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What Does Japanese Schoolgirl Zombie Hair Look Like? Just Ask Chris Benz

Chris Benz always does something unexpected at his shows, but we would never in a million years been able to predict the two main beauty inspirations for his spring presentation. “Chris spends a lot of time in Japan, so there’s this Japanese schoolgirl element,” explained lead stylist Nick Owen of TIGI. “We also talked about zombie-esque girls; girls who were a bit vacant.” So how exactly does this come together? If you’re Owen, that means styling the hair with plenty of texture and a topknot.  

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A Drunk Judy Garland Inspires Chris Benz

The Presentation: Chris Benz

Hair: Nick Irwin for TIGI

Makeup: Daniel Martin for Lancôme

Nails: Lancôme

The Vibe: A modern take on 1960s vintage. “The muse was Judy Garland at the end of her career, kind of trashy,” said TIGI lead stylist Nick Irwin. “There’s this famous TV interview with her in the late ’60s when she was quite drunk, so it was about that kind of quirkiness.” To get the crazy piled-high hair, Irwin and his team used wigs, which Irwin described as a “ballsy” choice on the part of designer Chris Benz. Apparently, working with fake hair can be more of a challenge than working with the real deal. “The wigs are inexpensive and come with this strong wave in their hair,” explained Irwin. “We’re completely deconstructing the texture, really sort of changing the fabric of the wig by basically using a full can of dry shampoo on each.” (Indeed, there was quite the graveyard of empty TIGI Catwalk Session Series Transforming Dry Shampoo cans.) Once faux strands had been sufficiently sprayed, stylists used load of pins to achieve a truly kooky and unique shape for each model. “It’s maybe the silhouette of a beehive, but the detail and the texture keeps it really modern and fresh and quite young,” said Irwin.

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Chris Benz Does A Kooky Warhol Superstar-Inspired Look

"We want the skin to look lit from within," said celebrity aesthetician Eileen Harcourt backstage at yesterday’s Chris Benz presentation as she cleansed models’ faces using a Clarisonic. Indeed, even the girls know that these special pre-makeup treatments do wonders for their complexion. “We used to notice that the girls used to just drift into Chris Benz,” Harcourt joked. “Now that this is the third or fourth Chris Benz show that we’ve been doing Clarisonic facials, the girls are all here and nobody is late.”

Inspecting the final makeup look, it’s obvious why perfect skin was a must: the bold lip and eye color really needed a smooth, clear canvas to project properly. Lead makeup artist Daniel Martin of Lancome described the inspiration: “The general look is a ’60s influence. Candy Darling was our muse.” The Pop Art influence was readily apparent in the combination of seafoam green shadow and vibrant coral lipstick — Sequence of Love, available next February. While most women would shy away from pairing a statement lip and eye together, Martin had a good tip. “Start with a bright liner rather than an eyeshadow,” he explained. “Keep it close to the lash line so it’s not too obvious and focus more on the lip because it’s more wearable day to day.”

And if you thought the makeup was loud, than the hair was even louder. TIGI's DJ Riggs was supervising voluminous manes making sure they were adequately sized. “The inspiration is the Warhol Superstars,” said Riggs. “We want to keep everything quite wiggy, so in order to achieve that, you really need to use a lot of dry shampoo to add as much texture as possible.” Rigg's method for creating that second-day hair feel: spraying plenty of Session Series Transforming Dry Shampoo, and then setting the top portion of the hair with rollers. The girls with longer hair had the bottom section of their hair braided into a tight bun to help create a poofy bob. When the rollers came out, everyone had their hair brushed out and doused with an ample dose of hairspray post-rollers to really bring the silhouette together. 

—Meredith

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