Backstage MAC Cosmetics – Ruffian

Written by Margaret Blaha

The Ruffian S/S 2014 collection was designed for the upper-crust debutante with a rebellious nature. As Style.com reports, the decade-old brand normally designs for the lady-who-lunches but has taken a turn for the 2014 season to design for her granddaughter—a young woman bored with the conventions of the fashionable world she lives in, much like the woman MAC makeup artist James Kaliardos used as his muse for the line’s runway look, Lady Caroline Blackwood.

Blackwood was born into the famed Guinness dynasty, a family, much like the Kennedys, known to be cursed with the typical maladies of wealthy families: alcoholism, vanity, gambling, brawling. Lady Caroline, herself, descended into a life-long bout with alcoholism. But she was best known for her dark wit and mysterious beauty, which was centered in her large and deeply compelling eyes. And, of course, she was even better known as painter Lucian Freud’s muse after she eloped with him to Paris.

Lady Caroline became ‘the Girl’ in two of Freud’s very prophetic portraits Girl Reading and Girl in Bed. These portraits are melancholy because of their troubled subject, and they succeed in making the viewer feel uncomfortable, though the viewer can never pinpoint exactly why. Girl in Bed places the famous face on display—the deep eyes set in feline features, the long blond hair parted on the side with a sort of Veronica Lake bang over one eye. Although she inspired some of Freud’s work and is described as his muse, she was not just a passive subject of his art. Blackwood was a presence in her own right.

And she’s no muse for Kaliardos, either. It’s more like each model in the show actually radiated from Lady Caroline Blackwood, with their hair parted in the same way and tremendous emphasis placed on their eyes. Using a creamy gray shadow around the eyes and a light pink on the lids, Kaliardos emulates Blackwood’s astonishing large eyes in each model. To further emphasize the eyes, Kaliardos strengthened the brows and added individual lashes to the models’ own mascaraed lashes. These dark eyes were a troubled bad girl edge that was mixed with a good girl image that Kaliardos achieved by giving the models a natural pink lip.

Ruffian’s S/S 2014 show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week was not too prim or too proper. While there were pretty floral blouses in French cotton and well-tailored floral pant suits, that bad girl rebellious air could be found in the biker jackets and edgy skirts that were paired with some of the more feminine blouses. It’s clear that the new Ruffian girl is a wildly complex debutante gone bad. She may appear delicate on the surface, the passive subject or interest of a man’s desire, but she has exceptional wit and intelligence and strength that give her the courage to be a presence in her own right.

Cosmetics Sponsored by M.A.C. www.maccosmetics.com

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