It’s a two-day event that’s mostly all about one thing: fashion, fashion, fashion! But make no mistake, the annual Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Art’s Fashion Departement graduate show, simply titled #SHOW2017, also delivers on the beauty front. More than a hundred models had to be prepped, primed and made up, ready for their close-up on the seemingly endless catwalk. MAC Cosmetics invited us backstage to catch the madness behind all of that beauty.

Backstage at SHOW2017 (photo: Elien Jansen)

Grognard Genius

Designing a make-up look for a show like this is quite intricate, since most of the models are walking for many different designers and often thematic collections. One face for hundreds of different garments, not an easy task. For years now make-up master Inge Grognard is the woman behind that huge responsibility. Grognard is a true leader in her field, who’s been breaking conventional beauty rules for over 3 decades. She is internationally renowned for her trademark out-of-the-box beauty looks. Her early work with designers such as Martin Margiela, Dries van Noten and AF Vandevorst is noted as the peak of the avant-garde make-up looks that dominated international catwalks and magazine editorials in the nineties and early 2000’s.

Today, Grognard is the go-to make-up artist for that other rule breaker, Demna Gvasalia. He is the founder of Vetements and also the current designer of Balenciaga and an alumni of the Antwerp Royal Academy himself. Last year, Inge’s beauty look for Hood By Air’s PornHub-themed collection went viral. She designed what is perhaps fashion’s most X-rated beauty look to date. She did that by placing Egyptian Magic cream, along with MAC’s Mixing Medium and a theater product called Crystal Clear Ice Makeup, all over the models’ faces. This created the illusion the models had perhaps just finished a shift on the set of a porn flick themselves. With a happy ending proudly sticking on their faces as a badge of honour. So what would she turn out for this year’s Antwerp graduate show?

Clean Glitter

No sperm-like cosmetic substances for the Academy, this year’s look was all about glitter. MAC’s 3D Glitter in Silver to be exact as MAC’s key make-up artist Ines Borgonjon, overseeing all of the looks, explained. Skin was kept clean and neutral with just a hint of brow. So that no attention was taken away from the softly lined eyes, using MAC’s Technakohl Liner in Graphblack. Along with that heavy glitter mixed with Mixing Medium on both the eyelid and lower lash line.

For a couple of collections, models had random dots of bright colors painted on both their faces and bodies, using stencils and a sponge with a mixture of custom pigments. Only exception to the glitter-rule was the graduating master-collection of designer Rushemy Botter. His all-male, all-black cast was made up with just a hint of foundation and a soft golden sheen on the skin using various MAC’s Mineralize Skinfinish powders.

Rushemy Botter’s model (photo: Robin Joris Dullers)

The look felt like a little party all on it’s own. Perhaps that’s what both the fashion and the beauty world need right now, a simple, bright, glittery celebration of creativity. What better place to start that movement than at Antwerp’s Academy graduation show, the absolute authority on unhinged, avant-garde creativity?

Here’s how to recreate the #SHOW2017 look, designed by Inge Grognard, executed by Ines Borgonjon and MAC-team:

MAC Studio Face & Body Foundation

Apply a light layer on clean, moisturized skin and blend-in well, you’ll feel the forumula really setting after working it “into” the skin. Face & Body foundation contains a unique film former, which allows it to stay on in even the most extreme weather conditions (handy on a hot summer day with loads of heavy lights such as #SHOW2017.) Use either a foundation brush or even bare fingers, to really get the most out of the film former.

MAC Matchmaster Concealer & MAC Studio Conceal and Correct Palette

After evening out the skin with foundation, cover-up anything that needs concealing, lightly. Do this with using a small synthetic brush using the pin-point concealing method. If you are going to be photographed, stick to matte formula’s that contain no SPF, as they will not cause camera flashback and stay put longer.

MAC Eyebrow Pencil

Fill in your brows lightly, following the natural shape of your eyebrows, using the Eyebrow Pencil in your own matching shade. Don’t go overboard and keep it clean and well-groomed.

MAC Technakohl Liner in Graphblack

Lightly line your upper lash line with the pencil and get in between the eyelashes. Don’t go too thick or wing out the eyeliner, this look is all about the glitter! Optionally, softly line the lower lash line and waterline as well, if you want a more sultry vibe.

Closeup by make-up artist Ines Borgonjon

MAC Mixing Medium Shine & Glitter in 3D Silver

Mix up a bit of Mixing Medium with the 3D Silver glitters and apply to a clean eyelid, from the root of the lashes all the way up to the socket line, if you’re a real dare-devil or have a not so spacious eyelid, you could even push it all the way up to right underneath your brows. Go underneath the lower lash line and in between the lower lashes if you’ve lined your eyes with the eyeliner before.

MAC In Extreme Dimension Waterproof Mascara

Finish the eye make-up by using the waterproof mascara and massaging it well into the root of the upper lashes and wiggle-out. Pay extra attention to the outer upper lashes and apply just a light coat on the bottom lashes.

MAC Lip Conditioner

No heavy lip for you today! The eyes get all of the attention this time around. A clean, well moisturized lip is achieved by using the clear Lip Conditioner.

MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder

Finish this stand-out look with a bit of powder down the T-zone or wherever you need any extra setting to make sure you’re hard work stays put all day/night. Take a powder compact with you in case you need any touch-ups for when you’re out and about, rocking this eye-catching look.

Photo credits: Robin Joris Dullers, Elien Jansen