Oscar De La Renta Proves a Bold Red Lip Never Fails

Oscar De La Renta Proves a Bold Red Lip Never Fails

"Energy. Femininity. Glamour!" exclaimed makeup artist Tom Pecheux backstage at Oscar De La Renta. His words echoed the evening's "party collection" theme as models walked down a makeshift runway at the New York Public Library.

Starting with a series of color-blocked daywear options such as roomy coats and wide-legged trousers, the show slowly transitioned towards muted herringbone skirt suits and chunky sweaters embroidered with floral motifs. But in keeping with its "party" spirit, a range of pouffy dresses, exploding prints and fantastical feathers quickly took over. Remember Scarlett Johansson's OdlR dress at the Oscars last Sunday? Some versions of it were reinterpreted throughout the lineup, including a black high-slit number with a see-through bodice.

As for beauty, the party started on the lips, as powerful shades of red took centre stage. "Well you know, what is beautiful remains beautiful," Pecheux told PAPER backstage. "Once in a while, what people call classic, other people will call it a trend. I think for me, red lipstick is forever. It's not much to do with the lipstick itself, but how you play around with it. You can do everything, but the beauty of the red lip, it's very powerful. You can dress it or undress it, and create a different personality. It's almost like in fashion, when you have a bad dress, you make up for it with the red lip."

And he made sure that between the evening's bling, embellishments, and feathered outfits on display, the tiny pop of red made a statement, keeping the rest of the makeup extremely minimal. "The makeup is quite minimal but powerful," he explained. "So the entire face is very fresh with no makeup, but beautiful skin, a matte satin finish, eyebrows groomed but not made — the kind you can take care of but in a very natural way. Barely any contour, no highlight--just to give a bit of definition. Curled lashes and the only focus with the femininity and the glamour will be the lip, which was topped with a red orange gloss. So there is a purity, there is a freshness, there is the youth of the face. Then because there is nothing around, the lip is taking all the volume." To create the grand lip, Pecheux switched between the Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolor by MAC and The Patent Paint Red Enamel.

Meanwhile, hairstylist Odile Gilbert complemented the intense focus on the lip by keeping the hair sleek but straightforward. But that also meant staying true to the models' unique hair textures and colors.

"Here's the other thing, a lot of shows, they've been — it's been about the individual," Michelle Clark, Senior National Artist at MAC told PAPER. "It's been about 'oh this girl's got this type of hair, this girl's got this, they've got more of like an individualistic look.' With this one, we wanted to go back to what it was. All the same, super sleek, very straight hair, and then same with the lip. Every model, no matter the skin tone, is the same color."

But towards the end of the evening, the understated glamour of the red lip and all the other vibrant colors on the runway pointed toward a larger message at the heart of the collection: joy and happiness. "I don't know, you look at [the OdlR] collection and you say, 'Huh, it's gonna be a fucking good winter,'" Pecheux laughed. "And that's why there is in the world of Oscar De La Renta, and even in their joy, there is always sophistication no matter what. And I just think of the red lipstick as an iconic song of joy."

Photo courtesy of Luca Cannonieri for MAC Cosmetics