When the manicurist told me the theme for the show, I didn’t think I had heard her correctly.
“Psycho beach party,” she said again.
Ah. So it was true. You get used to hearing that shows are inspired by travel or a certain historic era. Psycho beach party sounded like a high school horror film from the 80s.
Well, it turned out it was actually the 90s driving this show. Antonio Corral Calero, the artistic director for Moroccanoil, explained that he had Madonna in mind as he shifted a platinum blonde (appropriate, no?) wig on a model’s head. “Here’s the secret,” he said as he reached for a balled up wad of bubble wrap and then shoved it under the wig. “It’s kind of like stuffing the Thanksgiving turkey!” he laughed.
The bubble wrap, while not your run of the mill styling product, helped create dramatic volume at the crown of the model’s head. Of course, the wig itself wasn’t run of the mill either (how could it be at an insane beach soiree?!). The wig had blue vinyl attached so that the models had to slip the whole thing over their heads. Then, for an extra snug fit, Antonio zipped the wig up the back. To get even more volume, beyond the bubble wrap, the Moroccanoil team teased the hair and sprayed it with the brand’s Luminous Hairspray Strong. The end effect had so much volume and cushion at the top that a bystander and I joked that it would make a very chic bicycle helmet.
My next stop was to see MAC’s makeup guru, Kabuki. Also drawing from the 90s, he referenced Linda Evangelista in Italian Vogue as a source of inspiration. Compared to the hair, the face had a more natural, subdued look (no packing materials required). Kabuki explained that because the wig’s latex covered the ears and neck, he wanted to create a strong, sculpted face. He did that with a palette of browns and nudes, wing tip liner, and short spiky lashes. His products included Studio Sculpt Foundation, Liquid Eye Liner in “Boot Black,” and Eye Shadow Paint in “Bare Canvas.”
As for nails, a nude color simply wouldn’t do for such a festive runway theme. Instead, CND came up with a whole arsenal of psychotic tips—each model wearing a different look. There were lipstick-inspired nails, shark bites, starfish, caviar, a set of sunset tips, and a synthetic coral reef for the fingers. There were also ten little faces made in the likeness of one of the designers, Phillipe. My favorite, however, had to be the giant shark fins that stood a couple inches off the nail. One manicurist explained that she had found white bone buttons in a fabric and trim store and painted them with CND’s “Black Jack” to create the fins.
The models were soon set to strut the runway and the guests—including Paris Hilton, Adam Lambert, Jay Manuel, Michael Musto and a bevy of drag queens—took their seats. The music from Jaws began to play, and I thought to myself—this is the greatest psycho beach party I’ve ever attended.