“This casting is incredible,” said makeup artist Wendy Rowe backstage at Burberry today, gesturing to the room of “handsome girls and beautiful boys”—models Hayett B. McCarthy, Kiki Willems, Naki Depass and Ella King amongst them— tapped to walk the fashion house’s first co-ed catwalk. “It’s all about androgynous beauty.”
Indeed, with the sharp lines between the men’s and women’s collections blurring with each passing season, not to mention the fluidity of gender constructs in the cultural zeitgeist at large, it’s a sentiment that resonated with show regulars like Lineisy Montero. “I love this move towards individuality,” she said brightly. As for the range of skin tones and nationalities backstage, she added, “there are girls from so many backgrounds here and our differences are being celebrated.” Jay Wright, who has been spotted on runway from Proenza Schouler to Michael Kors Collection, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi and Christopher Kane agreed. “We all have our quirks and it’s great when they are appreciated. I’m a bit weird—I like that about me! They’re letting me keep my nose ring. It’s awesome!”
No stranger to gender-bending themes herself, the English novelist Virginia Woolf provided designer Christopher Bailey with literal inspiration for his collection by way of her forward-looking classic, Orlando. But backstage, where the house’s youthful rock n’roll cool reigned supreme, the message came through in the form of rumpled wind-blown waves, amorphous mop tops and 60s-inspired shags that had at least one editor meditating on a young Mick Jagger. Hairstylist Sam McKnight’s guide to recreating the undone texture? Finish your shampoo with a cold mineral water rinse, air dry and mist again with more H2O. It’s that easy.
A swipe of flesh-toned lipstick here and a swipe of cover-up there offered up a gender-irrelevant makeup equation, with Rowe crafting “satin textured” skin and rosebud mouths courtesy of the company’s Full Kisses crayon (in Nude Beige) or Liquid Lip Velvet wand (in Fawn Rose). The lip shades—which perfectly mimic a better-than-natural effect without actually looking like lipstick—are available to buy as part of the house’s limited-edition capsule collection. Available now at Burberry.com, they’re as universally appealing as it gets.
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