“It’s very Valentino,” Guido Palau said matter-of-factly when describing the beauty look Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli ordered up for their Fall Couture show—a look, it should be noted, that maintains a certain degree of consistency from season to season. Rather than reinvent the wheel, Palau is typically tasked with coming up with “a new way to do something similar,” which more often than not involves a braid. Today, those plaits came via a thin, interwoven headband pinned across the head and behind the ears over a precise middle part that cascaded into two tight twists that were joined at the back of the neck using just a few spritzes of Redken Forceful 23 Super Strength Finishing Spray for a light hold. “It’s very important to get a beautiful head shape for the profile,” Palau expressed to his team as he walked the aisles backstage at the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild.
When done just right, leaving the forehead “big” and the silhouette round, the hair provided the perfect window into the velvety matte, rose-kissed “Renaissance” skin that Pat McGrath has made her signature here. “We’re perfecting a very natural beauty,” she explained, pointing out that the shimmering beige tones that she swept across lids, the single swipe of brown mascara just at the root of lashes “for framing,” and the creamy blush that she applied to both cheeks and lips was an attempt at re-creating the fresh young complexion of Maartje Verhoef, the Dutch stunner who did the makeup test and who left a lasting impression on McGrath. (Models’ high-gloss, black-cherry manicures just happened to work well with the collection.) When asked if there was a different sensibility infused into her Couture versus ready-to-wear work for the Italian design duo, the makeup artist replied, “Not really. It’s actually less makeup than we would do for ready-to-wear”—and no less beautiful for it.