If anyone were to shut down Paris’ most iconic avenue, it would be French beauty stalwart, L’Oréal (and perhaps maybe Karl). The French madame of the beauty world exerted her prowess over Paris Fashion Week and staged the first of its kind; a catwalk show in the public, for the public. For the typically clandestine fashion crowd, it was a rare spectacle indeed. There were Dames and Academy Award Winners, supermodels and genetically blessed celebrity prodigies, even pop princesses, it was a cadre fit for a fashion Queen.
It was also a brilliant display of diversity; both across race, age and gender, even size, with a myriad of ethnicities represented, both male and female models, and habitual scene-stealers, Helen Mirren and Jane Fonda upstaging their much younger counterparts. There was even a smattering of more “real-sized” women, a rare sighting during Paris Fashion Week.
Makeup demigod and L’Oréal Paris Global Director, Val Garland, created an incredulous 70 looks for the 20-minute Le Défilé parade, with 18 fashion houses – both established and emerging – represented. Of course, all the ambassadresses were there; Barbara, Doutzen, Grace, Maria, Bianca and Jane Fonda, sheathed in a skin-tight zebra dress care of current L’Oréal collaborator, Balmain.
The Balmain x L’Oréal collection was (naturally) used backstage and manifest in a slew of cobalt, khaki and violet pouts. There was also a hefty dose of the two-tone lip, sparking a comeback of sorts for the tricky trend.
This was beauty without boundaries; Garland’s imagination running wild in a riot of colour, shape and texture. The 70 looks were broken down into inevitable themes; Arty Beauty, Rad Romance, Casual, Street Grrrl, Glamour and Girl Boss.
Both the kooky and classic played out; ranging from streamlined glamour and la dolce vita guises, to abstract lines and unexpected washes of colour. It was artful and curious and above all fun, perhaps reiterating the prevailing notion that beauty should be fun, and indeed democratic.