The Rixo presentation is always a bright spot during London Fashion Week, a typically cheery, colourful event full of bold prints, bright flower arrangements, and (what us beauty editors always look forward to) whimsical hair and makeup looks. The brand's "Ariel" collection — which debuted at London Fashion Week's September season today with a digital short film — was no different, pandemic be damned.
Like in previous seasons, designers Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey collaborated with makeup artist Vincent Ford and Nars Cosmetics on the beauty look for the collection, except this time for a video shoot filmed in the Rixo offices in London, versus a live presentation. Ford created two different makeup looks, one of which was a shimmering statement eye-makeup look that not only perfectly suited the oceanic-themed collection, but was also as serene, pretty, and uplifting as the clothes themselves — something we could all use a little more of right now.
"This drop has a clear inspiration of all things underwater; the pearl and coral colours, shapes and mythical creations," the designers explained via press release. "It's all shown through the sea life prints, silky silhouettes, and frilled detailing. We are always inspired by vintage, whether that's fashion, art, or icons and another main print of the collection, the squiggle print, was inspired by French painter Henri Matisse."
Image Source: Vincent Ford
"Rixo wanted give the model that beachy look with glowy skin," Ford told POPSUGAR exclusively over Zoom. The first look Ford designed, which was very skin and lash focused, saw warm tones on the lips (Nars Lipstick in Morocco, which is an peachy-apricot tone), a shimmery brown shadow on the lids, and the recently launched Nars Climax Extreme Mascara, allowing Ford to really play up the model's lashes.
Image Source: Rixo
To give the model glowy, summer-like skin, Ford layered the Nars Sheer Glow Foundation over the brand's Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer. "I love layering two opposite formulas, so if I'm using a matte foundation, I'll often put a more radiant moisturiser underneath it because they balance each other out," Ford explained. "Because the model for the Rixo shoot had combination skin, I used the Aqua Gel because it's quite lightweight and not as emollient. Then I put Sheer Glow on top of it, and I didn't powder her skin too much or use any highlighter. The highlights you see on her skin when the light hits her face in the video, those weren't makeup, they're due to the fact that I didn't powder her entire face."
As for that gorgeous, iridescent eyeshadow, Ford took direction from the designers, as well as the video set itself. "Rixo said they wanted an iridescence on the eye, using colours that were reminiscent of the seaside – not a complete blended eyeshadow look, but something that looked like sequins," Ford explained, adding that he was also inspired by the turquoise colours of the backdrop for the video.
The three Nars Powerchrome Pigment Loose Eye Pigment Ford mixed together to create the look: Naked City, Riding High, and Castaway.
To create a shimmering, sun-reflecting-off-of-the-ocean effect, Ford turned to the Nars Powerchrome Loose Eye Pigments, blending three colours together — Naked City (royal blue), Castaway (frosty white with gold shimmer), and Exclusive (sage green) — mixing them on the back of his hand and then using his ring finger to press it onto the model's lids. "The frosted, silvery-gold shade gave the iridescence, while the blue and green mixed together reminded me of the colour of the ocean," Ford said, adding that he had the Aegean Sea in mind whilst dreaming up the look.
When you watch the short film for the collection, it's clear that Fashion Week, and coincidentally, backstage at fashion week, looks very different this season. You can see Ford working on the model and wearing a mask, and anyone else on set — which for the Rixo video shoot was just the photographer, a few Rixo staff, and the hairstylist, in addition to Ford and the model — are safely socially distanced from one another. The throngs of beauty editors milling about backstage have been replaced by bottles of hand sanitiser, and instead of scrambling to get the model onto the catwalk, she leisurely strolls onto the set. "It was all very relaxed, and they let the model do her thing, and we had fun with it. We had music playing, the dancing, we really tried to make the best of it. It's definitely a different environment, and interesting to work in this set-up, but I'm happy people are finding new ways to make it work."
Keep reading to catch more glimpses of the makeup Ford created for the Rixo "Ariel" collection Spring 2021 video.