80s child couldn’t contain herself when one by one, models for the Leanne Marshall SS14 show strutted down the runway with hot pink lips and a half-up side pony. I had to learn more about this beauty look that, while fresh and fun for now, also felt very nostalgic. In a Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, double-bunched-slouch-socks kind of way. 

I think I wore something similar even into the 90s, like…. every day of middle school.

Little did I know the inspiration dated wayyy back.  

I chatted with the show’s key makeup artist Nathan Johnson who revealed the references for the look, how to recreate it and also his thoughts on playing up a single feature, like this power pout.

Q: How did you decide on the makeup look for the show? As a 80s girl, I can very much appreciate a hot pink lip paired with a half-up side pony.

A: Besides being a designer that I have a tremendous respect for, Leanne is also my best friend. Because we are so close, I am able to see her collection from inspiration to completion. Being that involved in the process gives me a great understanding of the collection and what she wishes to say with it. In this case, Leanne was inspired by a mix of Marie Antoinette and My Fair Lady. These two inspirations capture Leanne’s voice as a designer; clothes that are ethereal and feminine but still have structure and architectural elements. The bold pink was a tribute to Marie Antoinette as I believe she would be today – with the hot pink on the lips, not the cheeks, while the clean skin, defined brow, slight cat liner and lashed eye was a nod to the learned elegance of My Fair Lady. I am also a product of the 80’s generation, so I love the chance to use those colors without swallowing the woman – like sometimes happened in the 80’s.

Q: What did you use to create that pink lip? LOVED.

A: Aveda is our hair and make up sponsor and has been for many years. I sent Janell Geason, the Global Artistic Director for Makeup, the face chart for the look and she custom blended the lip color just for us. Janell is a brilliant artist and I am fortunate to have her and the talented Aveda team to bring the looks to life every season.

Q: The skin finish was flawless. What did you use to prep skin and as a foundation?

A: Because we used no blush or bronzer, the skin was a central element of the look. The goal was a flawless complexion with a soft dewy glow and I believe that Aveda’s Inner Light foundations and concealers really made this a reality.

Q: Were the eyes a simple swipe of black liner plus lashes? 

A: It was a bit more complicated than that, but I am thrilled that is how it read. The base was a brightening matte shadow that was a 1/2 shade lighter than the models skin tone. From lid to crease, a soft shimmer was used. That shade was 1 shade lighter than the models tone. The desired effect was a makeup free lid that opened the eye area and  added further lift to the defined brow. The liner was a slight cat. It’s purpose was only to add depth and weight to the outer corner of the strip lash.

Q: Any special techniques or tricks for the makeup look?

A: The lip was rounded and and slightly overdrawn to give that “perfect mouth” look. 

Q: Are you of the firm belief that when really playing up a single feature – as in the hot pink lips – the rest of the face should be left polished but simple? Or does it depend on the mood, the collection, etc.?

A: I tend to be of that school of thought, but I sometimes find myself making exceptions to the rule. I may play up the eyes and lips, for example a smoky eye and a red lip, but I will never play up eyes, cheeks and lips – not yet at least! To me, this is overkill and always looks a bit clownish. When it comes to the runway, I tend to make my statement in a single place. Too much happening on the face will distract from the clothes. Makeup and fashion do run hand in hand, but I would not be doing my job if the looks I created distracted from the beautiful collection.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share with us?

A: This look was very different for Leanne and I. As an artist, I have always been very centered on the eyes (and that has always worked for Leanne). As soon as I saw her dominant color [hot pink], I knew it had to be the lips and she was right on board. Usually I draw up several looks for her and she decides, this time I felt so strongly about it, I only designed the one and it became the look for the show.

I also have to send out huge thanks to Janell Geason. Her amazing talent and attention to detail are untouchable.

Lead Makeup Artist Nathan Johnson

Beyond beauty, other highlights from Leanne Marshall SS14 included…

A parade of pink. 

A vision in lilac on a young Samantha Jones. (Carrie Diaries, anyone?!?) 

These bridal beauties. (Both dresses and models.)