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Chain nails and face tattoos: Moschino’s homeboys and girls take NYC


TextKristen Bateman

Nail artist Mei Kawajiri, hair stylist Jimmy Paul, make-up artist Kabuki, and tattoo artist JonBoy collaborated on the brand’s Pre-Fall 2020 collection

Fashion month may have ended in October, but we’re currently in the home stretch of the Pre-Fall collections, where designers far and wide are showing off their latest collections by way of destination shows. Moschino, led by Jeremy Scott, chose to go all out in a pretty unusual way. The label hosted its first ever show in New York City, underground.

Models literally stomped through the vintage subway cars of the New York Transit Museum wearing oversized backpacks, giant baseball caps, and supersized puffers covered in the statement gold logo chains that have become so signature for the brand. Meanwhile, the hair, make-up, and nails took just as much inspiration from the New York City subways.

Japanese nail artist Mei Kawajiri (who often decorates the nails of Gigi and Bella Hadid), designed over 1,200 nail tips with her team for the occasion. “The inspiration is the New York City subway,” she tells us backstage. “It’s all about the subway in very old school movies – chains, very hip hip kinds of looks. I saw the collection and there are so many giant bags or big hats, huge backpacks. All of the accessories are big and bold and chunky, so the nails are gold and chunky kind of looking.”

Kawajiri cut gold chains by hand and attached them to nail tips in tiny rows and patterns. She also applied glitzy letters to spell out “Moschino” and “New York” across models’ nails. Perhaps the most extravagant nails came pierced with silver metal hoops. “I wanted wanted it to be almost like 2000s or 90s,” she says.

As for the hair, stylist Jimmy Paul created equally retro styles of baby bangs, braids, slicked back looks, and finger waves. Many of the models had distinct hairstyles all their own. But to make the looks even bolder, Paul added gold metallic spray to some of the finger waves and baby bangs, as seen on model Cara Taylor.

Also backstage was the tattoo artist JonBoy (Post Malone, G-Eazy, Travis Scott, and Kendall Jenner have all been inked by him) who was adding temporary face tattoos to select models’ foreheads. Some were calligraphed with their own name while others had “New York City” or “Moschino” running across their foreheads, right above the brow. 

Beyond that, iconic make-up artist Kabuki (read more about him here) was tasked with creating a look that represented the cool aesthetic of the 90s and the eclectic subway scene. “It’s a little about about a story of gangs in the subway,” he says. “We wanted to do a little bit of a lip liner but not too much. It’s really a beautiful, wearable look.” 

Kabuki also smoothed the brows using water activated Chromacake from MAC Cosmetics to actually hold the hairs and draw in the hairs. The key to getting the look, however, is the pigment used on the lips. “Most of it is this nude, brownish palette to the lips and a lighter center with a lighter line and foundation around the lips to get that crispness,” he explains. “We’re really making sure the skin looks not too made up. We had a whole thing of having tattoos. Some of the models had their own names. It’s done in these italics. It had a very feminine, very delicate, perfect feel to the make-up. A lot of hair, clothing and accessories. This is in the subway. It’s just about making the models look beautiful and like the best version of themselves.”

So, if you’re in the market to try Moschino’s super extra make-up look next time you hop on the tube, the secret seems seems to be selecting rich, nude lip colors and pairing them with a slightly darker liner. Kabuki used MAC’s PRO Lip Palette in Necessary Nudes with MAC’s Lip Pencil in Oak, Cork, Stripdown and MAC’s Eye Pencil in Coffee to match each model’s skin tone. If you’re really feeling bold, you can also go for the italic temporary face tattoo on your next commute.

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