“Women, men: naturally, smoothly,” read the Valentino Haute Couture spring/summer 2021 collection notes, four words that relayed the mood not only of creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli’s collection but the gender-neutral hair and makeup looks that accompanied it. Hip-grazing hair—a nod to anyone whose last trip to the salon was pre-pandemic—was paired with metallic gold face accents and a few glittering masks, which were applied to individual members of the show's diverse cast.Andre' Lucat
“We talked a lot about androgyny and fluidity in beauty,” hairstylist and British Vogue contributing beauty editor, Guido Palau, explained following the presentation at the opulent Galleria Colonna in Rome. “The boys and girls were treated in a very similar manner—a boy had super long hair; and a girl did; a girl had a super short haircut; and so did a boy.” Inspired by those cool, insouciant women who, with a simple hair flip, can make you do a double-take on the street (you know the ones), Palau created a certain “non-referential” effortless look that translated as modern and sophisticated. “It ticked a lot of boxes for Pierpaolo,” he elaborated of the “super long” extensions he wove through models’ hair, thinning them out with a razor as he worked. “I wanted it to feel very light at the ends—you know like when you see a child’s hair? It’s very flat, floaty, and airy.”Andre' Lucat
The perceived wisdom of fashion shows is that even the most pared-back beauty looks take hours to create; but this was the opposite, professional polish aside. “It’s just freshly washed, clean hair. Then I used a great hairdryer, a brush and smoothed the top layer. I didn’t use product at all, just a little squirt of Elnett in the ends to take away any flyaways,” Palau revealed. “The simpler, the better.”Andre' Lucat - AndreKina Photography
This kind of practical ease was perfectly juxtaposed with Pat McGrath’s gilding efforts, a calling card belonging to Mother makeup, who memorably launched her Pat McGrath Labs brand in 2015 on the back of Gold 001, a high-shine Midas-inspired pigment. Six years later, McGrath was back at it, brushing temples and ten full faces with dampened washes of gold and bronze pigments from her cultish Mothership eyeshadow palettes, topped with setting spray and glitter flecks for a “theatrical” finish. “It's minimalism meets Leigh Bowery,” McGrath said of the effect, referencing the legendary London club kid and performance artist—and offering a whole new definition of low-key glamour.