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Sunday May 3, 2009

Wet is hot

Water. Three-quarters of the world are covered in it. Nine-tenths of our lungs are made of it. And for those who live and breathe fashion, water is literally about to become ‘It’.

OF all the planets in our solar system, ours alone is covered in a life-giving, liquid blanket of blue. It is out of these depths that Abyss, Proctor & Gamble’s biggest fashion trend predicted for 2009/10 emerges.

Abyss is an immersive experience that celebrates water as the new gold, and a sense of preciousness that is heightened by scarcity. It is mysterious, enigmatic and attractive. Abyss invites exploration and rewards it with rare treasures from the deep. You’ll recognise it in wet textures and finishes, in sensual undulations that soothe the eye and phosphorescent glints that catch it.

Which all sounds very well conceptually, but how does that silver-tongued eloquence translate to fashion - to colours, couture and coiffure?

StarMag found out from P&G’s global trend experts - Bruce Grayson and Sam McKnight - at the unveiling of Abyss in Kerala, India, where the beauty company recently held its regional beauty trends seminar.

With a bit of random braiding, “Fresh Hair” (one of veteran hairstyling superstar Sam McKnight’s key looks for 2009-2010) becomes “Deep Texture”.


Alongside the obvious hues of blue (peacock, aqua, ultramarine) Abyss’ colour palette includes purple (twilight lilac, aubergine), green (emerald, jade), grey (oyster, slate) and deep-sea black. Embellishments include pearlised glows and fish-scale glitters.

The look has been spotted on catwalk shows by Calvin Klein (Spring/Summer 2009 Ready-to-Wear, Urban Mermaid); Monique Lhuillier (S/S 2009 RTW); Jason Wu (Autumn/Winter 2009 RTW); and Andrew Gn (A/W 2009 RTW).

It has also been worn on red carpets by Queen Latifah (midnight blue gown, white beading), Kate Winslet (polished slate gray), and Anne Hathaway (shimmering silver, mermaid cut) at this year’s Academy Awards, and Freida Pinto (undulating waves of periwinkle blue) at the recent Screen Actors Guild Awards.


“Don’t be afraid of colour,” encourages celebrity make-up artist Bruce Grayson, Academy and Emmy Awards make-up department head and personal make-up artist to Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Brittany Murphy and the Clintons.

Below are his tips on how to apply the intense colours of Abyss without looking like a clownfish.

Keep blues translucent and focus on one element

With Abyss, this tends to be the eyes. “A dark blue, a blue-black almost, will work on most people. That’s a given,” Grayson says. “With lighter shades of blue, you have to be more careful - they’ll usually work on darker skin tones. Powder blue works on lighter skin tones, if you remember the famous shot of Marilyn Monroe.”

Minimal black that is blended and refined

“Black is a colour we all have. It really is the UN (United Nations) colour,” says Grayson. “Use it as a very thin line or just use mascara - sometimes two coats of mascara will create that perimeter at the circumference of the eye.

“Sometimes I use a grey or black under a blue eyeshadow to give it intensity. It’s not something you can just learn overnight, but those kinds of make-up (referring to red-carpet looks), the drama, were built by layering those kinds of colours.”

Let the shine sell the make-up

Retain shine strategically at the high part of the cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, and on the high curves of the forehead (not necessarily on the brow bone) with selective powdering. Add movement to the eyelid with micro-glitter by placing it on the centre of the eyelid so that it flashes as the eye rotates under it.

“There is also the element of hydration,” Grayson adds. “If the skin’s in good shape, if you’re drinking enough and using skincare that allows you to create a water barrier, then you can create what I call hydro-luminous skin.”


The key to applying the intense colours of Abyss without looking garish is to go for translucency.

This season, says Sam McKnight, hair wants to look like itself, like “something you’re wearing, not something that’s wearing you”. That means looser, more casual looks with a light touch, adds the superstar hairstylist (he’s worked closely with photographers like Steven Meisel and Richard Avedon, models like Gisele Bundchen and Kate Moss, and celebrities like Madonna, Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett) and veteran of 70 Vogue covers.

He has named three of these looks Fresh Hair, Deep Texture and Tumbling Cascades.

Fresh Hair is about long, flowing glossy locks that are clean, well cut and cared for, maybe popped into large Velcro rollers for a bit of body. “It’s not the wash and wear hair of the 80s and 90s,” says, McKnight, but “a nice, simple finish that will bring you into 2010.”

Fresh Hair becomes Deep Texture by adding waves and crimps for multiple texture. To achieve this, apply a hold product to dry hair and braid sections of hair (thick and thin) randomly. Set with heat, cool, release and organise into the desired shape. Don’t try this on wet hair as it won’t dry or hold the kinks.

Tumbling Cascades is about curls that bounce and shine with a lighter-than-air quality. “When you put a wave into dark hair, it picks up the light.” To achieve this, you need to persevere and master the art of setting your hair in curlers. Learn to use your wrists like Jerry Hall, advises McKnight. “She’s been putting her own in curlers for the last 300 years!”


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