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New York Fashion Week Fall 2014: On the scene at Cynthia Rowley

Sporty-glam’s the word at the designer’s whimsical, vaudeville-inspired New York Fashion Week soirée on February 12.

Backstage beauty at Cynthia Rowley's FW 2014 New York Fashion Week presentation. Makeup was provided by Birchbox.
Backstage beauty at Cynthia Rowley's FW 2014 New York Fashion Week presentation. Makeup was provided by Birchbox.
Photo by Vickie An for Candifiend Studio
A model shows the beauty look backstage at Cynthia Rowley's FW 2014 New York Fashion Week presentation. Also pictured is a special edition Cynthia Rowley eyeshadow palette, exclusively on
Photo courtesy of Birchbox

NEW YORK CITY — The mere mention of New York Fashion Week usually conjures up images of model after model, draped in couture threads, strutting down an illuminated runway. Not so at a Cynthia Rowley show. The forward-thinking designer has been vocal about her desire to turn convention on its head. So for the past few seasons, Rowley has eschewed the traditional Fashion Week runway in favor of a fresh (and dare we say, more fun!) presentation format. The goal, she has said, is to give her guests a “visual feast.” Our verdict: Mission accomplished!

The Paramount Hotel’s Diamond Horseshoe supper club set a spectacular stage for Rowley’s Fall 2014 ready-to-wear line. The newly resurrected ‘40s-era cabaret, tucked away beneath the Times Square hotel, was once famous for its vaudeville revues. Today, that old-timey quirk and speakeasy vibe still shine through in the ballroom’s design, and Rowley uses all of it to her advantage.

The Main Event

Upon entering the venue, guests—including Rowley regulars Alan Cumming, Jill Hennessy and Zosia Mamet—were greeted by a jewel-adorned stuffed leopard, a mad-scientist cocktail bar, and high-flying aerialists. Off to one side, a handful of models wearing choice pieces from Rowley’s new collection flanked the plush banquettes. On stage, a film showcasing the remainder of the line, dubbed “sporty glamorous” by the designer, was projected onto a big screen. The footage (complete with a lady knife-thrower!) was filmed days earlier during the lookbook shoot.

Being a fall collection, Rowley naturally opted for cozy, layered looks and darker shades. But that doesn’t mean the pieces lacked color or pizazz. In fact, moonbows can be found peppered throughout the line, gracing sweaters, shift dresses, scarves and other accessories. What’s a moonbow, you ask? For the uninitiated, the very real and rare phenomenon is a rainbow produced by the light reflected off the moon. The designer has said the clothes are partly inspired by the cheerfulness, romanticism and mystery evoked by the elusive moonbow.

Backstage Beauty

To create the beauty look for this season’s Rowley girl, the designer teamed up with Birchbox and makeup artist Adrien Pinault. To complement the sporty vibe in Rowley’s collection, Pinault crafted a look that comprised a nude face and glossy lip with a bold, racing-stripe-inspired cat eye. “We talked with Cynthia and decided to go with really impressive eyes that pop,” Pinault said.

To start, he applied to the skin Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint and Jouer Sheer Matte Powder and Bronzer for a clean, radiant complexion. Pinault then went to work on the eyes, first applying navy eyeliner (Vasanti Kajal Extreme Intense Eye Pencil in Navy) to the lash line and topping it off with a light blue stripe (Cynthia Rowley Beauty Pencil Eye Liner in Sky Blue). A gold-speckled plum eye shadow from Rowley’s own limited edition eye shadow palette completed the look. All products are available on the Birchbox website, with the exception of the Cynthia Rowley Beauty Pencil Eye Liner, launching in April.

The Mod Squad

When it came to hair, it was all about 1960s volume and texture, a la Brigitte Bardot. Lead stylist Brian Buenaventura, for Cutler/Redken Salon, says the athletic nature of the Rowley girl inspired the tousled style. “I [wanted] to create a look that was fun, fresh and completely wearable,” he explained.

To produce the voluminous tresses, Buenaventura began by applying Redken Full Frame 07 All-Over Volumizing Moose throughout the hair before blow-drying. Starting at the bottom of the head, he divided the locks into one-inch lateral strips, spraying liberally with Redken Refresh 01 Aerosol Hair Powder Dry Shampoo. He followed this by teasing the strands at the roots with a Mason Pearson brush and spritzing with Redken Quick Tease 15 Backcombing Finishing Spray. Then he added movement by using a two-inch curling iron to create loose waves at the bottom of the hair. After creating a deep left part, he smoothed the hair with the Mason Pearson brush and tucked the locks behind the ears. And for hold, he finished the look with Redken Forceful 23 Super-Strength Finishing Spray.

Taste the Moonbow

For the nails, the idea of the moonbow popped up again as celebrity manicurist Elle, for Dermelect “ME,” was designing the look for the girls’ manicures. “Cynthia’s key word describing the inspiration of her collection was ‘moonbows,’ a reflection on the romanticism of her sporty chic line for the Fall 2014 season,” Elle says. “Representing a rainbow of darker shades, we layered two shades from the same color family on one nail, beginning with a darker red, to orange, yellow, green, indigo and purple to achieve the perfect ‘moonbow.’” The colorful mani definitely raised the ombré trend to a new level.

With Rowley one-upping herself each season, we’re curious to see how the designer will tackle her next Fashion Week shindig. But at least we can count on one thing: it’ll be the most rockin’ party in town.

Reporting by Vickie An

Stay tuned for more Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week backstage beauty coverage!

For additional photos and NYFW coverage please swing by Musings of a Candifiend on Youtube, search #teamcandifiend on instagram, and swing by Alice's blog: Made(Up) in NY.

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