Backstage at Derek Lam hair is being teased into a deliberate chaos of messy strands, turned into a bouffant shape and then knotted at the base of the neck into what feels like a lived-in style. The fringe is pinned to the side with a girlishness that belies the roughness of the rest. Derek Lam’s fall 2012 girl is youthful and sweet, but a little bit tomboy too. Estee Lauder Creative Makeup Director Tom Pecheux is in charge of creating a beauty look that not only compliments but cements the mood of Lam’s show. Behind-the-scenes he works effortlessly in his trademark hands-on way, each face a canvas that’s whipped into a masterpiece with what seems like a few easy brush-strokes.

Talking to us backstage at New York fashion week he revealed both the inspirations behind the look, and his expert makeup tips for recreating it at home. Read more after the break.

derek lam beauty fall 2012
Photo: Simon Ackerman for

In the mood board of his mind, Tom Pechaux was picturing a “naughty student”. All at once fresh faced but with a defiant haze of smokey eyeshadow, she fits the mould of Derek Lam’s boy-meets-girl, retro infused collection.

Pechaux and the Estee Lauder team used the brand’s new Invisible Fluid Makeup as the foundation for the look. The lightness of the foundation helps create the look of having gorgeous, natural skin. “You use it, you almost don’t feel it, but the skin looks very even,” Pechaux explains. (His number one tip for applying it? Use your fingers.) A little concealer where most needed, and a dusting of Estee Lauder’s Lucidity Translucent powder, and the naturally flawless skin look is complete.

Brows were groomed but with minimal product. Below them eyes were given plenty of pop but in a way suited to the coolness of the season.

derek lam beauty backstage

“It’s kind of a smokey burgundy-black… more like a boho finish, with a touch of white matte under the eyebrow and in the inside corner of the eyes,” Pechaux describes. “And what we do with the black eyeshadow, we draw some lines like fake lashes under the eyes – to create a naughty look but also a very girly finish.”

Pechaux couldn’t be more right: the illusion of fake lashes under the eyes creates a ’60s schoolgirl vibe that’s as sudden as it is simple to create.

And another tip from the master: use black mascara on the top lashes, brown on the bottom. The black lifts the eye, anchored by the filled-in brown below. Faith in this technique has lead the brand to release a two-tone mascara called Sumptuous Two Tone Eye-Opening Mascara that comes with both colours.

daphne groeneveld backstage at derek lam

Subtle pastel-coloured lips complete the Derek Lam look. Pechaux and the Estee Lauder team mixed two colours: Crystal Pink and Vanilla Truffle.

Our thanks to Tom Pecheux and the Estee Lauder team for sharing their tips. For more photos of the makeup team at work, visit backstage at Derek Lam gallery 1 and backstage at Derek Lam gallery 2.

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