Youth Will Rule at Cynthia Steffe Spring 2008

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Photos courtesy of DAN LECCA

As proved by the seemingly endless crowd that poured into The Salon, this year has seen Cynthia Steffe become a phenomenally popular show – not quite the rush hour crush of Marc Jacobs yet, but perhaps that little breathing space was not such a bad thing after all. Speaking of which, airiness was echoed in the myriad dresses that floated down the runway in an acid trip of color, a nautically influenced stream that was saved from becoming a neon nightmare of “sonic green, fuchsia and turquoise” by the calming effect of mineral and earth tones such as poppy, lapis, zinc, chalk and citrine; the two groups balanced each other perfectly. Indeed, juxtaposition seems to have been a clear objective with past, present and future being merged in a mélange of Ottoman-inspired prints, glossy synthetics, and an intense palette. It was also reflected in the contrasts between fabric and embellishment, with airy chiffon being hardened by unexpected punched-out embroidery, plastic beading, bungee plaiting and foil finishes.

The mood was optimistic, fresh and innocent, yet at the same time a little cheeky, classic tailoring being twisted to fit feminine contours, a tired twin set being revived by a zesty, flowing neon green skirt, and the array of frocks demonstrating new and hitherto little explored possibilities in shape; paired with innocent, soft cardigans, these staples epitomized the entire collection’s casual yet crisp feel. Silhouettes were playfully adapted: dropped waists and longer hems, mid-calf full skirts, spherical jackets, and layered gowns, all of which left you feeling refreshed and revitalized, full of energy (helped no doubt by the pounding, uplifting electro-pop) and ready to take on the world…well, ready to take on the next show at least.

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Backstage shots by PATRICK MCMULLAN

The sense of fluidity and freshness was echoed by the no-fuss make-up, courtesy of NARS, where the focus was on creating an honest and youthful glow. As revealed by head make-up artist James Boehmer, the secret to a “pretty, healthy” look (apart from actually being a sixteen-year-old model) is to use a rich but lightweight moisturizer, a transparent foundation and a clean brush for buffing the skin to create a luster effect. Eyes were kept cool with whitish silver, using products with a creamy texture to control opacity, and lips were also icier with Supervixen, a new natural lip tone from NARC with a glittering crystal finish. The only part of the face where warmer colors were used were the points of the cheeks, where pink blush with the tiniest touch of gold caught the light as the models sashayed down the runway. Finally, eyelashes were allowed a reprieve from the usual black mascara with a dab of clear, and brows were tidied rather than defined.

In keeping with the theme of chic simplicity, hair was styled to look natural, healthy and sleek, with the only embellishment being added volume. As demonstrated by the key hairdresser, Dennis Lanni for Bumble & Bumble, the easiest way to achieve this is to use products that contain alcohol as this “lifts” the hair follicles, or by simply twisting in some paper; the idea is the same as that of leaving in braids, and you can do it with either dry or wet hair.

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