Runway Report: Less than perfect

The makeup and hair at the New York spring shows was decidedly DIY.

Jedediah Purdy (author of the very earnest, anti-irony rant, ” For Common Things”) is probably not the mostardent fashion enthusiast — certainly not this season, at any rate. The look coming down the runways in New York was all about irony: Zillion-dollars-a-day models made up to look as if they were less-than-fantabulous, stuck-in-a-style-rut, workaday (yet still breathtakingly beautiful) versions of themselves.

From Francois Nars’ carefully calculated “slapdash” makeup at Marc Jacobs to the poufed and curled (curling irons are perhaps the ultimate real-world styling tool, out of official favor for at least a decade) Tammy Wynette-meets-Barbarella hair at Michael Kors, the prevailing look for spring/summer 2013 is unabashedly did-it-yourself.

Instant Chic: Quick changes to update anyone’s makeup bag

Blue eyeshadow:
Think pale, a little zingy, a little frosty, a little Kate Jackson. Blue Ice by Lorac, Ice Queen by Too Faced, and Blue Vervain by Alchemy all hit the perfect balance between sheen, color, and transparency.

Bigger hair: Think volume, think Vegas, think about curl. Unless you’re like Kirsty Hume. “Her hair is so straight, it’s kind of ridiculous to try and change it,” said Garren, brushing the model’s long, blond, unimaginably straight hair backstage at Marc Jacobs. “It’s about working with your own hair texture, above all, and never using too much product.” EXTRA TIP: If you’re thinking Dallas, you’ve gone to far.

The nearly-nude, minimalist face is still hip (TSE, Daryl K., Donna Karan, Calvin Klein…), but this season, it requires a slick of seriously glossy nude gloss, like Bloom’s Pout or Shu Uemura Lip Gloss in Nude/Beige.

Cream blush, like Convertible Color from Stila or Lorac Lip/Cheek Tint, is just a touch tougher to blend, and thus imparts the requisite sense of naivite.

“It’s as if she just smudged this on herself,” mused Nars as he daubed carefully at model Gisele’s mouth with a tiny lipbrush dipped in Hot Voodoo, his chic, bronzy gloss. “The shadow doesn’t ‘go’ with the rest of the makeup — if we do a brown lip,then the shadow might be China Blue — not perfect,” he emphasizes. “Perfection is all wrong.” Indeed, those who’ve mastered the art of impeccable eyeliner, or glass — smooth straightened hair may need a little remedial smudging practice; every hair in place simply will not do.

For the rest of us, however, the look of the moment is a relatively simple enterprise: Don’t try too hard, but do try. Like the haphazard, metallic – ribboned braids that überstylist Frederic Fekkai wove into the artfully rumpled hair at Nicole Miller. Or the slashes of blue eyeshadow (so bad it’s good)at Tommy Hilfiger, Cynthia Rowley, and BCBG.

Even at Calvin Klein — traditionally ground zero for perfection(of a minimal sort) — stylist Guido Palau flipped the stick-straight hair into off-center barrettes, as if the models, perhaps hunched over a computer and deep in thought, had simply tucked their hair up, out of their faces. The makeup — all advance samples from the designers soon-to-launch new line — even included a we’re-not-in-Soho-anymore pale lilac eyeshadow, and makeup artist Diane Kendall encouraged the models to experiment (gently) with the shades themselves.image

“It’s about reality, about being as close to natural as you can,” quipped hair guru Garren ashe coiled models’ hair into a diffuser backstage at Marc Jacobs to create a rumpled, styled-but-unpolished look that was just — perfection.