Fashion Week Favorites: A View From Backstage

I just got back from Rosemount Australian Fashion Week in Sydney where I directed the looks for 17 shows from go to whoa.
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I just got back from Rosemount Australian Fashion Week in Sydney where I directed the looks for 17 shows from go to whoa. Maybe I'm biased, but Aussies have always had a strong presence in the fashionverse and this season confirmed it with the presence of international media and high-profile bloggers like Susie Bubble and Jak & Jill's Tommy Ton.

Fashion fuels my brand and I love working with old friends and established players such as Alex Perry and Sabatini, as well as fashion-editor favorites like Dion Lee and Rachel Gilbert to the ones-to-watch like Toni Maticevski. American and European buyers and fashion editors alike see tremendous promise and potential in Australian designers. ELLE magazine's April Long came along for the ride and nominated Carl Kapp, Dion Lee and Toni Maticevski as her favorites. Here are some of mine:

Toni Maticevski: The young Melbourne-based designer turned down an offer to work at Donna Karan and he's truly carved out his own aesthetic. The inspiration behind his collection of impeccably tailored dresses was angelic with an edge, so I decided to keep one part strong and the other soft; a powerful brown smoky eye on the lid was balanced by a soft sweep of iridescent white below the lower lash. The finishing touch: a come-hither lip that I worked by mixing DeVine Goddess Lipstick Andromeda and Lip Pencil Hot Mocha.

Marnie Skillings: With Marnie you can always expect a flirty collection of easy-to-wear feminine pieces, and this season was no exception. To kick things up a notch, Marnie and super-stylist Michelle Jank decided the night before to add embellished hand art (think henna but better) to the makeup brief. After a midnight search for an art store that carried tattoo transfers and a couple hours later, my team and I were meticulously perfecting the hand art for 20 models backstage with the help of Neo Noir Liquid Liner. For this one, the devil was definitely in the detail.

Dion Lee: The 24-year old designer can do no wrong, and he's been wowing the industry since 2009. It was a 4am call time and the second last day of RAFW so the models weren't looking all that fresh-faced. That's what up-before-dawn starts, late nights and multiple makeup changes will do to the skin! To revive those complexions and get that dewy effect, I used plenty of serum and primer and then I let it sit on the face for a couple minutes before putting foundation on. The show took place at the sun-filled Sydney Opera House which was beautiful, but with the combo of magnified sunlight and mirrored cat walk I had to reassess the look to ensure it was strong enough to fight through all that light. April Long deemed it, "futuristic and striking."

Alex Perry: Alex's signature is high-glam, red carpet-worthy dresses (J.Lo's a fan) and his collection of Cuban princess-inspired evening wear didn't disappoint. To compliment that, I focused on an intoxicating eye look. A pop of intense yellow was placed in the corners of the eyes and opened up to a stunning violet with graphic black liner that extended to the temples. Beauty editors loved the look.

Carl Kapp: This designer has hooked celebs like Cate Blanchett, and for good reason. This was my pick for the most wearable yet elegant collection. April agreed -- she'd wear every piece especially those fluid Grecian gowns. The best way to complement the color block was with flawless matte skin (a key trend this season) that had a balletic aesthetic to it.

Rachel Gilbert: I've been watching Rachel's label grow the last couple of seasons and she's really hit her stride this time around. She's definitely is the one to watch. The beauty look was inspired by the celebs who always look impossibly and effortlessly cool even if they've been out until the wee hours. So it was just a couple coats of mascara and flawless blending everywhere else. It had the Kates (that's Moss and Bosworth) written all over it.

Who doesn't love a Twiggy-esque lash effect? For this look, I doubled up the lashes on top and applied just one strip to the bottom. The face was about the prettiest porcelain doll complexion with a deep burgundy lip. The final touch: a drawn on beauty mark to create a Boardwalk Empire twist. I like to call it, "a fusion of decades."