CHROMAT FALL/WINTER 2015

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CHROMAT is undoubtedly one of the most interesting brands showing at NY Fashion Week. Their shows are never just ‘models walking down a runway’. They’re a unique spectacle, showcasing some of the most innovative, and architectural clothing of the week. Who else uses glowing LCD lights strapped onto models’ clothing, and foreheads? No one.

Designer Becca McCharen keeps things fresh by reimagining and reinterpreting Chromat’s original cage lingerie and body garments in new ways each season. For fall, that included the addition of feathers, 3d printed jewelry, and more swimwear.

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THOM BROWNE S/S 2014

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Thom Browne’s shows fall into that rare category of “what on Earth could I possibly say to do this justice” style events. Maybe in the future when memories can be downloaded, and relived by others via virtual reality, could someone who didn’t see it firsthand understand what it’s like to experience one of his shows. Which are not really just shows– but a spectacle.

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I arrived early enough to catch the makeup test. Which left a lot of the waiting press…surprised after catching their first glimpse.

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At this point, most of us were left wondering “what is going to happen during this show?!” But more on that later. 😉

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I also caught many of the finishing touches being put onto the clothing in the collection. Which had so much impeccable detail (as always!) that I had to remind myself I wasn’t in Paris, backstage at a couture show.

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Back to the “unusual” makeup for the show:

To break it down in the most simple way, one could say there were two looks for the show. The “nurses” and the “patients”. That’s right, the show’s main point of inspiration was an insane asylum.

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A nurse gets her makeup painted on.

The distinguishing looks breakdown as follows:
Nurses: “normal” face makeup, red lips, “normal” hair, topped off with a white snood.
Patients: “crazy” smeared makeup, wild bird’s nest hair, topped with a red snood.

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A patient.

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The full makeup instructions, straight from the source– MAC’s Sil Bruinsma:
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The key was the imperfect smudging of all the patients’ looks, to truly capture that crazed feeling. Nurses= same makeup, not smudged.

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Hair, by Bumble and Bumble’s Jimmy Paul continued with the nurse and patient theme, showcasing “normal and crazy” once again.

Nurses hair was teased, but otherwise kept mostly natural in appearance, then coated with a dusting of Bumble and Bumble white hair powder. Thom Browne S-S 2014-40

For the patients’ hair, the following steps were used:
Hair was doused with Surf Spray, then dried, and teased BIG. To add volume to the looks of models with finer hair, donuts were placed on top of the head, then covered with more teased hair. The look was then finished off with white Hair Powder.

The finished look:
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After hair and makeup was completed, I got to investigate many pieces of the collection up close.

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Supposedly these cats were “strangled by the pearls” of their insane mistress.

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A sketch artist’s work backstage.

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Getting into character.

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Thom at work.

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Note the anchors on the collar– the show also had a slight nautical theme.

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The show itself was definitely a unique experience. Starting about 40 minutes late, after nearly an hour of the pre-show jack-in-the-box-esque creepy musical soundtrack, many of those in the audience felt as if they too were being slowly driven insane. But it was sooo worth it.

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It was long, and it was creepy, and weird. But unlike anything else I’d ever seen at NYFW. Or really anywhere, ever. I can only describe it as Sleep No More meets One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest meets Queen Elizabeth’s court. Happening in slow motion, under flickering light bulbs, complimented by another bizarre soundtrack of meowing cats and toy instruments.

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The models all perfected the “I am dosed out of my mind on psychiatric drugs, now where the hell am I?” look. Meanwhile the nurses were passing out candy “pills” to show-goers.

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Designer Thom Browne.

In the end: it was the most original, and slightly disturbing show I saw all week. And I loved it!

See the full photo set here.

All Photos and Content ®2013-2014 Rachel Scroggins/The Greyest Ghost