Blog Interviews

Backstage Diaries – Behind the Scenes at Fashion Week

The next edition of Lakmé Fashion Week is now just a month away, and we can hardly contain our excitement! As lovely as the fashion shows are, there is a lot that goes behind the scenes to make fashion them a success. Aparna Ayyar spoke with Natasha Nischol and Virginia Holmes, co-owners and co-founders of Fat Mu, to give you a sneak peek at the organised chaos that finally lead to a memorable ramp show at the Winter/Festive 2016 edition of Lakmé Fashion Week!
 
Another season, and another fashion week comes to an end. As is the case with every year, there are new beauty trends and shocking new techniques. A lot of work goes into making the gorgeous demi-goddesses on the ramp look even more glamorous. From cascading tresses to dark pouts, backstage is where it’s all happening.

This season, renowned make-up artists Natasha Nischol and Virginia Holmes along with their team at Fat Mu created various make-up looks for some of India’s leading designers participating in the Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2016 such as Tarun Tahiliani, Ritu Kumar, Shivan & Narresh, Quikbox, Suhani Pittie and Kunal Rawal and they had a lot to share about the behind-the-scenes action.

Conceptualising
The process of conceptualising or creating make-up looks starts much before the show. The briefs about the kind of looks designers want are sometimes very broad in scope and sometimes very specific.

The process is individual to every designer. They say, “Some are very focused on what they want while some like to give us the creative freedom and with some it’s a collaborative creative process.”

For someone completely new to the world of fashion and beauty, the whole process of creating a look from start to finish seems like a complex art form. When quizzed about the process, they revealed, “Once the design is locked in, there usually is a mood board and demo to demonstrate the look to the team, which is then executed on the models. There are specific products used for each show that are brought out for the artists to use.”

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Production Team
Backstage begins hours before the actual show does. The production team arrives at least three to four hours before the show. The team works like a well-oiled machine with everyone having specific tasks and assigned time to do them. “Everyone knows their job and just what to do to get it going smoothly and in time… so organisation and set up is very important to roll out the shows on time,” say the beauty experts.

Some elaborate looks typically take longer to create. Artists sometimes work hard and spend hours on putting together a look. According to them, “It depends really on which look takes long. Last season, it was the ‘raw mango’ look that took time to evolve into a final design and then to create on the day. We had assembly lines going on for eyebrow blocking, bases, airbrushing, lashes, lips, nails etc. The theme was a suggestion of apes but in a fashion context and so it was quite an elaborate look to create even though the end result looked great but not too complicated…it was a time and labour-intensive process to have it look just right.” Being runway-ready is no joke. Even the most minimal and simple make-up needs to be done with care and the right level of preciseness to even out the skin and make it look flawless and runway-ready.

Media Frenzy
Once the production team is done, “looks” are opened to the press. There’s journalists, beauty editors, bloggers, vloggers and social media. In minutes, the pictures are posted online and they have been reposted and the cycle starts. “It’s all very amusing. Looks are usually opened to media backstage between models getting ready and also when getting their final costumes and final make-up and hair checks,” they say.

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This Season’s Trends
The most definitive trend at this edition of Lakmé Fashion Week according to both the beauty experts is the glitter lip that they created for the Tarun Tahliani show. The lip was the focal point and was created using a deep wine lip colour and an unexpected smidgen of glitter all over, inspired by the Pat Mcgrath glitter lips.

The artists swear by the Mac lip pencil in Vino, Mac lipstick in Hang-up and Topshop glitter to create the looks.
To get the look, use the Vino lip pencil to line the lip and fill it to create a base. Then, using a flat lip brush, load it with the creamy MAC Hang-up lipstick and put it on evenly all over. Then, very lightly place the lip glitter on the lip with your finger to complete your look.

Contrary to popular belief, there were no excessively stressed out PR people shouting backstage. There’s so much happening at any given point in time that it’s difficult to keep up. Natasha and Virginia insist that backstage isn’t all work and no fun. “We all are on a roller coaster ride. It’s about the highs and lows. It’s fun but can be stressful. Models may look glam but they work very hard. They stay up rehearsing till 3 a.m sometimes and then have a call time of 8 a.m. It’s hard work and the girls are sleep deprived and yet need to look beautiful. They’re troopers!” said the duo.
 
All images: © Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2016 and Fat Mu