I had a quick chat with designer Marnie Skillings in the moments before her show yesterday afternoon. Anyone who has ever been part of pre-catwalk chaos knows what a rare kind of thing that really is. Minutes before go-time everyone is supposed to be somewhat stressed. It’s okay to lose it a little.
But Skillings was totally together. “I’m really excited. It’s all come together so beautifully,” she beamed. Even down to the tiny beauty details …
“I had a really clear vision of what I wanted every little thing to look like,” she explained as models slipped into her landscape-inspired prints in bottlebrush red and ‘Blue-Tac blue’.
So I had to know: what’s with the electric bandit eyes? “It came from Malcolm McLaren’s ‘Buffalo Gals’ [music video] from the 80s and the way the girls had a stripe across their eyes,” Skillings grinned. “I had a girlfriend who was so crazy about it she’d tape on a black strip.
“I wanted that sort of urban gang look, but black wasn’t right. I’m really proud of being an Australian designer, so I wanted some real Australiana in there and I thought about coloured zinc when it first came out. That’s where I got the red and blue.”
Skillings was also having a patriotic moment when she asked hairstyling supremo Jayne Wild to give the models tidemarked blonde extensions. “It’s coastal culture,” she laughed. “I have almost got that grown-out blonde look myself right now!”
The final, and most wearable, beauty accessory sprang straight from Skillings’ imagination too. “For the nails, I had this great image of cracked desert earth, but I wanted something glamorous as well,” she explained. “I sent the picture to CND and they brilliantly, along with my stylist, came up with this really epic, slightly gnarled, glamorous look. It looks beautiful.”
And sexily expensive. CND‘s nail technician Cherie Pollard told me that these nails were glitzed with 24-karat gold leaf. “It’s been applied in bits rather than whole sheets so it has a crinkled texture,” she said.
It looked every bit as luxe close up as on the catwalk, so I asked Pollard how to get the gilt factor for myself. “You can get the gold foil from Spotlight or an art store,” she explained. “You just apply a gold enamel like Crowned from the CND Imperial Anarchy Collection, then Air Dry Top Coat, then the gold foil,” she explained. “Seal it with Air Dry Top Coat for a shiny finish.”
Love it. If only other expensive-looking gold accessories came so easy, huh?
RAFW beauty: Marnie Skillings
Photography by Kate Moffatt from beautydirectory.com.au