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by Alex Brzezicka

We deep dive backstage of David Koma’s fashion show to steal the secret of Illamasqua's’ million-dollar make-up look.

This season London Fashion Week got itself the goal to bounce back from lockdown stagnation and bring on some of that fun fashion frenzy. The bigger the scale, the better. David Koma – whose name you might recognise as the coveted designer worn by the likes of Beyonce and Kendall Jenner for over a decade now – went beyond usual expectations. Despite most clubs still being closed, feeding off everyone’s thirst to go out and boogie the night away, he created a collection for post-pandemic party animals. Only this time, the dancefloor might be a lil bit slippery as the presentation took place at London Aquatics Centre, right in the middle of the Olympic Pool.

Inspired by vintage sportswear, Bond films and with a muse of Australian professional swimmer, Annette Kellerman, David redefined modern glam. SS22 Koma’s girls sport semi-sheer sculptural dresses in zesty, popping colours, covered with crystal embellishments and sequins. They don’t shy away from showing some skin through sleek cut-outs.

The collection clashes contemporary with classical in splashy, future-forward and pool-ready silhouettes finished with glossy make-up designed by Illamasqua’s team. “The inspiration comes from the movie ‘Million Dollar Mermaid’. Models were made to look like they have just come back from a dip in the pool,” says Illamasqua’s Pablo Rodriguez.

Obsessed with the looks and dying to recreate this wet, wild fantasy at home, we caught Pablo behind the scenes of David Koma’s show to talk us through the process of preparing the looks and ethos behind the brand.

What’s your role at Illamasqua?

I’m the Director of Artistry. My name is Pablo Rodriguez. I do a lot of different things. One of them is being the brand ambassador so I do what I’m doing with you now, socializing. I talk about the brand. I do editorials and fashion shows using Illamasqua products. Also, I’m very involved with product development: designing the products and putting collections together. All of that.

What is the concept behind the make-up for David Koma’s collection?

The inspiration for the collection was a 1950s musical, one with girls are in the swimming pool, with synchronized swimming. Very glamourous. We took that idea for the make-up. What I did is to prepare the skin with a setting primer so that already gives a little bit of shine. Then we used a highlighter that we call ‘Gleam’ from Illamasqua. This adds extra shine to the skin. To get that wet look we’ve used gloss. Starting with the eyes, after you do the skin, you do a little bit of thin liner on the lash line. From far away it makes lashes look thicker. Then lots of mascara, bottom and top. This is Infinite Masquara from Illamasqua. With the gloss, you just put it everywhere. It’s very laminated, lacking eyebrows look. You put the gloss on the eyelid, eyebrows and lips and then highlighter on the skin. When they moved the head, you can see how it catches the light. As if they’re drenched with water.  

How does the make-up correspond with clothes?

When you’ll see the collection, you going to see that it’s very much inspired by Bond girls, like they’ve been scuba diving and are on the way to kill someone. It’s very fun. It’s very sexy. There’s a lot of references to that kind of sportswear. It makes sense to have girls super-hydrated, natural and not with a lot of make-up. There’s just a bit of eyeliner and mascara but apart from that, there isn’t any other colour.

What makes Illamasqua stand out from other beauty brands?

There are many things. It’s very much colour-based. There’s a really wide spectrum of colours and formulas. Also, it’s all vegan. We’re not testing on animals. It’s really good quality. That’s very important to us. Get the colours right, get something that works for all skin tones and at the same time, it’s vegan and cruelty-free. It ticks all the boxes.

Yes, if you want to attract people, especially Gen Z, you need to have that kind of strong ideology behind the brand.

That’s something that I get asked all the time: which ones are vegan? All of them. To be honest, at the moment, all the new ones that we did in the last three years, are all vegan. The ones that are not, we’re just changing the formula to make them vegan.

Products used for the look:

Beyond Foundation RRP £33

Loaded Lip Polish ‘Glaze’ RRP £16 (used on the skin, eyelids, eyelashes, eyebrows and lips)

Skin Base Concealer Pen RRP £24

Satin Primer RRP £28

Infinite Masquara RRP £20

Illustrator Pen RRP £21

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