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With Graphic Eyes and Cool Red Lips, Prada Puts a Subversive Twist on ’20s Beauty

It wasn’t hard to guess which decade Miuccia Prada drew inspiration from at this afternoon’s Prada show in Milan. From the reptile-print cloche hats to the ruffled drop-waist dresses, there were undercurrents of the 1920s at work: The clothes exuded an understated elegance in streamlined, linear silhouettes while winking to the decade’s flair with eye-popping shades and sequin feathered embroidery.

While bobs ruled the Jazz Age, hairstylist Guido Palau took a less literal approach to the liberated crop. “We’re not trying to do faux bobs,” Palau declared backstage. “We’re just trying to nod to that idea.” Models with abbreviated cuts, like Kaia Gerber and Freja Beha, wore their hair loose, while those with long lengths had them pulled back into neat low ponytails. “It feels a little [more] messy and nonchalant,” said the editorial pro of counteracting the sleekness of the front with hair loosened at the nape in the back. To finish the look, Palau blasted the roots with Redken’s Triple Take 32 hairspray for reflective shine and added swooping sideburns—some snipped for the show, others the handiwork of trompe l’oeil pieces—for a “touch of boyishness.”

“It’s bourgeois, but with a real edge,” explained makeup artist Pat McGrath of the overall above-neck mood. While the majority of the girls simply sported fresh, natural skin, 10 models handpicked by Mrs. Prada received geometric swaths of black pigment on the lids and cool red lips courtesy of Pat McGrath Labs MatteTrance Lipstick in Elson. “It’s really about the woman who has no fear with makeup,” McGrath explained while layering Permagel Ultra Eye Pencil over a wet onyx shadow on the lids of German newcomer Berit Heitmann, who further punctuated the graphic eye by bleaching her brows ahead of the show. “I’ve never seen myself like this!” said Heitmann, who made her exclusive debut at Prada. “It was the first thing they did when I arrived at hair and makeup.”

Capturing the spirit of the ’20s with subversive twists from head to toe, Mrs. Prada is—as always—nothing if not detail-oriented. “She’s very hands-on,” said Palau of the formidable Italian designer, before adding with a laugh: “She’s as eagle-eyed with the beauty as she is with the clothing!”

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