Piercings, red eyeliner and '70s glam - just some of the makeup looks local designers paired with last month's Fashion Week collections. Forty MAC artists worked on 13 of the shows.
James Molloy and Amber D share extracts from their behind-the-scenes diaries.
DAY 1, SHOW 5: HAILWOOD - JAMES MOLLOY
When I heard the brief for the Hailwood show I couldn't help but smile... '40s meets '70s beauty, oh yes - in my makeup element!
I have a killer team backstage, kits are set up, products passed around and the lovely Ashley Rose sits in my seat for the demo. "Just think ridiculously beautiful," is my quote of the show as I work shimmery highlights over the skin.
My team huddles close to my station taking notes and asking questions, as this is the time to get the feel for the look.
It's a big hair and makeup moment. Danny Pato is pin-curling each girl's hair, prepping it for the full-on press and photographers arrive. I'm being interviewed, there are cameras everywhere and we're still only half-
way through the makeup! "Add more gloss and work the eyebrows" - I love to push my team to bring out the makeup magic in each model.
The MAC classic lip in Cork liner and clear lipglass is looking like vinyl on the lips. The models are called for rehearsal so we head to the runway to check the light, which really brings the look to life. The call for first looks goes out but we're one girl missing!
Cue a hectic 10-minute turnaround from dark glittery eye and wet-look hair to Hollywood goddess!
Five hair and makeup artists working on one girl - madness!
We're in the line-up, faces are powdered and glossed, hair is brushed out and the look comes together. "The makeup is off the chain," says Adrian Hailwood... good times :)
This is my favourite time of the show: the girls are feeling the look, the collection is stunning, the music starts, show time!
DAY 1, SHOW 6: ZAMBESI - AMBER D
We're all warmed up when the call time for Zambesi rolls around. By now the MAC team are up to show six for the day and I have already directed the makeup for Twenty-seven Names earlier this morning. It went without a hitch,
so I fear that the Zambesi show will be really crazy!
Working backstage and doing makeup for runway is definitely more challenging than it looks and takes a team of professional makeup artists to ensure it is flawless as each model walks out onto the catwalk.
For Zambesi we've thrown into the mix a mega-watt glossy red lip which could potentially be a nightmare when models get changed... but is way too amazing not to do!
Add to this the looming knowledge that backstage will be the show this year for Zambesi: they are pulling away the walls separating show guests from backstage, so everything that happens backstage will be revealed and seen by everyone!
We get all the models done on time and with a few tweaks the bold dimensional lip is completed - sans gloss - which my team and I run around applying once the models are dressed. I avoid looking at the crowd while I do final makeup checks in model line-up.
The show runs strangely calmly, helped by the fact that everyone is keeping cool and quiet as we are all on show. Perhaps we should always run backstage like this!
DAY 2, SHOWS 9 AND 10: TRELISE COOPER - AMBER D
The look for Trelise is intense: flawless suede-like skin and a deep matt lip with diffused edges. My team and I roll into the venue and start setting up. The Trelise show is always big: lots of models (about 30 today) and lots of makeup artists (14), plus a backstage manager and a nail team of five headed by Leah Light.
There are so many of us that we take up two of the backstage makeup areas.
I try to do a fast demo so we don't lose too much time. Then they are all off recreating the look. Trelise and I decided that we would use glued-on studs to look like piercings to give a bit of toughness to the glamour of the collection.
As Caitlin (my trusty team leader) and I begin applying the fake piercings to the models, they transform into the best-looking punk girls I have ever seen.
Never before have I seen so many models so excited about a look before - it definitely was selfie-inducing makeup and almost every single girl left the show with the makeup still on afterward which is not always a common occurrence. I imagine Instagram was loaded with beautiful pierced models that night.
Trelise's show is always epic and we psych ourselves up for it beforehand. More than 100 outfits equals a lot of makeup touch ups. We have a small break after the first show, freshen up the makeup, the we do it all over again for Trelise's second show of the night!
DAY 2, SHOW 11: STOLEN GIRLFRIENDS CLUB - JAMES MOLLOY
You just know when a show is held in a car park you're in for a good time! I arrive in the pouring rain and am reminded of home (the United Kingdom) when I see my team wheeling their kits in heels in the downpour and still looking hot!
Marc Moore, the designer, shouts a hello from across the car park and shows us the set. A 'Dark Magic' neon sign hangs above the runway, echoing the pagan punk inspiration. I head to the makeup room and start the demo.
It's a big look today, I tell my team as I bring out the red and blue MAC Pro Paint Stick which is blended around the eyes. This is not your average smokey eye! We add smoulder pencil to the inner and outer corners for more depth.
"She's a punk girl who dabbles with the dark arts," I say. I love how the team instantly get this - makeup isn't always about looking perfect and pretty.
Zara Mirkin, who's styling the show, lines up the girls for rehearsal. "I want the skin to look really sweaty and raw," she says, so we add gloss to the high points of the face.
Backstage is manic in a good way. I'm interviewed for a TV show about the makeup look which is being totally rocked by the gorgeous Eden from 62! Leah Light has created the coolest pierced and tattooed nails, while Greg Murrell is slicking the models' hair back, with mohawks for the guys.
The energy at Stolen is amazing - the right mix of excitement, nervousness and fun. The models are looking dark and tough, with the faux piercings in the lips bringing the look together. We pack in the stairwell ready for the show to start. It's noisy, cramped and dark - just how a good backstage should be!
There's a collective hush as the lights go up and the first model walks...
UK-born and now Hong Kong-based James Molloy is MAC's director of artistry for the Asia-Pacific region and recently directed Stella McCartney's first show in China. Auckland-born Amber D is the region's senior artist and is scheduled to work on more than 80 shows around the world this year.
- Sunday Star Times
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