Fall 2015 Runway Beauty Recap: Once You Go MAC You Dont Go Back

I had the amazing opportunity to attend New York Fashion Week this past spring and cover the beauty trends for the Academy of Art University Fall 2015 runway show. I am always scanning magazines and the web for what’s hot and what’s not in the fashion industry. When it comes to makeup, you could say I am a beauty whore, I can never get enough MAC products. Their packaging is trendy and their ad campaigns often feature top celebrities and pop artists, not to mention their makeup is the bomb!

Image source: Victor Cembellin
Image source: Victor Cembellin

MAC has always been my go-to source for every event and styling shoot that I have produced, so I was thrilled when I found out that Victor Cembellin (right), senior makeup artist for MAC, would be the lead artist for the Academy of Art University’s show. With more than 20 years of industry experience, Cembellin is also a freelance editorial makeup artist and an educator at the Academy. His expertise and know-how are brilliant assets for Academy students who wish to further their career in the beauty world.

“I initially became involved with Academy of Art University after leading the makeup team during New York Fashion Week several years ago, back when the tents were still in Bryant Park,” Cembellin said. “Upon returning home to San Francisco – I was born and raised in the Bay Area – I shot several covers and editorials for 180 Magazine.”


MAC Cosmetics is supporting over 70 shows this season in New York alone. There are a lot of different looks, but at the same time, a lot of consistency backstage. Personally, I’ll be working on Carolina Herrera, Rachel Zoe, andOscar de la Renta. I also designed the look for the 45 male models at Perry Ellis.


One of the biggest beauty buzzwords right now is “reality.” The makeup trend is to visibly improve and reveal your best features without necessarily trying to change your look. This can easily be achieved with a product like MAC Cosmetics Studio Waterweight Foundation, which provides coverage that appears virtually invisible to the naked eye.


Last season we celebrated minimal makeup. Bridging into fall, we’re keeping skin clean and fresh but adding signature statements like a bold lip or a strong liner. In terms of color, we’re seeing black liners replaced with graphite, pastels with shots of grey added to create a unique tonality, and the return of metallics.

Image source: mbfashionweek.com

“This group of designers is focused on transformation,” said Simon Ungless, Executive Director of the School of Fashion at the Academy. “They are using fabric manipulation and printing techniques to change the inherent qualities of textiles to create new textures and surface qualities. There is a focus back to the body and wearability in silhouette, which the designers have utilized advanced tailoring techniques to achieve.”

The focus on transformation was consistent throughout the collections and balanced well with the architecturally sculpted beauty looks created by Cembellin and the MAC PRO team. The look was sort of a tough or moody version of a 1990’s super model, explained Cembellin. The beauty looks centered around sculpting and shaping. “This season we are playing with architecture, we are playing with the shapes of each of the models eyes,” he said.

Complementing the sculpted makeup look was a sleek, almost wet-looking hairstyle with a samurai knot dreamed up by hair guru Jon Reyman and his Aveda team.

The scene backstage at Lincoln Center the day of the show on Valentine’s Day, was extremely fast paced yet very organized, with a huge number of people working to complete varied tasks all within a short span of time. Each station backstage was arranged in a systematic way for efficient, speedy work for this large scale production. To get every facial feature covered in the short time allotted, multiple artists worked on each model simultaneously. One artist worked on makeup while a hairstylist perfected the model’s hair.

Image source: David Dooley

Cembellin masterfully created the looks on the models using several key products, including MAC Cosmetics Studio Waterweight Foundation, which will be released in the fall. The MAC Pro team also used sculpting product ‘Baby Don’t Go’ Pro Longwear Blush along with ‘Hush’ Cream Color Base. Instead of playing with color, the team of artists experimented more with placement, shapes and tones.


The first time I keyed the Academy’s show was New York Fashion Week Autumn/Winter in 2009. I have been privileged to connect with Simon Ungless and so many other wonderful talents. There have even been lavish editorial spreads, covers of countless magazines, and the honorable opportunity to become an instructor at the Academy of Art University.

Academy-of-Art-University-Fall-2015-Runway-Beauty-MAC-Baby-Dont-Go-BlushWHAT’S THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE LOOK FOR THE SHOW?

It’s the designer’s moment to showcase their signature collections, so it’s important to create a look that complements while creating continuity throughout the show. As a makeup artist, I have always considered myself a storyteller who draws inspiration from various sources. This season, I wanted to tell a moody beauty story with a nod to 1990’s supermodels by using the architecture of each model’s face as the focal point.


The star products for the AAU show were MAC Cosmetics ‘Baby Don’t Go’ Pro Longwear blush (above) to sculpt cheekbones, MAC Cosmetics ‘Coquette’ Eye Shadow to define the eyes and create a bit of mood and androgyny, MAC Cosmetics ‘Hush’ Cream Colour Base for natural highlighting of facial contours, and MAC Cosmetics Studio Waterweight Foundation to invisibly conceal and neutralize lip tones.

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