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Backstage with designer Gilles Mendel

Designer Gilles Mendel backstage at his J. Mendel

Designer Gilles Mendel backstage at his J. Mendel runway show in New York City. (Sept. 14, 2011) Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero

Gilles Mendel, designer of J. Mendel, was bursting with excitement backstage before his New York Fashion Week show Wednesday morning.

"This is the most amazing cast of girls I've ever had," Mendel said, smiling, as the makeup and hair crews rushed around backstage to give the models just the right look to complement his Spring 2012 line. "The hair is strong, like the clothes," he added.

The beauty routine was centered around the hair, which Tigi's lead artist, Paul Hanlon, described as "street girl – hard, grungy and disheveled. Kind of Kate Moss. . . . [Mendel's] clothes have such a nice, clean look about them," he explained. "Nice hair would make the whole look too normal. I wanted to make it a little more dangerous."

Sea-salt spray and loads of hairspray were the two key ingredients, Hanlon said, as he swept hair over one eye and tucked it behind the opposite ear. With just one eye to work with, Revlon's global artistic director Gucci Westman kept it simple but added a futuristic touch.

She went with nude lips, but combined creams and powders for textured skin with metallic accents mixed with browns and a touch of yellow on the eyelids. The result? "They look like that cool girl who just woke up and put this great outfit together," Mendel said. "A sort of modern baroque Dorothy Draper."




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