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J.Mendel’s Beauty Looks Do Luxury With a Downtown Edge

Backstage at J.Mendel’s Fall/Winter 2016 collections, hairstylist Bob Recine affixed a swatch of magenta foil to a model’s hair beneath a clip so it wouldn’t crease. He buys the foil at a craft store, he explained, because it’s much more interesting to look at than paper. “Backstage has become a show in itself,” he said, so why not make it fun?

It was a fact I hadn’t yet noticed myself, perhaps because I had been so immersed in looking for the images I needed and wanted as models flitted from hair station to makeup station, occasionally followed by a manicurist. We were a sort of circus taking it all in, the herds of us gathered around Beauty.com specialists like Recine and lead makeup artist Romy Soleimani, listening to them as they discussed the beauty looks for J.Mendel’s Fall/Winter 2016 collection with rapt attention.

For Recine, it was a “not so girly, not so serious” ponytail, smoothed down with PHYTO products, just low enough to be casually elegant. “We don’t want to have well-constructed hair,” he said, running his spread fingers through her blonde hair to lightly yet toughly loosen it.

Soleimani’s look captured a moody toughness with an evergreen eyeliner smudged under the bottom lid, a slight gloss over the eyelid sans mascara, a groomed brow and a pale lip tone, all meant to add to J.Mendel’s luxe looks a downtown edge.

Some people filmed their interviews via iPhone, some people snapped pictures, some asked questions, but we all were there, really, for the show. That’s something I hadn’t thought of when I first wrote my introductory piece to Fashion Week this season, that we love this idea of being a part of something greater, even if it’s just to write about or photograph or “social media” it. In a city like New York, everyone is either chasing or finding or embracing a sense of purpose. Maybe Fashion Week is just one way so many of us find ours.

Elyssa Goodman likes words and pictures a lot. She is a Style Consultant at Her Campus, was previously the publication's first Style Editor, and has been with the magazine since its inception in 2009. Elyssa graduated with honors from Carnegie Mellon University, where she studied Professional Writing, Creative Writing, and Photography. As an undergraduate, she founded and was the editor-in-chief of The Cut, Carnegie Mellon's Music Magazine. Originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Elyssa now lives and works in New York City as Miss Manhattan, a freelance writer, photographer, stylist and social media consultant. Her work has appeared in Vice, Marie Claire, New York Magazine, Glamour, The New Yorker, Artforum, Bust, Bullett, Time Out New York, Nerve.com, and many other publications across the globe. Elyssa is also the photographer of the book "Awkwafina's NYC," written by Nora "Awkwafina" Lum. She loves New York punk circa 1973, old-school photobooths, macaroni and cheese, and Marilyn Monroe. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @MissManhattanNY.
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