Grazia Daily’s backstage blog from Vivienne Westwood!

06 March 2010

Yesterday afternoon, Grazia Daily snuck backstage at the Vivienne Westwood Gold Label show in Pariee to bring you all the magic as it happens. Due to, er, technical difficulties, we couldn't bring you the scoop live but that does not mean we'd keep all the juicy goings on, insider pictures and video footage from one of the hottest tickets during Paris Fashion Week all to ourselves. Oh no. So sit back, enjoy and get carried away by the excitement of it all. We sure did!

Grazia has just arrived at Halle Freyssinet, 55 Boulevard Vincent Auriol, Paris for the Vivienne Westwood show. WE. CAN’T. WAIT!

Hair god Sam McKnight is already in full swing. But why so quiet today Sam? Well, get this for some last minute drama - just ten minutes before kick-off, he lost a tooth when eating a chicken sandwich. We kid you not. Those things can be LETHAL! We’re staying well clear.

But we’ve just spotted one thing that we certainly WILL be stashing in our bags - this ingenious flask designed by the Dame herself. “Act FAST, SLOW down” it screams in bright text. Never one to miss out on the chance to get political, our Viv. So yeah, we should be appreciating the ecological seriousness of the slogan but honestly we’re just chuffed to have a designer water bottle. How cool? Wonder how much it’d sell for on ebay… Ehem, we digress.

There’s no slowing down over in Camp Beauty where make-up maestro Val Garland is transforming models into fantastical, fairytale characters. The eyes are smouldering with black eyeshadow, the skin is luminious and pale, the lips are colour popping and cartoon-like. Dramatic eyes AND strong lips? Surely that’s a beauty no no. But not in Westworld world where just about anything goes.

Neon pink powder is patted over the lips and a black overdrawn lip line frames them. The finishing touch is a quirky squiggle at the bottom. Yep, there’s always a twist when it comes to Vivienne, and of course we love her for it. In fact, it’s basically the best beauty look we’ve seen yet.

Meanwhile, Sam’s working on the first of two key hair looks: the feminine bob. Here’s how he’s doing it…


 - To add texture and body to the hair, Sam applies pretty much a WHOLE BOTTLE of Pantene Volume and Body mousse, stroking it through then lightly scrunching. It’s time to clear a space on your beauty shelf: there’s a new hero in town. It's as miraculous as George's Marvellous Medicine, or so we're told...

- To dry the mousse into the hair, Sam uses not one but two blow dryers at full throttle. No brush is required at this point, just a rough tousling between the fingers (don’t panic, Sam’s not a three-handed superhuman - his assistant is there to help).

- It’s time for the plaiting! The top layer of hair is divided into sections to create five narrow braids. Wow, this guy is speedy. If there was a hair plaiting Olympics, he would so win. Ooo we would LOVE to see that!

- The braids are hairspray-ed for endurance and clamped between GHDs to set. They’re literally being grilled and we can almost hear the sizzling. To speed up the process, Sam recommends wrapping the braids in tin foil to really get ‘em cooking. Oo it’s all going a bit Jamie Oliver

- This crimping malarkey is reminding us of SS10 when the trend popped up at DVF and Narcisso Rodriguez. Could this mean waffle textured hair is here to stay? This makes us excited, and a little bit scared. We never were overly adept with the old crimper…

- After taking the braids out, Sam gives the hair a brush to create a head of wispy fluff then ties it into a loose ponytail at the nape of the neck. Keeping it tight at the top, the pony is rolled under and fastened with pins. It’s the perfect way to create a bob sans scissors. Chic chic chic! A few loose strands are pulled out to achieve that undone elegance, et voila! ‘Princess Charming’ is ready for action.

Yikes! POWER CUT! All the lights are out, the hair dryers whiz to a stand still, people are pretty much screeching. It’s absolute pandemonium. Will the mission be aborted?

All of a sudden, two frantic electricians appear out of nowhere and after some swift fiddling, we’re back in action. Praise be. The show must go on, people!

Now last season, we saw Pixie Geldof’s signature stomp on the catwalk and the likes of Daisy Lowe, Pamela Anderson and, er, Lisa from Big Brother have strutted their stuff for Dame Viv. So who’s walking this season? So far we’ve spotted Ranya Mordanova and Juana Berga (above). How lovely does Juana look? Very lovely, we think. Plus, she was super sweet when asking to use Grazia's pen and started complaining about how the French accent is so difficult to understand. So they ARE real humans after all! But our absolute fave has to be Queeny Van der Zande (try saying that after a few glasses of champagne..). She really is quite pretty. Ok fine, she’s down right GORGEOUS! Behold her beauty below. Sigh. We want her face. And her hair. And her legs...

But O to the M to the G! SIX models are still a no-show and the clock is ticking. Panic is setting in… Where ARE they?! This is nail-biting stuff.

Hurrah! We spot Neil Young, Grazia Daily’s honorary blogger, beavering away so we stop by for a chat. He’s been working non-stop this season and has created a gazillion beauty looks. So which trend should we be working come Autumn? “There’s the new nude make-up," Neil explains. "It’s not nude anymore, it’s like a sephia photograph using toffees, caramels and honey tones.” We’ll be writing that one down.

Wait! Is that a beautiful boy we spy? And is he walking round in a dress?!

No no, it’s just a female model made up to look like a boy, complete with moustache and yellowed cheeks. We’re coming to realise the main theme for the show: androgyny. Girls are imitating boys. Or is it boys imitating girls? It’s all getting rather confusing so we pop back to Sam to get the low down on the masculine look…

-    The inspiration for this dramatic bob is Prince Charming - but from a twisted fairytale in the land of Westwood. We feel a tad sorry for the model whose beautiful long hair is being hacked away at. Until we’re told it’s a wig. Phew. We’re sure you’ll agree that the pageboy-meets-Medieval-Prince style is tough to pull off…

-    This look tells us that geometric styles are set to be big this season and the blunt fringe is still in. When I suggest us mere mortals could recreate it with a pair of scissors, Sam isn’t keen. This is NOT one to try at home, ok kids? Although let’s be honest. After a glass – or three - of wine, it’s bound to happen... Sam suggests adding a false fringe instead. Oh ok.

-    While the master is at work, we want to know what it’s like to work with the Dame. “It’s always great fun to work with Viv," Sam gushes. "She’s always got a strong point of view and pretty much lets you run with it.” One down, 25 girls to go…

Speaking of Vivienne and her many fans, remember when Grazia Daily caught up with Naomi Campbell backstage at the Red Label show during LFW? Do we dare hope that she’ll make a guest appearance today? Or maybe Viv’s pal Kate will drop by? We’re crossing all crossables that ONE supermodel will turn up. Or at least Pammie. Pleeease…

What’s going on with the nails, we hear you ask? We’re told they’re “inspired by abstract art so it looks as if the nails have been shut in the door.” Owch! How to create this bruised nail effect? Use a dark brown varnish to paint on a half moon effect at the base of the nail then add on a few speckles, finished off with a coat of clear varnish. Easy (ish).  

Right, it’s time for a nosey at the clothes. We wiggle through a pack of security guards and spy a rail of full skirts, billowing dresses, psychedelic patterns and clashing colours. Classic Westwood chaos. Yum.

One of the designer’s favourite themes – class – is another big inspiration this season. We’ve spotted extravagant rags and blanket coats hanging beside a feminine floral dress of frou frou layers and a rich golden gown fit for a Queen. Then there’s a tramp-like hat perched next to a colourful crown. Vivienne has created a real hodgepodge of delights.

Ooo so many goodies to play with! There are belts galore – leopard print, sequinned, thick and thin. Yes please! We’ve even seen a pair of stripey braces for a pair of high waisted trousers. Tres dapper.

The jewellery is super extravagant too. We’re like a hoard of magpies cooing over the sparkles.

We’re usually melting backstage but this room - which can be best described as a breeze-blocked warehouse (hmm glamourous) – is FREE-ZING! The models are heading back to Sam’s team to warm their little tootsies with hairdryers. Bless. We wonder if anyone would notice if we slipped into that enormous coat hanging on the rail…

It's time to place your bets on who'll be appearing on the FROW. Rumours are flying around that Beth Ditto will be here. Please say it's true!

It’s time for the rehearsal, girls. Names are being screeched, girls are running, the producer is banging her head against a clipboard. But within a matter of seconds, a model line-up is ready to stride onto the catwalk to the sounds of the Wedding March. Craze-tastic!


It's a great chance to see the models working their own clothes. Although it is unlikely that the girl in the enormous floral frock arrived wearing that...

The finale song is ‘If You Could Read My Mind’ by Gordon Lightfoot (made famous by irreverent show ‘Trigger Happy TV'). The lyrics describe a failing hero… How fitting.

Hang on, what’s that mop of flame-like hair atop a pair of oversized white glasses emerging through a wall of 6 foot models? Is that..? Could it be…? It is! Vivienne is in the building, people! Must act cool.

Vivienne tells us about the opening piece – a boxy black asymmetric jacket with oversized shoulders, “That proportion reminds me of a boy in a pantomime…so it gave me the idea of fairy tales.” Viv explains that rich, romantic Medieval costumes and paintings also inspired the collection, as well as boys playing girls back in the day, which explains all those painted on moustaches half the models have been sporting. It’s conclusive proof that Vivienne is a master of mayhem and we want her to be our Fairy Godmother.

And with that, we’re being ushered out of the backstage area as the final countdown begins. We’re taking our seats to watch the result of this major production. And 3...2...1... Showtime!

Watch below...

by Jessica Vince in Paris


All posts must obey the house rules, if you object to any comments please let us know and we'll take the appropriate action.