The red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival is one of the most talked about and photographed red carpets in the film and fashion calendar. Anyone who's anyone dresses to impress and looks like a superstar. And walking this red carpet myself as a professional international model, I of course had to make sure I looked a million dollars too...or in today's economy a billion dollars!!! Hopefully from the photos you've seen online already you'll say I successfully achieved this! I felt I did "because I'm worth it"!!! And before you get any ideas about me, no that's not me being over-confident - even though confidence is undoubtedly a huge accessory that should always be worn! You see, for those of you who did not pick up on it, I was referencing L'Oréal seeing that they were the official make-up sponsors of the Cannes Film Festival, and I too used many of their products when getting red carpet ready! So before I say anymore, I'm guessing you're now just wanting to get the inside scoop on my red carpet look... Well read on for some of my tips, tricks and little secrets...
In my last post all about my Cannes Film Festival experience, I told you a bit about my pre-Cannes regime, and so today I'll just focus on the day of my red carpet walk, starting first with my make-up as, for me, no look is ever complete without perfect skin, eyes and lips...that's the make-up artist in me talking there! You see as both a model and make-up artist, I know my face even better than the back of my hand... I know every flaw that needs concealing and every feature that needs highlighting and enhancing. Because of this, I've got doing my own make-up down to a fine art! But in saying this, it doesn't mean that I don't like to change up my look ever. You see I believe that after applying a proper base, i.e. concealer, foundation, powder etc, any look is possible! And there's nothing I love more than when I've got all my cosmetic palettes and brushes in front of me, and I'm just free to be creative and artistic with my own face! Of course I also enjoy other make-up artists doing my make-up when I model for photoshoots and fashion shows, as I love that they often come up with a look and style that I wouldn't have necessarily have used on myself, therefore giving me a different edge! But for the Cannes red carpet, I wanted to be both the model and make-up artist, as walking the red carpet and doing a red carpet make-up look was going to be a double dream-come-true!
So on to my make-up application... First and foremost though, I recommend a great skincare regime as after all an artist always needs a clean canvas on which to work. I especially love Simple products as they're kind and gentle to my skin as well as being very effective... But more on my daily skincare in another post! Ok...so when starting, I first sweep off the hair from my face by wearing a headband...there's nothing worse than hair falling over your face and getting in the way of your foundation or at the crucial moment when you're doing an eyeliner flick! Once this is done, I find a mirror where there is the best possible light! At home my bathroom mirror and beauty area is amazing, but finding good lighting in a hotel room can be tricky as lighting is often too dim! In this case I often find myself running between the mirror in the hotel bathroom and bedroom to see my make-up from all lights, artificial and natural, and all angles...who thought applying make-up could be great exercise too!
Now then, when applying my base, I like to create a flawless matte complexion for my skin as I find this not only photographs brilliantly but also lasts incredibly well...we wouldn't want melting make-up dilemmas or dramas on the red carpet after all! I personally don't do Kim Kardashian style contouring on my face as I find that if I just conceal and highlight, I can still achieve a sculptured look! I use both the palest No. 7 liquid and solid concealers, especially under my eyes, and then L'Oréal's Infallible foundation in shade 120 Vanilla which is a pale colour with slightly warm tones. This foundation enhances my complexion as I don't personally suit the brown, tanned and bronzed look, and so I like to bring out the warmth in my skin tone whilst still being pale... This is why I have often been compared to a 'porcelain doll' or 'Snow White'! Also a trick I use with my foundation is that I always use a little Simple moisturiser in it too to soften the coverage and to make it easier to apply. And just so you know, I personally don't use a foundation brush on my face as I find I can get a more even coverage by just using my fingers to rub it in and smooth it into my skin. But of course for a client, I can achieve flawless results using foundation brushes and blenders! Also, a tip here is to make sure you draw down your foundation from your face, blending it over the jawline and on to your neck as you don't want a different toned face and neck!
After my foundation, I then use Rimmel's Stay Matte powder in two shades (003 Peach Glow and 002 Pink Blossom) and pat this into my face with a powder puff to set the foundation. Why two shades you may ask?... Well the one closest to my skin tone when the foundation is applied, 003 Peach Glow, is for my whole face and neck, while the lighter one, 002 Pink Blossom, is to further eliminate any under eye shadows. I find for me that this powder does not cause the dreaded red carpet white make-up flash faux-pas, but always test this for yourself before any event as everyone's skin contains different components, pigments and chemicals etc, and can react to make-up products differently. Finally, to add the last touch to my flawless finish, I use Max Factor's Facefinity compact foundation in shade 1 Porcelain as this just smooths out my skin beautifully. As it just blends so well into the skin, I find this is also the perfect product for touch-ups on the night. Plus as the compact comes with a mirror too, it has to be a must-have evening bag essential!
Once my standard base for my make-up is then complete, I can then set about creating my look for my eyes. Now for my red carpet look, I got my inspiration for my eye make-up from my gold Temraza red carpet gown! You see Temraza is an Egyptian based designer, and as both the gold colour of the dress and its the bodice top were very Egyptian inspired, I wanted my eye make-up to reflect this... Egyptian make-up is all about strong, bold, statement eyes after all! As I was wearing this look on a red carpet rather than for an editorial photo shoot though, I had to tone down my idea by making my look more wearable and less like Elizabeth Taylor in 'Cleopatra' or Katy Perry in the 'Dark Horse' music video! So to accomplish this, I focused on using dark eye shadows in blacks, browns, bronzes and golds and blending these with my Royal and Langnickel eye make-up brushes. By doing this, my eyes still had depth and impact, but just without the definite hard line often seen in Egyptian make-up looks.
So in terms of techniques, I first drew my eye liner line against my lash line and flicked it out using a black kohl pencil from L'Oréal. I also put this under my eyes leaving about a millimetre or so gap from the lashes. I only drew it from about half way along the middle of my under eyes to the outer corner though. I also slightly widened the gap between the line and lashes as I approached the outer corner to make my eyes appear bigger. Now the reason I use eyeliner prior to any eye shadow is because doing this helps the pigments of shadow to cling to the eye and stay on, thereby adding intensity to your look. Plus it also gives a framework for your eyeshadow too.
Ok so now on to my eyeshadow... First of all I pressed in a dark grey/black shadow from the Max Factor duo Star Studded Black into the sockets to accentuate my eyes. And just so you know, this Max Factor duo is an essential product in my daily make-up bag, and so that's why I have decanted this and put it into a Z palette. This can be seen in the photo of my make-up. For those of you who don't know what a Z palette is though, I will enlighten you here! ...It is basically an empty metallic lined palette into which you can put in and mix and match some of your favourite shadows from different brands. They come in all different sizes and so in the little black one that I use daily, I just keep my the Max Factor Star Studded Black duo, along with another Max Factor eye shadow duo in Supanova Peals, as well as two pigments for my eyebrows from MUD and Le Maq, and my favourite Rimmel mono blusher - more to follow on my eyebrows and blusher in a bit!
Anyway, back to doing my eyeshadow... After applying it to my eye sockets, I then blended it out using browns, bronzes and golds from my Sleek and L'Oréal palettes. The pigmentation in these is very intense and strong, meaning I definitely could do a beautiful smoky eye using these! To achieve this, I used a range of different sized eye shadow blending brushes, focusing on using the gold shadows in the inner corner of my eyes to highlight, merging into the more browns and bronzes towards the middle of my eyelids. When I then got up to the darker grey/black socket, I used a sweeping motion to blend outwards into a bronzy brown shadow. Using a slightly larger eye shadow blending brush here ensures this outer section of the eyeshadow is not too hard or harsh and gently softens outwards. After lots of blending, I then continued the shadow more finely down under my eyes following along the lower lashes, stopping about half way along. At this point, I then blended a gold shadow from the bottom of the inner corner of my eyes up into the darker outer shadow. This was to open up and brighten my eyes. Using gold as a highlighter under my brows also did this, as well as further emphasising the golden look of my dress! And using a touch of liquid gold shadow from Illamasqua in the very corner of my eyes too, just finished things off by giving that bit of shimmer and sparkle.
Then to give my eyes that extra and essential definition, I used Avon's SuperShock gel eyeliner pencil in black along the upper lash line and winged it out into a flick. I also lined the upper and lower waterlines of my eyes with this to really make my eyes stand out! Lastly, several coats of L'Oréal black Extra Volume waterproof mascara really pumped up my lashes and my look! A little tip here is to curl your eyelashes prior to starting any make-up application to really give you super long, lush and luxurious looking lashes! I use a brilliant eyelash curler by Tweezerman!
After emphasising my eyes, I then lightly defined my eyebrows using a Royal and Langnickel eyebrow brush and wand. I find that by using a black shadow from MUD and a brown shadow from Le Maq for my eyebrows, and lightly brushing it through my brows gives me the best look as I personally don't think I suit a really heavy defined brow. You see I like my brows to compliment my make-up look and not be the feature or focus... Cara Delevingne can breathe a sigh of relief here as I won't be challenging her in a eyebrow war anytime soon!!! Anyhow, following this, I then added blusher to my cheekbones to really define my facial bone structure. I used a Rimmel's mono blusher in Pink Rose along my cheekbones, for a pinky glow, and then added a slight gold and white sparkly highlight just above by using my Sleek eyeshadow palettes. Eyeshadows can double up as blush you see which is very handy little tip!
Now on to my lips... I first lined them using a deep red lipliner from Maybelline, before then applying Rimmel's stand-out bright red Scream lipstick. Again like my foundation, I don't use a brush when applying my own lipstick (although I use a brush for a client) as I find I get more accuracy and control over the application using just the lipstick alone. So after applying this, I then pressed my lips into a folded tissue to blot down the lipstick. This gives staying power to the colour you see. As my lips were now just stained red though, I then of course had to reapply my lipstick. This time I used MAC's Viva Glam Rihanna. This lipstick is such a gorgeous deep ruby colour, and with its extra shimmer and shine it really makes your lips look kissably beautiful! Adding Vera Moore's fabulous red lipgloss over the top really then accentuated my lips as it made them look even fuller! This definitely is one of the best lipglosses I have ever come across...a beauty must-have! I love it as adds a sheen to your lips without being at all wet and sticky - no one likes the hair sticking to your lipgloss look after all, and with this product you'll never be at risk of that! Finally to finish off my lips, I just added a touch of gold from my Kryolan Supracolor palette in the centre of my bottom lip for that extra hint of shimmer!
...But no girl's make-up look can be complete though without beautiful nails, and so obviously I couldn't miss this out when getting red carpet ready! As I mentioned in my last post, I did have a wonderful manicure and pedicure from my local Roko Spa and Health Club prior to my trip, and so, as my nails were already beautifully shaped, I just painted them. I decided I wanted my nails to compliment my lips, and so I first applied Rimmel's 60 Seconds nail polish in Rapid Ruby. This is a great product as the brush allows quick and full coverage, and then the varnish itself dries super fast too. On top of this I then painted a layer of Illamasqua's sparkly red Untold nail polish as, being sparkly, this really gave my nails that extra ounce of red carpet glamour! Once this was dry, I then just used a thin layer of Illamasqua's nail top coat to make the colour of my nails even more vivid and vibrant!
And voila... There you have it... My red carpet make-up look in its entirety! Wow, that was a lot to take in... Just remember here that practice makes perfect... So if anyone's ever interested, I'm thinking of starting up private make-up lessons both in person and online sometime in the near future... Watch this space!!!
So now on to my hair... I must add here though that prior to my trip to Cannes, I visited my trusted hairdresser Sharon Swainson back down in Bournemouth to ensure my hair was in tiptop condition for the red carpet! She certainly is the best! Plus having been a model herself, as well as a wonderful friend to me, she always gives me brilliant advice and is a great support! Joan Crawford even said "I think the most important thing a woman can have - next to talent, of course - is her hairdresser", and I definitely agree! So thank you Sharon!
Now then, in terms of my red carpet hair style, there were so many options to consider! I had to think whether I wanted my hair up or down, half-up half-down, curly, wavy or straight, and also which way to have my parting etc...it was a difficult choice! With just so many styles, the best way to decide was to think about my red carpet look as a whole. From this I figured out that I wanted a style that wasn't fussy. My dress was the statement after all and I didn't want to take away from that. I also felt that as my dress was so big with its full skirt, I needed my hair to have volume and body to keep the look consistent, and so that is why I decided on wavy curls. Being a look that is also very timeless and always on-trend, never going out of style - think screen sirens of the past as well as modern day A-Listers now - also made it the perfect choice too, as it definitely had a feel of Hollywood glamour to it!
As I am not a hairstylist though, to achieve this look I had to call in assistance... Luckily a photographer and make-up artist on the French Riviera whom I knew, Stéphane Gagnard, recommended hairstylist Johana Carillo to me! Johana came to my hotel and using the small amount of French I could speak and the English she knew, I managed to explain how I wanted my hair! Learning more French would really be a great help to me seeing I'm now often modelling in France! But anyway, Johana dry blow dried sections of my hair before then curling it with GHDs. She used several products, including L'Oréal Professional Infinium hairspray, as she combed and brushed through each curl to make them wavier, before then setting my hair with this hairspray too once she had finished! She even gave me a bottle of it at the end so that I could spray my hair just before I was due to leave for the red carpet. This was to give my hair extra hold, and was a very kind gesture which I really appreciated! I absolutely loved my hair, and would definitely like to wear it like this more often... I guess I might have to start practising with my own GHDs...although I don't think I'll be a pro like Johana anytime soon!
Ok...so now both my hair and make-up were done, it was time accessorise my look... First my jewellery... Here I wanted to keep things elegant and sophisticated, while still adding some glitz-and-glamour for added sparkle! I chose not to wear a necklace as I wanted to keep my décolletage bare, keeping the focus on the beautifully inter-woven gold bodice top of the dress. I did wear beautiful gold and bronze crystal drop-earrings as well as gold and diamanté bangles (on just my left wrist) though. Both the earrings and bangles were pieces of dress jewellery bought from boutiques in Bournemouth and London, but because they glistened and gleamed, they looked priceless! In terms of rings, as well as the rings I wear on my right hand everyday, I also added a big jewelled statement dress ring from Accessorize on my middle finger on my left hand. Also from Accessorize was my clutch bag. The gold metallic woven material of this bag perfectly complimented my designer dress, and for only £29 it was a great find, especially since it was the ideal size for all my evening essentials...iPhone, make-up, business cards and money!
The last of my accessorises was my shoes. Every girl knows just how important shoes are after having watched Cinderella as a child, and so it was obviously a given that I had to have fabulous heels to wear with my stunning designer Temraza gown! Thankfully, as a self-diagnosed fashaholic, I had just the pair! ...Beautiful cream platform heels from Miss Selfridge that were embellished with gold and silver studs, white embroidery swirls, and cut-out meshed swirls. These shoes were exquisite, and looked far more expensive than their high street price tag! Who says you can't mix both high-end and high street brands?! It's how you carry the look off after all... All I can hear in my head here is Alex Perry, an Australian designer and a judge on Australia's Next Top Model, saying make it look 'expensive'! You see that's what you have to do as a model, but there's no reason why you can't do this in any situation too... I'm often wearing high street labels as you'll see in this blog but I make it work by the way I hold myself and how I style the look! Like I said at the start of this post, confidence is key! But anyway, I'm going off at a tangent here, and so I'll get back to my red carpet look... So where was I now? ...Ah yes, I'm getting up to the all important dress!!!
An obvious question here first though is what does a girl wear under such a gown! Well I'll let you in on a little secret...a Victoria's Secret cream silk bra and tiny silk thong! You see I have to say that Victoria's Secret lingerie is a necessary indulgence as it's both beautiful and comfy! Oh how I'd just love to become a Victoria's Secret Angel!!! Oooh and another sexy something I added here as well...a gorgeous evocative perfume...my favourite Live Luxe by Jennifer Lopez!
But anyway, to the dress itself... Now when I found out that I would be walking the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, I knew that I needed a stunning designer dress! I had just modelled for Temraza at Paris Fashion Week and wore one of their designs when I was interviewed on FashionTV...the most beautiful and ornate white peal outfit. And so obviously when they then offered to provide me a dress for the red carpet, I couldn't turn them down! Temraza have such stunning collections, and the gold gown of theirs that we chose for me to wear was just sensational! I think the dress truly speaks for itself and so, with the styling I incorporated, I really just tried to do the look justice to showcase this bold gold Temraza design in all its magnificent glory! I truly hope I did just that! It honestly felt like I was in a fairytale that night walking the red carpet in this stunning dress! And so before I continue, can I just say here...thank you so very much Temraza for supporting me...your dress made my Cannes Film Festival red carpet début magical and truly unforgettable!!!
Now talking of designers, as I mentioned in my last blog post, I walked the red carpet with fashion designer and event organiser, Tiffany McCall and fashion designer Fadila Kihel, both of whom I met during the Fashion Weeks in Paris! They both wore their own designs, and looked absolutely gorgeous! In fact our three dresses perfectly complimented each other! Tiffany's dress was beautiful...red lace, slinky, and with a low back... I just loved it! And the hints of gold in the lace-detailing really shimmered in all the paparazzi flashes which made it look just exquisite on the red carpet. Plus as the lace was slightly see-through on the thighs and legs, it was very sexy whilst still being classy and sophisticated...très chic! Fadila's dress was also stunning...the red and gold intricate design really stood out on the red carpet, especially as the colour perfectly complimented her long wavy blonde hair. Plus with her signature waist tie and long red cape shawl to accessorise her dress, she added a real elegance and regal air to her look, making the whole outfit just fabulous! I actually wore one of Fadila's incredible designs at Paris Fashion Week back in March, and hopefully I'll get the chance to model for her, and for Tiffany, at a future fashion week! They are both wonderfully talented designers, and it was an honour to walk the red carpet with them!
And so that's it... C'est fini!!! I really hope you've enjoyed getting the inside scoop on my red carpet look! Sorry guys that this blog post was filled with a lot of beauty and fashion terminology... Hopefully my next post all about my photo shoots on the French Riviera might be more to your liking! But I hope at least that the girls reading this may now feel inspired to add some red carpet glamour to their lives too!
So until next time...
Christina V xxx