News – Goes Behind the Scenes with MAC Cosmetics for the Opening Night of San Francisco Fashion Week, August 23, 2007

Published in: MAC Makeup, News

MAC fans, ever wonder what goes on back stage when MAC does makeup for fashion shows? We’ve got the skinny here on!

Last night was the opening night of San Francisco Fashion Week 2007, so tagged along with the MAC makeup team to find out what really goes on backstage. MAC is sponsoring the makeup for all three nights, so I tried to do my best impression of your friendly neighborhood silent (but deadly) beauty blogging ninja! Armed with a big-ass camera and a voice recorder, I did my best to capture all of the backstage happenings just for you!


The show started at 8:00, but prepping takes hours. Key MAC makeup artists Victor Cembellin and Louise Zizzo started working their makeup mojo at 3:00, but yours truly arrived a lil’ late at 6:00 because I had to finish an editorial memo on the beauty book I’m editing and I got stuck in traffic. I still managed to observe lots of the action, and when I got to the hair and makeup tent the MAC team was in full force.

A few clips of the runway show

Plenty o’ Retro-Inspriation
At last night’s dinner Victor hinted that we’d be seeing a lot of retro-inspired looks, and it was evident in the three looks I watched them create for the Emerging Stars, Vian Hunter and Genevieve Primavera shows.

My Favorite Backstage Look – Blacktrack with Green Liquidlast on Top
Here’s my favorite, created by MAC for designer Vian Hunter. Louise first demonstrated the look on a model while the assistant MAC makeup artists watched. Side note: All of the MAC makeup artists had SUPER HOT makeup on! I could’ve spent all evening just taking pictures of them but I had a job to do, yo.

The Vian Hunter look was very 60s-sophisticated-society-lady-that-lunches, and was all about the eyes. The lid was covered in a solid layer of Blacktrack Fluidliner, and to make it really pop Louise layered a line of color on top of the Blacktrack by applying Greenplay Liquidlast Liner! So hot!

Louise on the look: “The look is kind of icy, dusty roses and almost holiday inspired. We wanted to do something that would show that side of [Vian Hunter’s] collection. Rather than just doing a black liner with icy cheeks and lips, we mixed it up a little bit [with the Liquidlast liner on top]. It’s also all about the lashes. With lashes on the bottom and on the top, it has a 60s feel to it. [The model] has on pink cream base on her cheeks and on her lips. Also on her cheeks she has Luna cream base. And there’s a little dusting of Frozen White Pigment on her lips, to give her a holographic, icy, reflective look.”


What It’s Like in the Tent
I then managed to squeeze myself into a group of MAC artists watching Victor demonstrate the look for the Genevieve Primavera show. And when I say squeeze I mean squeeze. The tent is long, narrow and crowded, so everyone – models, makeup, artists, hair stylists, friendly neighborhood beauty bloggers with big ole’ bums (ahem) – was packed in tight like sardines. Despite the fact that it was so hectic and tightly packed there was a real flow to the energy and the efficiency of the makeup artists. The MAC team is focused and intense, yet still very friendly, even when your bum accidentally bumps into an artist or two while they apply liner on a model. Oops.

A Spacy 60s Runway Look – Silver Lids and Black Lined Eyes
The Genevieve Primavera look also did a nod to the 60s. Again, the focus was on the eye, with a silver lid and dark black liner applied around the entire eye and in the crease.

Victor on the look: “Basically [the designer] wanted to do something like Edie Sedgwick and Audrey Hepburn – but in Space! It’s sort of futuristic, taking elements from the 60s and elements from Barbie and futurizing them. We’ll be doing black liquid eyeliner into the contour, and full on Silver Metal Pigment on the eyelid. It’s going to look off-the-hook crazy.”

The lids were the stand out feature. Victor mixed Silver Metal Pigment with Fix+ to create a runny metal liquid that looked like mercury. Kinda scary in a Terminator II-esque way, yet very pretty.

Red Runway Lips
Louise prepped the last look for the “Emerging Stars” show. This look was very classic, with intense red lipstick and neutral eyes.


MAC Touchups Behind the Runway

Louise then let me tag along with her as she left the tent to go backstage to prep the Emerging Stars models right before they hit the runway. The girls all wore black dresses, and with all of the tied back hair and the red lips I felt like I was magically transported into a Robert Palmer video circa 1986. For some bizarre reason I felt the need to be holding an electric guitar.

I then found Victor in a tiny closet just off the runway doing some last-minute fixes on the models for the Pink Elf show. Pink Elf is one of my favorite designers from the 2006 SF Fashion Week show, which I watched from the nosebleed seats in the audience. I had to literally pinch myself after I took these shots because it finally hit me that I was getting to see and do something I would have never dreamed of when I was sitting in the audience last year.

We Make it into the Photography Pit!
There are unwritten laws when it comes to fashion shows, and one of them is that apparently they never start on time. Fellow beauty blogger Christine M. from and I staked out a place at the end of the runway right next to the platform where all of the “official” photographers park. And I waited. And waited. And waited. During that time I got bitched out by a photographer for not having a press pass because I was a blogger, and technically not supposed to be there. I kept lurking next to the platform like a stalker, so when the show began I just started taking pictures like crazy and waited for someone official to kick my ass out. Luck was on my side though, when one of the “official” photographers actually invited me to stand next to him within the designated press area.
When you are right in the middle of the photographers you can hear all of the click-click-clicking of the cameras going off and it’s surprisingly really loud. The energy that flowed once the photographers got to work was similar to the MAC artists backstage – focused, with an undercurrent of intensity. You feel them leaning with you as you take pictures, and the clicking of the cameras turns into this symphony of sound and light. It was really amazing. I actually ended up staying there and taking pics for the entire show!

A Few Runway Pictures



A Vian Hunter model serves it up.

A pretty red Vian Hunter dress.

Remember Becky, the model Victor worked on for the Genevieve Primavera look?


A closeup of the Genevieve Primavera look on the runway.

A closeup of a Vian Hunter model. If you look closely you can see a hint of the Liquidlast on her upper lash line.

Another runway look from Genevieve Primavera.

One of my favorite pics from the runway. I got really lucky with this one.

When the models made it to the end of the runway, I tried hard to look for specific elements that the MAC artists used for each of the designers. Even though I was so close, I couldn’t always see the detailing that I know the makeup artists put so much hard work into just hours before. But that could’ve also been because I was stressed about being kicked out at any moment. The bolder elements really popped on the runway though, like the silver eyes for Genevieve Primavera, the heavy Blacktrack lid for Vian Hunter, and the red lips for Emerging Stars.


It was a fantastic experience. I’m exhausted, but so happy. What makes it even better is that I get to share it with ya’ll.

I’ll be there again tonight, so when you’re not busy getting your drank on at the open bar please come by and say hello!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Extra special thanks to Heather Park of MAC, who hooked this up all for She worked it out the entire night in high heels and still managed to have a smile on her face. Thanks girl!


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So far, 4 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Christine says:

    Can’t wait to hear what happens tonight 😉

  2. Karen says:

    Hi Christine, I didn’t stay for the shows but backstage they cooked up some GORGEOUS looks. Lots of shimmer, glitter and reflective products on the lids. Wish you were there =) I can’t wait to see your pics!

  3. J-Money says:

    Amazing!! I’ll see you tonight.

  4. kia says:

    great pics!

    you are editing a beauty book???????????

    am i pro cuz i use the back of my hand as a palette too? 😉

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