In one corner of the Palais de Tokyo, an army of ants marched down a male model’s neck and snaked across his chest, while a handful of cast members (boys and girls) on the other side of the room were provided with blurred, pillbox-red lips—likely earned from “snogging in the corner all night,” explained lead makeup artist Val Garland behind the scenes at Vivienne Westwood. Others received “80s raver” blocks of “loud” color under brows and across lids, or deconstructed black wings for “the girl [or guy] that put on the perfect eyeliner last night and now it’s a bit smudgy.” And some catwalkers sported bare complexions simply “because they never wear makeup.” Accompanied by fuzzy French twists and bedhead-y hair by mane master Eugene Soulemain, Garland produced a “gaggle of people” (inspired by Derek Ridgers’ portraits) who are all fiercely “individual”—a term that’s been tossed around backstage rather frequently this season, as bangs are snipped in to add character or curls enhanced to break up ranks of straight strands.
Maybe this motley crew is attending a party or “staying late night at a club,” added Garland. “I wanted to pick out those characters that would be a bit of an oddball or obsessed with Steve Strange or a bit Nouvelle Vague.” Perhaps the most prominent and shocking beauty statement, however, came in the form of a penis scrawled across the back of Tamy Glauser’s neck with MAC’s Penultimate Eyeliner (because you need a “nib” to get it just right). “There are lots of penises in the collection, so I thought, ‘Well, let’s pop a little penis somewhere,” said Garland in her proper British accent. “I like to have fun with makeup.” For the record, the phallus wasn’t exactly “little” like the diamond-encrusted penises dangling from models’ ears and necks, but fairly to scale—depending, of course, on your frame of reference. “I wondered if it would be politically incorrect to draw a penis on somebody, but I thought, let’s just give it a go,” added the pro with a cheeky smile. (If you look back to Hood by Air's PornHub-sponsored romp in New York City or Sam McKnight's use of Cock Grease at Balmain, the penis could practically be considered a beauty trend for Spring 2017.) And let's be honest, Vivienne Westwood has never been one to shy away from controversy—no matter how big or small.