The year is 2005, and for her Broken Bride collection Rei Kawakubo has enlisted the help of Julen d'Ys and Pat McGrath
The hair and make-up on the runway is often very experimental. Creative freedom combines with eclectic visions from designers to bring together the ultimate fantasy. Runway Retrospectives is a column that explores some of the most legendary catwalk beauty looks of all time.
Designer Rei Kawakubo presented her fall 2005 show for Comme des Garcons as a tribute to brides in the least traditional way possible. Hair was done by stylist Julien d’Ys who has worked with the designer for decades. Each season, he is given a single word or phrase from Kawakubo for direction. This particular season, it was “Broken Bride”. Pat McGrath worked with the designer on and off throughout the years, and she had a hand in creating an equally compelling look for this collection. Both the hair and the make-up had an extremely textural aspect. It’s no surprise, considering the label’s show notes read, “An important element of the collection is the photo print. Normally photos are flat and two-dimensional, but with accessories and fabric in relevant places, they become three-dimensional and are an integral part of the design.” Likewise, the floral crowns and thick make-up were larger than life.
According to the brand, ““Broken Bride” was the inspiration/starting point,” for both the fashion and the beauty aesthetic: “There are many kinds of marriages. Typically, marriage is associated with being “tied up” and is conservative; this collection is anti-conservative, allows one to be free, and shows what marriage can be like.”
For the occasion, hair was pulled back around the frame of the face. Each “bride” wore a veil and floral crown; some that were colourfully hued and some that came with massive height. Blooming florals in black gave some of the looks a more sinister feel.
Make-up artist McGrath painted all the models’ faces in a thick white Geisha-like paint and rimmed the eyes with sequins. Lips were left bare or painted over in a sheer wash of white pigment. McGrath also used some of the sequins to draft flower shaped creations on lower cheeks.
The show took place in Paris, March 2005. Kawakubo told critics the overall theme was about “anticonservatism”. During the show, organ music played while ceremonial “wedding music” from other cultures intercepted the soundtrack.
It was iconic because of the festiveness of the hair and make-up. The floral crowns and sequin eye make-up both resembled a life-size takes on La Catrina, a Mexican icon of El Día de los Muertos and the joyful culture surrounding the celebration of death—thus, the opposite of a traditional wedding which can symbolize a new life together. Arguably, this look symbolized the birth of the summer festival beauty aesthetic before it was even a thing. Under the bright runway lights, the models walking down the catwalk seemed surreal and at peace in their unconventional getups.
How to Get the Look
MAC’s Chromacake product in Pure White (which many make-up artists use for body painting) can be blended all over the face to create a thick, stark white canvas. As for the rest of the look, it’s best to get crafty. Pick up some sequins and fake flowers from a craft store. Using an eye-safe adhesive (like one made for applying eyelashes, perhaps) apply the sequins around each eye. The flower crown can be constructed after hair is pulled back, and shaped with a gel such as Bumble and Bumble’s Sumotech. Considering d’Ys’ goal is always “to do something never done before,” which he told Vogue, you likely won’t get the exact same effect, but that’s the fun of it.