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The Project Runway Blog

Behind the Scenes at Irina Shabayeva's Fall 2011 Fashion Week Show

By CaitlinBergmann Wed., Feb. 16, 2011 ,7:05 pm EST

"Project Runway" Season 6 winner Irina Shabayeva rocked the runway with her Fall 2011 collection at the Studio at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on February 10. We were there to get an exclusive look at the process of creating the models’ complete look backstage in the hours before the house lights went down.

Maybelline New York lead makeup artist Mizu and his team of artists worked to transform the models based on the instructions “Hyper Sharp Liner” and pastels of all kinds. Considering that the clothing was mostly in primary colors I wondered how they would pull off a complementary look, but this team was exceptional in creating bold and beautiful looks in a very short time. About half the models started on the makeup side, with Mizu overseeing the process and jumping in to create looks himself when time started to run short at the end with late-arriving models coming from other shows.

Backstage at Irina Shabayeva Fall 2011 New York Fashion Week

Jordan M of Bumble and Bumble and his team of hairstylists were on hand to create the striking hairstyle that Irina had designed. Each model had one cornrow painstakingly braided on the right side of her head and pinned into a bun at the nape of her neck; the rest of her hair was straightened and pulled into hard angles and pinned up as well. The process was fascinating to watch, and I appreciated Jordan explaining to me and to one of his assistants what products to use and how best to create a tight braid - I’m certain I’ll use that advice myself.

A fun twist came when Irina popped in to inspect the looks of the models and make any last-minute changes. She noticed how amazing their white and black glittery nails looked and had her own girly moment with a couple of the girls to the delight of the backstage press! After she gave the models’ looks her stamp of approval, she moved to inspect the dresses and met with the fitters to work on getting everyone ready to go.

The last model arrived just as the others were on their way in to get dressed. Jordan and Mizu’s teams sprung into battle as her hair, nails, and makeup all got done at one time. I’d love to dish backstage drama or a good "Project Runway" style meltdown, but while the atmosphere was very bustling and busy, all the models and artists were of good cheer - even with cameras shoved in their faces and the same questions being asked over and over. Thanks to our friends at Susan Price Agency for giving us a backstage look at how the art of the runway show is created!