Vanni BASSETTI for Christian Dior Parfums Before heading backstage for Fashion Week shows, I must take a deep breath and emotionally, mentally, and spiritually prepare myself for being a sardine. Usually, the models are set up at hair and makeup stations basically shoulder to shoulder in a small, narrow space. I have to squeeze through tight rows to get a peek at them. Everyone inevitably gets in the way of each other. Before the pandemic , the cramped chaos thrilled me. Now, just thinking about it makes me cringe.
Slowly but surely, fashion shows are happening again. The Dior Cruise 2021 show, for instance, took place today, July 22. An audience wasn’t physically in attendance, but people watched through their screens as 47 models walked a runway set up in the Piazza del Duomo in Lecce, Italy.
And as the lead makeup artist for the show (and the creative and image director for Dior Makeup), Peter Philips, tells a group of beauty editors, including myself, over Zoom, "Where there’s a model, there will be a backstage."
Although I couldn’t see how COVID-19 has transformed the backstage experience firsthand, Philips explained it with as much detail as he could from a quiet white-walled room inside the Bishop’s Palace. Before doing so, he notes hygiene has always been crucial to his job. "We touch people’s faces all the time," he adds. "It’s key to be ultra-careful. In this situation, we push it to the extreme."
Makeup artists were outfitted in masks and face shields to work with models set up at social-distanced stations. "I can tell you, it’s not easy," Philips said. "When you wear glasses and the shield, everything fogs up. In the shield, you see all the reflections."
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