Runway Vs. Real Girl: Bold Beauty Looks

When we're backstage at Fashion Week, one of the first questions we ask the hair and makeup pros is "Seriously though, is this really wearable for a real girl?" That's usually when the beauty expert will give the side-eye to a model — whose prepubescent face is invariably decked out in hot-pink eye makeup and a crazily teased bouffant — and start their answer off with a wary "Well..."
We know the looks are out there, but somehow when we see them in action on the runway, we can't help but think it might be something we want to try and recreate. It doesn't help that models, whose literal job it is to make crazy hair and makeup look good, always manage to convince us to drink the Kool-Aid and think that, why yes, we just might be able to pull off bleached brows and black lipstick.
We wanted to see what happened when you removed genetically gifted 15-year-olds from the equation — would the cray-cray hair and makeup still look covetable, or would it come across as just plain insane? So, we took two real girls and dolled them up in some of the most conceptual catwalk looks of the spring '13 shows — Marc Jacobs' artsy homage to Edie Sedgwick and Creatures of the Wind's hair net choker and metallic fuchsia eye sockets. Click through to see their haute couture transformations and tell us — can a real girl rock a runway look, or should we leave the abstract beauty expressionism to the catwalk experts?
Photos (left to right): Courtesy of MCV Photo, Bec Lorrimer
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The look at Marc Jacobs was of an updated Edie Sedgwick. That meant super-bold brows, graphic eyeliner accentuated by a crease line, colorless lips, and a teased bouffant. Not exactly your everyday office makeup.

Photo: MCV Photo
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Our model Hani, a 26-year-old assistant agent at The Wall Group, told us that she was unfailingly faithful to her usual makeup routine of concealer, blush, and eyeliner, but she was game to give this look a try.
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Since the focus of this look was on the eyes, NARS makeup stylist Niko Lopez was sure to pack plenty of shadows, as well as a few complexion perfectors to help complement this edgy, retro look.
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The key to this look is the graphic eye, which consists of light, neutral shadow (Lopez used the lighter side of the Portobello Duo Eyeshadow), followed by black smudgy liner topped off with dark shadow in the crease. To up the drama factor, dark liner is drawn along the lash line and winged slightly out past the end of the eye. Underneath the eye, he applied black powder shadow, starting at the middle of the lash line and extending out past the end of the eye. White liner on the inner waterline and a dab of shimmering shadow on the inner corners kept the eyes from looking too closed and dark.
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Since this is a '60s referenced look, of course the lashes needed to be mega-exaggerated. Lopez used two types of mascara, starting with a lengthening formula and then adding a coat of volumizing on top of that. This gave him both the separation and the thickness he was aiming for.
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To complete the look, Lopez amped up Hani's naturally full brows by using a powder that was one shade darker than her natural color, tracing a line slightly thicker than her brow line and filling it in. Lips got a coat of Floralies Satin Lip Pencil (new for spring 2013), and a dusting of powder to create a nude, flesh-toned pout.
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Bouffants of this height clearly do not come in a low-maintenance option. Noelle Chen of DopDop Salon, working with Kérastase, had an array of stylers to help her wrangle Haniya's hair into the towering style this look requires. "This look is a great nod to the retro-mod style," she says. "That low, deep side-part is so mod 'It' Girl and is a look that everyone can wear." We'll see about that...
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For this look, you need to build up a lot of volume at the base, so Chen applied plenty of Mousse Substantive and Lotion Densitive, concentrating on the roots. She then sectioned hair into two-inch pieces and began teasing at the root, spraying hair first with hair spray to make sure she got the most bang for her backcombing buck.
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So. Much. Teasing.
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When all was said and done, the look was actually not all that nutty. It could be that Hani's naturally thick brows helped her carry off the bold eye look better than most girls, but all in all, we think she looks pretty smashing. If you did want to tone this look down, Chen says to simply ease up on the backcombing, and it will tone down the height of the hair, but still give you that messy texture.

For the makeup, Lopez says it's all about softening the color and lines. "I would soften the crease by using a brown eyeshadow instead of black — Sophia Eyeshadow is a great alternate. Additionally, softening the eyebrow will make it a little less bold. You can achieve this by choosing a color closer to your natural and not extending the lines so much."
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Hani was surprised by how much she actually liked the look. "I tend to shy away from eyeshadow and dramatic eye makeup because it feels too done up and unnatural, so it was shocking and hard to digest initially. I love the '60s and the idea of winged eyeliner, so a watered-down version of the eye makeup would be nice. I would rock a less-teased version of the hair, too. And with Halloween around the corner, it's gotten me to start thinking about possibly being a '60s mod girl."

That said, Hani admitted she was a little uncomfortable with a full face of makeup on in the middle of the day. "I wiped off some of the eye makeup to tone it down, but I did head back to my office with the beehive ponytail and a little bit of the eye makeup. Fortunately, I work in the beauty industry, so my coworkers reacted well to my new look. They all recognized it from the Marc Jacobs spring '13 show." And, she picked up a new beauty trick in the process: "I've never used white eyeliner on the inner rims of my eyes before — it's amazing what a simple trick like that can do to make your eyes pop. "
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The description for this look given backstage was "monstrously beautiful." Well, mission accomplished — between the hair net headband/choker, the origami hair folding, and the call-the-CDC pink eye, there was just no way this look would work on a real girl, right?

Photo: MCV Photo
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Our beauty victim, err, model Christina Kolb, a 28-year-old account executive told us she usually doesn't experiment with her beauty look, preferring instead to wear her hair straight or slightly wavy and keeping her makeup pretty minimal. So, of course, we had to put her in the craziest catwalk look we could find. For purely observational reasons, of course.
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So much color — this look is not for the cosmetics shy.
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Once again, the focus of the look was on the eyes, but this time the influence was punk rock and monster movies (yeah, we scratched our heads at that one, too). Since fuchsia and red eye color isn't all that common, Lopez actually used lip products to get this look. He placed four dots of Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Damned on the base of the eyelid, then blended it out and sheered it down with concealer. He then traced the crease with the pencil and blended it with a brush so it covered the whole lid and into the browbone.
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A touch of metallic silver shadow on the inner corners and the lower lash line added a futuristic sheen and made the look a little softer and less stark.
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This hairstyle is described as a modern way to get a haircut, without cutting your hair. It involves a lot of precise folding and enough pins to set off an airport metal detector. "You take a long-haired girl and give her the option of wearing a fringe or even a bob." says Chen. "At the same time, there’s a very traditional element to it. The styling of the hair net is almost bonnet-like and very reminiscent of the Amish. It’s an amazing look for the girl that knows how to wear it."
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Chen started by straightening Kolb's hair so it was super smooth — this will help accentuate the preciseness of the lines and the folding. Before she ironed each section, she sprayed on Double Force Controle Ultime to give the hair the texture required for the look.
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Chen grabbed the top, center section of Kolb's hair and combed it back, then pinned it right where the head begins to curve down. She then flipped the section back onto itself so that the ends are on the forehead, creating a faux fringe. She then grabbed a section of hair on the left side of the hair and pulled it over the head and to the opposite side, pinning it in place so the ends went over the right hair. Chen then repeated this move on the opposite side, then sprayed with hairspray to secure the sections.
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Now here's where things get weird(er): Chen placed a hairnet over the back of the head, then secured the net by tying it underneath the chin, almost like a bonnet.
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A little edgier, but still looks kind of awesome, no? Clearly not for every girl, but as Chen said, it could be amazing for the girl who has the confidence and knows how to wear it. To tone down the hair, Chen says to simply ditch the hairnet and tuck the ends of the hair on either side behind the ear. You can also accent it with a necklace or headband. For the makeup, obviously putting lipstick on your lids isn't really that practical (that stuff will get everywhere), so Lopez says to use a cranberry shade, like the one in the Caravaggio Eyeshadow Duo, and just be sure to stop the color at the crease — don't extend it into the brow. You can use the silver the same, or keep it even more subtle and just do it in the inner corner of the eyes.
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"My first reaction to this was 'now that's a look," said Kolb. She said she would definitely wear a softer version of the hair and makeup, but told us she'd be staying far away from the hairnet, which was uncomfortable. "I like that this look was creative and experimental. I think the crimson eyeshadow goes beautifully with the silver pop," she said. "The bold makeup paired with the hairstyle definitely made me feel like a rock star (David Bowie!). I felt the piece-y, sharp look of the hairstyle definitely gave an androgynous, tough feel."

Kolb managed to draw quite a crowd at her photo shoot as people took to gawking. Explains Kolb, "I think people were, at first, drawn by the shoot — they wanted to know what was going on. And then when they saw me, I definitely noticed a few odd looks and double takes. I heard one person say to the person they were with, 'Only in New York.'" Indeed.