“We usually don’t augment each model’s personal aesthetic choices too much, but this is a really fun, temporary way of giving Camilla a mullet for the day,” designer Zoe Latta tells me of the look that interior designer Camilla Deterre has been blessed with backstage at Eckhaus Latta. Hairstylist Tamara McNaughtoncalls Deterre’s new trompe l’oeil look the “Bushwick mullet.”
Standing next to the endless supply of Aqua hair extensions draped over tables and chairs inside the East Village’s PS 064 school gym, Latta flips her own blonde ponytail forward to show a bleached rat tail extending over six inches beyond her actual length. It’s exactly the kind of “non-traditional” beauty (think paint-rolled glitter faces and hair seemingly styled with a “greasy hand”) that she and Mike Eckhaus have cultivated for their collections. “We’re trying to make clothes that are not necessarily more playful in the sense that they’re goofy, but that allow people to be more comfortable in their skin; not fussy, not crazy corseting or things that need to be steamed,” she says of this season’s collection filled with textural knits, draped mesh, and popcorn-puff stretchy fabrics. “It goes with the beauty—I think we’re trying to do that in our own lives. There’s a kind of contentedness, and happiness, in wearing these clothes and these beauty looks.”
This season, Latta likes the idea of skin care being an entire makeup look and shouts out casting director Rachel Chandler for delivering the “best cast yet” of new talent, familiar faces, and, of course, friends. The point isn’t to transform them; it’s to enhance their natural state, to have a little fun. Paloma Elsesser sits in artist Fara Homidi’s makeup chair as the first layers of crystal clear Freeman Beauty Infusion Peel-Off Mask are painted onto her skin. Soon, she’ll stroll with the models, like students on a field trip, up 5th street to the El Jardin Del Paraiso for the open-air runway with the mask still on—it is the look for a handful of the cool kids.
“When I talked about ‘hyperreal skin,’ they didn’t really know what that meant,” says Homidi of her initial discussions of doing something “a little bit freaky” with the designers. “I decided to bring a plastic glass face mask into the mix, and they went nuts over it. I am a huge fan of American Psycho, and there’s that scene where he puts the gel mask on and is talking about how he might have the warmth of a human being, but underneath the mask, he’s simply not there, and he peels it off—that’s always just been something that’s in my mind.” For others, skin was enhanced with Saie products (it’s the first season they’ve sponsored the show) like Hydrabeam concealer, Sun Melt bronzer and Lip Blur Soft-Matte Hydrating Lipstick in an earthy Nouveau shade.
When McNaughton created intentionally thin, ultra-long hair, she also had a film in mind. “You [often] see that glamorous long hair, which is so not the vibe,” she explains. “We wanted chicness done in this otherworldly, almost Lord of the Rings really skinny hair, but having that length and that weight to it.” Accordingly, McNaughton’s team was “taking hair away,” braiding it close to the scalp and then attaching the Aqua extensions like sheer curtains. Even while thickening products are booming, she’s always thought thin hair was cool. “You can see through it, and you can see the clothes—it’s more of a halo.”
Then, of course, there are rat tails and sideburns peppered in, and some will have their real look polished with a bit of Oribe Run-Through Detangling Primer, or roughed up with Gold Lust Dry Shampoo. “We always keep in mind who each person is,” says McNaughton of working with Eckhaus and Latta, who she refers to as “the two sweetest people in fashion,” to play up each model’s individuality rather than dial it down for the runway. “I don’t want to mess with anything that feels like them.”