Behind the scenes at London Fashion Week

MOST catwalk collections begin with an inspiration, whether it’s a specific muse, exotic destination or vague concept.

Behind the scenes at London Fashion Week

It’s an idea that carries all the way from the clothes right through to a specific shade of nail polish.

There are armies of hair, make-up, tan and talon teams lurking backstage to bring the designer’s vision to life on the models. See how the pre-catwalk magic happens with our exclusive backstage passes to four key London Fashion Week shows.


Temperley’s spring/summer 2014 collection was dipped in “heady, ethereal romance”, inspired by a Sicilian adventure. Designer Alice Temperley wanted her models to be both sexy and feminine, looking rich but effortless.

The Sunday Riley make-up stations backstage are surrounded by images of American model and actress Lauren Hutton from the mid-1970s.

“It’s not a retro look,” says make-up artist Lisa Eldridge. “I’m trying to recreate the spirit of Lauren Hutton with that wide-eyed beauty. It’s sexy but not cheap or overdone.”

A healthy glow is achieved by skipping foundation for primer and sculpting skin using cream concealer before blending in highlighter and blusher. Lips are a beautiful reddish-pink and brows are full and luscious.

Hair by L’Oreal Professionnel adds to the luxurious feel with a thick, swinging pony (achieved using extensions) and couture-style knotted braids either side, to add an element of cool.


Matthew Williamson’s girl for S/S14 is “full of energy, optimism and effortlessness”.

More retro references, and a ‘70s superwoman’ at that, with images of an old-school pouty Kim Basinger pasted to the walls backstage. Williamson requests that models’ hair is kept simple but glossy and glamorous.

“It’s as though she’s flown first class with a top knot, unravelled it, and it’s perfect,” says Mark Hampton from Toni&Guy.

A soft, voluminous blow-dry is created with baby-bend kinks towards the ends to make it look beautiful but ‘real’. A side parting signals a nod to ’70s starlets, while hair tucked behind the ears adds an air of nonchalance.

Lisa Eldridge for Benefit emphasises the jet-set-fabulous look with “stealth make-up” that involves blending endless base products — foundation, two concealer shades, highlighter — for a flawless but natural finish. A glossy lip, and lashings of eye-enhancing plum mascara, complete the expensive look.


There were multiple inspirations at House of Holland’s S/S14 show, dubbed ‘Homegirls’. The design house took a trip to balmy Mexico City with a detour to the tattoo parlours of LA’s Venice Beach and a cinematic stop at Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet for a touch of heady romance.

“This is tropical, hot skin with a street vibe,” says Lucia Pica, MAC make-up artist. To create a sultry feel, eyelids are brushed with balm for a glossy look, and eyeliner is elongated but drawn downwards slightly, for a “sleepy, sexy” effect.

St Tropez plays on the Mexico reference with a deep, coffee-toned glow dubbed the ‘Tropical Tan’.

“Neither too shiny nor too velvety, the emphasis is on a dewy, tropical finish that perfectly sets off the exotic colours of the collection,” says Nichola Joss, St.Tropez skin finishing expert.

Even hair looks exotic with a slick to dry style. Adam Reed, stylist for BaByliss Pro, uses a gel and shine-enhancing cream to create a slicked-back look at the roots that graduates to dry, textured waves.


There was “something ghostly” about Erdem’s S/S14. While the stark black and white clothes were ethereal and delicate using lace and sheer fabrics, Erdem wanted the overall look to be androgynous, playing on the idea of old English schoolboys.

“The look is quite masculine,” says James Kaliardos for NARS Cosmetics. “The eye make-up is slightly odd, with a strong brow, but complemented by really fresh skin.”

The eye is the main focus, with smoky contouring and extra shadowing, set with a dark grey heavy brow.

Hair echoes the boyish look with a very low side parting, pulled down in a curve across the forehead to reference a choirboy.

“It’s spooky hair,” says Anthony Turner, L’Oreal Professionnel stylist.

“There’s a constant play on boy/girl, girl/boy. The back is a messy twist in the way a schoolgirl might put her hair up with a pencil.”

Texture dust is used to create a fluffy look that floats down the catwalk with the sheer fabrics and feathers.

More in this section

Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply


The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up