“There’s a raw energy to it,” says designer Mike Eckhaus of creating looks that don’t feel “pretty pretty,” or “contained” for Eckhaus Latta’s 10th anniversary show. Backstage, a crew films documentary footage as decadent wafts of fried foods float upstairs from Essex Market’s first floor. In the glassy windowed space, glassy-skinned models drink big glass bottles of Evian. Eckhaus looks fresh, too, after taking a seat in the highly anticipated Tata Harper facial chair. “I want there to be ease — a sort of oddness,” he says of keeping the show’s beauty true to the artists, musicians, and New York cool kids wearing it.
Light-catching moments are everywhere, with clear sequinned fabrics on racks, chainmail laid out on a workspace, and musician-actress Okay Kaya in what looks like a glittering mirrored glove. Self-proclaimed “portable disco ball” Rose Daniels walks around with a face similarly shining with a new technique from make-up artist Fara Homidi. “Fara is so amazing,” says Eckhaus of her idea for this new “roller” method of glitter application, where Egyptian Magic cream is pressed against chunky sparkles. “It’s a gesture; not everyone is getting the same thing — it’s like the uniqueness of the casting — not about trying to make everyone uniform,” Eckhaus explains. The styling boards make that clear, where Texas-born model Cole Mohr’s reference photo has a yellow Post-It with the note “all natural” and artist and writer Aria Dean’s reads “clean face dark lip.”
Hari Nef emerges from a facial in a thin white tank and balmy skin. “I’m a Tata stan,” she enthuses, adding that the founder and facialist’s masks just helped her through a month-long “so dry, so cold” shoot in Ithaca. “Big shouts to Tata Harper, big shouts,” Nef says with a smile. Harper, who couldn’t make it backstage, gave her team instructions to perform a facial layering the Hydrating Floral Essence and Hydrating Floral Mask for “maximum dew.”
“Brian Eno, Girl Interrupted, like a youthful, did-it-yourself, I-razored-my-own-hair sort of thing,” is how hair stylist Tamara McNaughton describes the matted, tousled, tangled lengths and occasional set of faux baby bangs she’s spraying with Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. “It’s kind of like old New York, old Lower East Side, we’re in the old Essex Street market and that’s a weird space,” she explains of the venue across the street where models will walk for the show in an hour or so. “…We wanted to stay in that vibe of like, they’re going out, they’re having fun, but it’s not a glamour look.”
At last, Homidi takes a break from her in-the-zone focus style to talk about the details, like writing a phone number on Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s back in sharpie as if “you met someone on the street.” It’s a night show, and the look is similarly “nocturnal” and abstracted. “With Eckhaus, it’s never really about understanding what the make-up is,” says Homidi. “It’s about shapes that you can’t determine what they are — they’re genderless.” On visual artist Martine Gutierrez, for example, MAC Blacktrack and shades of onyx and turquoise glitter are “kind of smashed in” with a wipe to create an imperfect smokey eye. The effect is cool, modern in that opposite-of-try-hard way that Eckhaus Latta’s audience has come to expect.