Backstage Beauty at Zambesi 2010

By Catherine Smith

Models backstage at Zambesi. Photo / Supplied
Models backstage at Zambesi. Photo / Supplied

Oh, those Zambesi kids, they just know how to put on a show. The big old warehouse, the stormy night, marmite toasts for snacks (yes, really - apparently Marmite is celebrating 100 years in New Zealand), a team of hair and makeup guys beavering away in the vast backstage: it all felt so cosy and that you were part of the coolest tribe in town.

So, lo, it turns out their brief to hair and makeup was the tribe. The tribe preparing for war, to be exact, but in a casual kind of do-it-yourself way. So the faces looked hand-painted, as warriors do, the hair braided and mussy in a schoolgirl kind of way, sports-inspired.

M.A.C's Amber D always loves the creative stretch of the Zambesi show. She started with a very very matt face using the favourite Sculpt Foundation, blotted right down with Prep & Prime powder, a hint of Sculpt Powder to contour.

Tribal markings (they looked finger done) were painted in with black Chroma Cake or Acrylic Paint. Lips were gone (using Lip Erase) with just a tiny hint of highlight with Vanilla pigment.

Brows were combed and tidied with brow set, left with no colour. White nails finish the tribal touch.

This year Zambesi have partnered for the first time with Tigi hair products (baby of London-based Italian Antony Moscolo), sending over Sydney creative director Grant Norton.

Grant started his look with French braids - in multiples, different scales, randomly angled around the head - mussed up to look like a sporty girl had done it herself before running off to war.

Tigi Root Boost sprayed in texturising mousse, braids were finished with plain rubber bands. The fragile soft frizziness was achieved with hand 'fuzzing' to give movement and structure, and a dry shampoo sprayed on last to create a flat, chalky effect. Grant then painted on stripes down the parting (more MAC) in the manner that Navahoe tribes use to mark where they came from, who knew?

And the boys? More volume at the sides of their faces too (all the better to show off those signature Zambesi-boy cheekbones) finished with a tight little ponytail or loose braid - sort of Captain Cook after a stormy encounter with the natives.

TRY THIS AT HOME: French braids and plaits have not had an airing for a while. Give yourself a loose-but-structured look for summer by running a big braid diagonally across the scalp, then braiding up a few spare locks. Fuzz it with your hands (and a good spray of dry shampoo) to recreate the ethereal, not-quite-there effect).

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