Marc Jacobs Just Turned Pastel Dye Jobs—and Sky-High Bouffants—into a Major Runway Moment
"Literally, I'm just taking my gloves off from coloring," Josh Wood said backstage at the Park Avenue Armory, mere hours before the Marc Jacobs show. Since landing in New York on Sunday afternoon, the London-based colorist has been on a marathon mission: dyeing three dozen models' hair in a fantasy rainbow of inky violets, Irish setter reds, and—best of all—beguilingly nuanced shades of cotton candy. But don't mistake this powder-perfect palette for sweet. "Marc didn't want a fairground pastel," Wood said of the fine-tuned discussions with the famously exacting designer. Instead, "we were actually trying to make the colors look like they had history to them.”
That kind of sublime sophistication isn't conjured out of thin air in a Marc Jacobs world. Precision is always a given, in this case achieved with the aid of Hitchcock-era references and fabric swatches pinched from the collection's dreamy swing coats, tuxedo pants, and ruffled Pierrot-necked toppers. If coordinated lips and tips ruled the beauty game in the 1950s heyday of Revlon's Cherries in the Snow, here the matchy-matchy mandate was clothes and coiffures—in this case, a trio of retro-futurist hairstyles dreamed up by Guido Palau.
"It's a very exaggerated, extravagant fashion look," the hairstylist said of the first iteration: a '60s-inspired ponytail that floated above models' heads like an aerodynamic Zeppelin. "How do you do this at home? You don't," he added with a laugh. The extreme height was borne out of a multi-layered, multi-handed process, involving a volume-maximizing blowout with Redken's Guts 10 mousse, an unsparing amount of backcombing, and finally hidden padding to achieve a silhouette worthy of Lee Radziwill or Queen Nefertiti. A twirled ponytail lent a kicky finish.
The second look—an egg-shaped graduated bob seen on a handful of models—called for Palau's legendary shears. It was another homage to an era of fresh-from-the-salon women (among them, the Marc Jacobs muse Barbra Streisand) who found poise and polish by way of professionally dispensed hairspray. Palau strategically avoided the helmet-head finish, opting for Redken's Fashion Work 12 to create a cloud of hair that felt malleable and light—"what you call soigné." On the flip side of the stylistic spectrum, he also doled out a few bracing buzz cuts that—tinted silver green and salmon pink and paper white—had an unexpected levity.
The final breath of cool: easy washes of color-coordinated pastel shadow that makeup artist Diane Kendal swept across models' lids after dipping into a full-spectrum assortment of tiny sample pots (forthcoming shades of Marc Jacobs O!mega Gel Powder Eyeshadow).
Surveying the scene—the Easter egg bouffants, the sherbet eyes, the pretty-in-pink coats—there was something cinematically daring about it all, not to mention dreamily optimistic. If risk, after all, begets this kind of reward, we're in for a very bright future.
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