There are few things as tedious as reading scores of articles on beauty trends – but, equally, as few things as strangely bewitching as the lipsticks of S/S16. Thus, rather than proclaiming that we all ought rush out to buy a particular red hue or glossy sheen, here we explore how the greatest cosmetic decisions of the season related to the collections themselves; from the Midas-touched mouths at Prada to the sooty angel-kisses at Comme des Garçons...
Miu Miu S/S16
For S/S16, Miuccia Prada – ever the advocate for sartorial subversion – managed to turn pretty pastel negligees and tiaras into something somewhat sinister, interspersing gently flowing silken fabrications with garments more stiffly artificial. Masculine, oversized coats slightly swamped the petite frames of models, who stomped down the runway in glittery platforms to an angry soundtrack of Killing Joke. Mrs Prada proclaimed the collection an armour against the brand of conservatism sweeping the globe of late – and this protest against convention permeated the makeup of the girls, whose poisoned lips, painted in a dark blue and purple ombre, made their impact more punk than prom queen. "Miuccia Prada encourages rebellion as a state of mind" Olivier Rizzo told Jo-Ann Furniss after the Prada show – and here, that state of mind translated to a purple lip.
Comme des Garçons S/S16
"The first thing I tried for the lips was red" explained Julien d'Ys, the man behind the hair and makeup at Comme des Garçons. "But it looked almost too beautiful, too perfect. The girl ended up looking like some glamorous old picture of Grace Coddington! So I tried the black, but I just put my fingers in the colour and then did a little ‘angel kiss’ with my fingertips onto their mouths." This approach made for a surprisingly beautiful impact, lending a softness to the women Rei Kawakubo determined "witches" (although, Kawakubo's witches were supposedly rather more benevolent than the term commonly connates). "I didn’t want to make them ugly," continued d'Ys. "You know, sometimes Rei likes the word ugly, she’s punk, she’s funny. But sometimes it’s good to make the girls beautiful."
"Both strangely familiar yet strangely strange" is how Jo-Ann Furniss aptly described Prada S/S16, where patterns of the past were transformed into something unmistakably modern. A golden lip evocative of Tutenkhamun became fantastically contemporary when teamed with Guido's era-blending hairstyles (his short fringes and kiss-curl sideburns somehow evoked both the twenties and the seventies), and plenty of Mrs Prada-appropriate suits. Olivier Rizzo explained that "Miuccia’s life is an eccentric clash of culture and knowledge," and her combination of an ancient lip with a mid-century plaid, a twenties lattice with an art deco bauble earring made for a collection that, rather than languishing in the past, laid a path for the future.
There are few people as powerfully chic as the Céline woman, who time after time manages to surpass expectations with her ease of elegance. For S/S16, Phoebe Philo invited her guests into a tent to present this season's sense of undone glamour, explaining backstage that “I liked the idea of clothes that you could pack up and go somewhere with, a bit like this tent - you can pack it up and go.” Girls wore delicate slips with packing creases carefully pressed in, and dresses designed to be thrown on efforlessly – but, presented alongside the perfect matte red lip, the everyday was elevated to the aspirational.
Ed Marler S/S16
Theatrically directed by the world-renowned Theo Adams Company, young London designer Ed Marler held his presentation amidst the backstreets of Soho, where he staged a post-apocalyptic fantasy littered with broken Gina stilletoes and dead roses. His Westwood-inspired tailoring was met the punk attitude of the Sex era, but modernised with a Kardashian-age contoured lip (courtesy of makeup artist Daniel Sallstrom), widening the mouths of the models into almost menacing grimaces. There was a distinct edge to the beauty of his dystopia: girls stood around smoking cigarettes in their immaculately constructed looks: a delinquent teenage attitude evocative of the dishevelled deconstruction of the clothes themselves.