As a blanket of snow fell upon Bryant Park just outside, the Ulla Johnson runway supplied showgoers with a soothing respite at the New York Public Library. Inside the grand marble lobby, the winding runway was punctuated by towers of mimosas and dotted with abstract wood sculptures by Alma Allen, while the soulful sounds of singer PawPaw Rod and smokey aroma of Astier de Villatte incense wafted through the air.
Above this season’s slouchy mohair pullovers, psychedelic-print taffeta dresses, and lush cocoon coats, there was a feast of beauty details supplying Johnson’s signature bohemian romance with an unexpected edge. Hairstylist Bob Recine crafted a lineup of chic styles including sleek, fabric-wrapped low ponytails; choppy, asymmetrical bobs; and waist-grazing braids embellished with polished stone charms. Playing off the collection’s neutrals, nails were painted in Tenoverten’s Canal, a creamy nude in total harmony with Johnson’s warm, earthy world.
The most dramatic statement came by way of the eyes, with make-up artist Romy Soleimani administering sharp, graphic cat-eyes flicks characterised by a tiny dash of negative space along the lower lash line. “It’s a bit tough,” she explained while etching on the shape using Bobbi Brown’s carbon black Ink Liner Pen. “Everything Ulla does is soft and romantic, so I like to add a little bit of hardness.” But for some models, that was just the beginning.
“Monet-like, Impressionistic,” is how Soleimani described the soft-focus, two-tone “watercolour-y” treatments she proceeded to bestow on a few select gazes. She began by haphazardly tapping on a matte, pale greige pigment with a blending brush, before layering on finger-smudged swipes of metallic gold along the inner corners and brow bone. “I wanted them to feel not too colourful, not too earthy – more minimal and futuristic,” she said. The face was finished with fresh, healthy skin enhanced with a “high flush” on the upper cheekbones, blended with Luxe Matte Lipstick in pink-coral Bitten Peach and Crushed Lip Colour in cool pink Buff, each tying back to tones in the collection, and a dab of Extra Repair Eye Cream Intense on temples for a “natural sheen.”
While the prospect of painting on Impressionist-inspired eye make-up sounds intimidating, making like Monet is closer to child’s play than you think, stresses Soleimani. “It’s spontaneous,” she says, “like finger painting.” And just like that…this editor already has plans to embellish her next cat-eye with a dose of off-kilter colour and a gilded brow bone highlight.