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Kicking Off Chicago Fashion Week Backstage with M.A.C. Cosmetics

I had the pleasure this past week of meeting up with representatives of M.A.C. Cosmetics and watching M.A.C. senior makeup artist, Konstantine Mironychev in action before the GEN ART Fresh Faces in Fashion show, a show held the evening before the start of Chicago Fashion Week.

MAC Cosmetics Artists at Work

Held in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago, the show highlighted emerging area designers. For the makeup, Konstantine developed two looks–A Modern 70’s era inspired look, and a smoky eye look. Salon Blonde provided the hair services.

First off, backstage at a fashion show tent is a cramped experience. If you thought such a thing would be high glamor and luxury, think again. Instead, there are numerous models, makeup artists and hair stylists working at once in a rather small area. Nails were being done in the center, and everything was moving at a pretty good pace. It was also a rather warm day, so the tent was a bit on the warm side for the artists and the models.

Konstantine applying makeup at the Chicago Gen Art show

To get the makeup started, Konstantine performed a demonstration of each look for his assistants, who would later duplicate the looks with each overseen and checked by Konstantine. The assistants were all Chicago based, and well trained. Konstantine told me that he is a rather strict trainer, with high standards, but also happy to witness his artists succeed. As a result each artist in Chicago represented a high level of expertise and quality.

Konstantine described his 70’s era inspired look as a modern version of Debra Harry. Red lips and 70’s eyes and brows, but modernized–no blush or foundation. He began with an application of concealer only where needed and used M.A.C. Mineralize Skinfinish for contour. The eyes were done in brown with large amounts of mascara, and the brows were brushed upwards. The look was finished off with a gorgeous red lip.

Above: Konstantine demonstrates the 70’s inspired look. Below: The finished look:

M.A.C. Gen Art Chicago 70’s Inspired LookThe focus of the second look was a smoky, sultry, multi-textured eye. For this look, Konstantine began with a base of one of my favorite products, a painterly paint pot, in a light brown shade. From there, he created a dark brown corner and applied a silvery black from the smoke signals collection around the lash line. The inside rim of the eyelids were lined. The eye was finished off with a bit of mascara. There was no blush and the look included a nude lip using a shade from an upcoming collection. This look was all about the eye! It was gorgeous, and unfortunately doesn’t really show as well as I would like in my photo (below).M.A.C. Gen Art Chicago Fashion Week Smoky Eye LookTalking with Konstantine and Heather Park, M.A.C.’s Manager of Global Communications, I learned that M.A.C. utilizes items from upcoming collections for shows well ahead of release. This allows the company to use input from the artists and re-blend or reformulate products as needed. At the Gen Art show, the artists had available lip products from a future collection.

When asked about upcoming trends, Konstantine stated that the modern 70’s inspired look continues to be in style. When he was in New York and other areas this fall, he observed that gold or silver also remained popular with metallic “eye bling” seen as an accessory at many shows.

I asked about regional trends, curious if anything is done differently for a Midwestern show. Konstantine explained that nothing is particularly changed regionally. Trends develop from across various shows, resulting from the communications among the makeup artists and the designers. Each designer takes what he or she likes from various traits for their collection. Thus, the current looks are not particularly regionally based.

I also got a sneak peak at some of the items from M.A.C.’s upcoming holiday collections, including some gorgeous mineralize eyeshadows, a deep red shimmery lipglass that makes me want to try to break out of my fear of dark colors, and an interesting nail polish set consisting of a white polish, and if I understood correctly, a gold polish that will crackle when applied on top of it. I have them and will give them a try soon. So stay tuned!

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