Marc Jacobs is a designer known for his bold statements with hair, make-up and of course the fashion his models flaunt on the catwalk. However, his spring/summer 2015 collection at this September’s New York Fashion week showed him going to a surprising extreme: all of his models went bare-faced. They also donned black shaggy cropped wigs, although that wasn’t as much of a surprise, since Jacobs is partial to wigs for his models. The almost obsolete makeup artist for the show was Francois Nars, who must have been faced with the easiest job of his life since the models didn’t even wear so much as lip balm.
Jacobs proposed that the ladies modelling in the show shouldn’t wear much make-up, while Nars went the extra mile and suggested no make-up whatsoever. Nars speculated that Jacobs saw the models as an army, given their uniform wigs and the “kind of military” colours of the collection, which include khaki and beige. The only official make-up of any sort that the models wore was moisturizing lotion, although there was speculation that small blemishes may have been covered up, given the flawless skin of every model. Regardless, a parade of make-up-free models at one of the biggest fashion events in the world was a refreshing idea, and proved what everybody should know to be true already — that women look just as beautiful and even more beautiful without any makeup at all. This article lists five of Jacobs’ models who carried off the bare-faced look with particular panache, looking even more stunning than they do with fully made-up faces.
5. Joan Smalls
At number five is Joan Smalls Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican model. Born on the island of Hatillo in 1988, Smalls grew up as the youngest of three sisters on a farm. She knew from an early age that she was interested in the world of fashion and modelling, and by the age of thirteen had begun to enter modelling competitions. She was never successful in these, however: she was billed “too tall, too thin and too dark” to be considered a ‘proper’ model. Refusing to give up, Smalls convinced her father to pay for her to go to New York for a week of open castings, and was spotted there by a modelling agent who advised her to fix her crooked teeth and then reapply.
Smalls returned to Puerto Rico to straighten her teeth and to finish her education, as advised by her father. She moved to New York permanently at the age of nineteen, and since then has gone from strength-to-strength in the modelling world. Now one of the most in-demand models in America, Smalls began her career with Elite Models NY in 2007 and moved to the IMG agency in 2009, where she had a complete stylistic makeover and became much more conventionally model-esque as opposed to tomboyish. In 2011 she became the first Latina to represent Estée Lauder, and was a natural choice for the Marc Jacobs make-up-free show, given her beautiful skin tone and bone structure.
4. Hilary Rhoda
Hilary Rhoda is at number four. Born and raised in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Rhoda was a talented and dedicated athlete throughout her childhood and teenage years until she decide to move to New York to pursue modelling. Her moment came courtesy of the Paris Spring/Summer shows in 2006, when she was hired to walk for Balenciaga. This opened the floodgates, and she was soon overwhelmed with bookings from Dior, Chanel and Valentino, to name just a few. In 2007 she became the face of Estée Lauder. Her feature in the 2009 edition of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition was such a success that she is noted as one of the most famous Sports Illustrated models ever.
Rhoda was named one of the highest-paid models in the world by Forbes several years ago, and is extolled for her “sophisticated all-American look” which embodies her sports-playing background. This wholesomeness made her the perfect candidate for Jacobs’ no make-up catwalk.
3. Kendall Jenner
Kendall Jenner, at number three, is the eldest daughter of former U.S. Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner and Kris Jenner. She is possibly best-known for her appearances on hit reality TV show Keeping up with the Kardashians, as a half-sibling to the infamous Kardashian sisters.
At only eighteen years of age, the Marc Jacobs show eight months prior to the no make-up show was Jenner’s first ever outing on a major runway. In an interview with Into the Gloss, she spoke about the energy of New York Fashion Week and said that she loved everything about it, including the hair and makeup — which must have made her second major catwalk show all the stranger. After Jenner’s first Marc Jacobs show there was a considerable amount of Internet consternation concerning the sheerness of a top that she modelled, but she proved a huge hit on the runway during September’s New York Fashion Week. Her young age also meant that she looked entirely fresh-faced and youthful without make-up.
2. Karlie Kloss
Karlie Kloss, at number two, is the darling of designers everywhere. She was born in Chicago and was raised in Missouri, one of four sisters. She took up ballet at the age of ten and although she was too tall to succeed as a professional dancer, she maintains that the training hugely influenced her modelling ability, saying that modelling “is about movement, about rhythm, about your body and your muscles.” She was first scouted at the age of thirteen during a charity fashion show, and was signed by Elite Model Management a mere two years later.
Kloss made her catwalk debut aged eighteen modelling for Calvin Klein in New York, and during her first season also walked for Gucci and Valentino, among others. Her style of walking on the runway has been publicly mocked by Tyra Banks, but all this seems to have done is garner positive publicity for the model, whose walk clearly appeals to designers.
Kloss has had a prolific modelling career, working on catwalks and campaigns in New York, Milan and Paris for the likes of Chloé, Lacoste, Givenchy and Dior. She has featured in copies of Vogue from all over the world, and was billed by vogue.com as one of the newest icons in American style. Molly Sims has also said of Kloss that she is the type of model who will still “do well at thirty”, because of her classic look — and judging by her stunning make-up free appearance in the Marc Jacobs show, it seems clear she’ll age well.
1. Liu Wen
Liu Wen was born in Hunan in 1988, and didn’t begin modelling until 2005. She quickly gained status, gracing the cover of Chinese FHM in May of 2007, and featuring in editorials for Chinese Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar a few months later. Wen also appeared in Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire later that year, and the following year signed with the Marilyn Agency in Paris. She made her runway debut in 2008, modelling for such names as Burberry, Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier. She continued modelling at a fantastic rate, both in editorials and on catwalks, and in 2009 was billed a rising star by New York Look.
She was the first Chinese model ever to be signed by Estée Lauder in 2010, the first East Asian Victoria’s Secret catwalk model, and was marked by Forbes as one of the highest-paid models of 2013. Wen is also an instrumental figure in the globalization of China’s rapidly expanding fashion market. She walked in the Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2015 show to great acclaim, and looked virtually flawless.