EXCLUSIVE: Y-3 Womenswear A/W12

Make-up artist Pat McGrath and hair stylist Eugene Souleiman on Y-3's traveller-inspired beauty

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Pat McGrath and Eugene Souleiman are two of the most inspirational and respected artists in their fields. They've both been defining beauty looks on countless runways for years, translating the essence of numerous collections into the more abstract worlds of hair and make-up.

We were told that the girls would look as if they'd just been on a journey... we thought if you went on a long journey you'd probably come back a little bit wiser

This season finds them elaborating on a world-weary traveller's look for Y-3, the fresh but storied face of someone who's been to the top of the mountain and back down again to tell all about it. We caught up with them backstage before Yohji Yamamoto's show to discuss their process, plans and inspirations...

Dazed Digital: What's the look for the show?
Pat McGrath:
We're doing just a little blushy colour around the eyes and a bit of brown around the eyes as well. It's just to make the girls look a bit more moody.

DD: What were your references for this collection?
Pat McGrath:
When we were briefed we were told that the girls would look as if they'd just been on a journey. We were at first thinking that the girls needed no make-up, and then we thought if you went on a long journey you'd probably come back a little bit wiser. We were going to do a little blush to make them look more innocent but then thought no, let's make the eyes look a bit more interesting. So we added a terracotta blush and cream around the eyes and a very neutral brown to give the eyes depth, and then fresh, kind of outdoorsy skin.

DD: How did you begin planning?
Pat McGrath:
First of all, we always look at the clothing and see what the vibe is – and this time there seemed to be a lot more layers and very much a 'traveller' kind of feel. You just have to pay attention to what you see within the collections. That's where we were like it's not a typical black eye, it's not a nothing, it's not a brown eye but there needed to be something in there that was a little bit more exotic.

DD: How does this season differ from past Y-3 shows?
Pat McGrath:
I suppose the fact that we're doing a bit more make-up. For me, I like that we're using more colour, whereas most of the time we're doing a monochrome, monotone make-up – more blacks, more grays, a little bit harder. I would say this is a little bit softer but at the same time it's quite strong; it's using soft colours in a strong way.

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Dazed Digital: What's the look for the show?
Eugene Souleiman:
It's loosely based on traditional nomadic Patagonian hairdos, which are these two Inuit buns just above the ears that are quite big, they sort of look like horns, and it's parted deeply in the centre. For me, I wanted to do something that was influenced by them but looks like it had been destroyed and then lifted and organic, almost as if the hair had been styled by nature or the elements.

DD: Is doing hair for a sportswear show more challenging?
Eugene Souleiman:
You know, it can be very basic and I think it can look quite obvious sometimes. Sports hair is kind of like hair that feels restricted or controlled and away from the face, it can be something simple like a ponytail but, for me, I find that quite boring.

So I try and bring another element in to be a surprise. It's kind of nice when you're doing a show like this and there's a reason it's different. This isn't just sportswear, this is something that's been inspired by something other than just the mechanics of the body and the necessity involved or technology in creating sportswear. This seems to have a soul, which is the part that I find more inspiring.

DD: What are some of the details that would go unnoticed by the untrained eye?
Eugene Souleiman:
I think the untrained eye would look at it and go "It's a mess." That's actually what I really like about it, that it actually is a mess! There's a very simple kind of braid that's almost like you've used hair to ornament itself. So we're using hair as ornamentation as well. The buns are there to give us the restriction and a change in silhouette.

There's a subtle little braid along the back that I don't think people will see apart from those people in the press. It's just one of my little fancies, a little quirk that I'm quite into; that kind of 80s truck driver, buzz-cut braid thing. I don't mind a bit of trailer trash, I think we could throw that in there.

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