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NZ Fashion Week: My Backstage Beauty Bag

Apr 29, 2024

From hydrating mists to hair ties, here’s everything the pros pack to keep polished.

While it may sound glamorous (and mostly, it is) New Zealand Fashion Week: Kahuria is by far one of the busiest weeks of the year for the designers, makeup artists, hair stylists, models, producers, and media involved.

But what keeps the people who keep Fashion Week going, well, going? Besides the obvious coffee/chocolate/nuts/Red Bull, there’s a handful of thoughtful items that keep the pros firing on all cylinders.

Below, we asked seven industry insiders to open their Fashion Week beauty bags to spill what they really eat, drink, wear and touch up with with whilst backstage.

Makeup artist and founder of Aleph Beauty

Show schedule: Kate Sylvester

My involvement in NZFW this year... Kate Sylvester approached us, and we’re thrilled that she did. It’s a great alignment with her story and with our sustainability. The look we’ve created is very Kate Sylvester. She has a specific way she likes things to look — natural, but with a bit of polish — so we’re going to bring that together.

I’ll be drinking… Water with electrolytes, and coffee! I use this amazing US-based brand of electrolytes and they taste fantastic. I haven’t found anything else that’s as good. I just drip-feed them into my water all day long, so much so that now I don’t like the taste of normal water. They’ve got sodium, potassium and magnesium in the right balance. I highly recommend everyone get a stash of them. I buy six months’ worth and just ration them out.

I’ll be snacking on… dark chocolate and a bag of nuts. That just keeps me going forever.

My beauty must-have… Aleph Beauty Lucid Lip Gloss Balm, $59. I live in it. A few months ago, I noticed my lips were looking really good. I haven’t used filler or done anything to my lips, and thought they were looking pretty good for my age, without lines or anything. And then I remembered I’d put actives in my lip gloss! So, to see it really working was amazing. It’s not a traditional plumping lip gloss, which burns or tingles, but it does have the ability to do the work long-term. As long as I have that, I’m set. It’s my behind-the-scenes beauty essential. But if I was to be out front, then I’d need my touch-up kit.

I absolutely can’t forget… My phone, of course! I probably wouldn’t pack a charger; I tend to have my phone fully charged from the get-go. If I run out of battery, somebody’s sure to have one or I can just charge it in my car.

Award-winning hairstylist lead at NZFW and co-founder of Dharma

Show schedule: 15+ shows across the week

My involvement in NZFW this year... My role during Fashion Week is to lead approximately 25 of New Zealand’s best hair stylists on at least 15 or so shows. I’ve spent the last two months preparing the teams and collaborating with designers to achieve hair concepts that enhance their designs and collections.

I’ll be drinking... Fashion Week is full-on, so it’s super important to look after your body, hydrating and eating well. Besides keeping my water bottle on me, I love to sip on a ginger and lemon Remedy Kombucha throughout the day.

I’ll be snacking on... I keep little snacks like raspberry and dark chocolate Frooze Balls or dried seaweed — easy snacks you can munch on quickly.

My beauty must-haves... An absolute necessity for me and always in my handbag is a pack of jumbo hair ties; I have very thick hair and it gets hot as hell running around backstage. It’s such a relief to chuck my hair up into a comfy top knot to stay cool. Speaking of staying cool — I don’t know what I’d do without my Essano Rosehip Hydrating Cleansing Wipes, $9, to help freshen up during mahi. Since we’re working with so many different hair products, I like to use the L’Occitane Hand Cream, $58. A spoolie and good brow gel are a must. Everyone with bushy brows knows how frustrating it is to keep them in check and Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Brow+ Volumizing Gel, $51, always does the trick.

I absolutely can’t forget... A portable phone charger, deodorant, mints, and a positive attitude. Absolutely everyone backstage is working so hard out, from the volunteers helping everything run smoothly to the hair and makeup team to the models, and it always helps to keep things lighthearted and happy while we all work together as a team.

Hairstylist and founder of Colleen

Show schedule: Kate Sylvester, Juliette Hogan

My involvement in NZFW this year... I always keep things pretty simple during Fashion Week. Our role as hairstylists requires focus and stamina, there’s not much time for bathroom breaks, outfit tweaks or lipstick touch-ups. We work to create beautiful hair for shows so our focus tends to be outward on perfecting the hair for each model. It’s all about functional beauty for me and functional style that can transition from backstage to the front row and on to the after-party.

I’ll be drinking... I’ll have my Anew refillable plant-based water bottle handy but will probably forget to drink it.

I’ll be snacking on... I’m planning on having a stash of Vida Glow Women’s Health De-Stress Capsules, $56, in my bag. Little chewable liquid burstlets to help with mental clarity and staying calm.

I’ll be wearing... Every year I like to think I’m going to dress up and be “fashion” but I always revert to jeans and a tee — you just can’t beat that for function. I am obsessed with my new Juliette Hogan body suit, so that may make an appearance this year.

My go-to hairstyle... I guarantee my hair will be in a snatched pony and braid. I use Oribe Gel Serum, $75, to get a sleek sharp finish and Kevin Murphy Session Spray Flex, $59, to keep any flyaways under control. What I will have in my bag is a Lelet headband, $226, to fancy up my look for when the work is done and I’m going to a show or a party. I want to be completely focused on creating great hair, not worried about a fussy garment or smudged eye makeup or if my hair looks bad from the back.

My beauty must-haves... I keep my skin pretty simple and aim for good brows and lashes. I always have a NOTO Multi-Bene Stain Stick, $45, handy for a hit of lip colour and my current fave shade is Ono Ono, a rich terracotta tone that can also be used on cheeks. Grown Alchemist Hydra-Mist, $36, goes everywhere with me to rehydrate and freshen up my skin and give me a little emotional boost too as the scent is really uplifting and calming. Also fragrance. We are working on a couple of scents for Colleen so I’ll be dousing myself in one of those, or both!

I absolutely can’t forget... My iPhone for capturing cool backstage snaps and short vids.

How I’ll unwind after a long day... I’ll treat myself to a Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask, $47. It’s outrageously hydrating. And a cup of peppermint and chamomile tea before bed.

NZFW beauty partner and founder of Basalaj Beauty

Show schedule: 19 different shows throughout Fashion Week, including both of Kharl Wirepa’s shows.

I’ll be drinking… Green tea! I go everywhere with green tea bags. It’s one of the only things I drink. If I go to people’s houses, I’ll pull out my little tea bag because you can’t skimp on a good green tea. You need to look after your skin inside and out, so lots of water for the week will be really important. Viva loves Healtheries Green Tea with Lemon, $4.

I’ll be snacking on… I love really good snacks, lots of nuts and fruit. It’s what we take to all of our Instagram photo shoots. On the odd occasion, we’ll get a few slices from Ripe. Our office isn’t far from there — it’s so dangerous.

My beauty must-have... Moisturiser and a facial spray to spritz on and feel good throughout the day or to refresh. All of my makeup is obviously on hand backstage, so it’ll be easy to do touch-ups. Our Basalaj Beauty Powder Eye Palette, $145, is so versatile. Our black eyeshadow Maverick is so pigmented, you can use it as eyeliner or an eyeshadow. Some of the other shades in the palette double as a blush and a highlighter. I never leave home without it because it’s so simple to use. When it comes to Basalaj Beauty Matte Lipstick, $59, my favourite shade is Power. I’ll be wearing that a lot — it’s our brightest red.

One thing I absolutely can’t forget… Business cards and I suppose the regular kind of things, like a phone charger, maybe my laptop as well.

Viva beauty editor

My involvement in NZFW this year... Think of me as your backstage beauty correspondent: I’m tasked with capturing the best beauty looks from backstage, and watching them come to life on the runway. I’ll be interviewing makeup artists and hairstylists about upcoming makeup and hair trends, and translating those for our Viva readers — from the runway to reality.

I’ll be drinking... I’m currently doing a (very poorly timed) detox, so there’ll be no Champagne for me. Not until Thursday when my detox ends, anyway. In the interim, I’ll be toting around my 1L Bink Drink Bottle (sorry, not a fan of Frank Greens and never will be) and will pop a sachet of the Vida Glow Collagen Liquid in Mixed Berry, $78 to spice things up when I’m bored of water. Otherwise, I’ll be sipping my Healtheries Detox Tea, $4, which twins dandelion with milk thistle.

I’ll be eating... In previous years, I’ve lived off coffee and chocolate to keep me going at Fashion Week, but this year I’ll be noshing on tamari almonds, strawberries, cucumber and carrot crudites instead. And some trusty breath mints.

My beauty must-haves... My propensity to be a serial over-packer on flights also extends into daily life, and every handbag I own is filled with multiple lip balms/hand creams/lipsticks/perfumes, etc. This year, I’ll be trying to whittle it down to a handful of multi-purpose products to save on room. Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant Original, $41, is one such product that can be smoothed on cuticles or dry spots for a dose of much-needed hydration.

For lips, I’ll be trialling Everkind Organic Lip Balm in Billow, $14, which is formulated with organic camellia oil, jojoba oil, beeswax and virgin coconut oil, among other things, to nourish and protect lips against the elements. I look half-dead without blush, and the Mecca Cosmetica Hydra Cheek Tint and Illuminating Balm Duo, $50, is a two-in-one option that has a cream blush on one side and a highlighter on the other.

One thing I absolutely can’t forget... My laptop! We’re lucky enough to have a Viva media room down at the Viaduct Events Centre this year, so I’ll be busy filing stories for Viva Premium in between shows or conducting interviews backstage.

Model, All is for All

Show schedule: Jockey and Resene Designer Runway

I’ll be drinking... From my water bottle, it’s important I stay hydrated and sometimes that can be neglected especially in a fast-paced environment, like New Zealand Fashion Week: Kahuria, so a water bottle is essential.

I’ll be eating... A nut bar or muesli bar. They’re easy to just grab and go when I feel peckish.

My beauty must-haves... I want to make sure I stay hydrated and moisturised throughout the event, so moisturiser and lip balm (Lucas Paw Paw Ointment, $8) are key and essential items for me backstage. I also want to protect my hair so it’s important I pack my travel-size heat protectant for my hair (Evo Mister Fantastic Blowout Spray, $14) and a spare hair tie (Lady Jayne Black Snagless Thick Elastic, $8); you never know when you or someone may need one.

I absolutely can’t forget... my music! I’m not sure time will allow but if I do at any point have the time and space backstage, I will definitely bring my phone and AirPods, $249, to listen to music as a way to focus and calm my nerves before any of the shows. Plus, to contact my whānau after the show to let them know how it all went and my first experience at New Zealand Fashion Week: Kahuria.

Maybe a disposable camera (Ilford Ilfocolour Rapid Single Use Camera, $38) or my phone camera to capture moments at New Zealand Fashion Week: Kahuria if allowed and have the time to use it.

Model, All is for All

Show schedule: Jockey and Resene Designer Runway

I’ll be drinking... from my filled water bottle (essential!), and I’m a sucker for keeping a couple of Sugar-Free Redbulls on hand to keep my energy levels up too.

I’ll be eating... A range of snacks such as bliss balls, roasted chickpeas, pea crisps and chocolate.

My beauty must-haves... A small bottle of Garnier Micellar Water Mini, $8, and some cotton pads to get makeup off in between shows. I also make sure to carry moisturiser to keep my skin hydrated, an SPF50 spray to keep my skin protected from UV rays (Coola Makeup Setting Spray SPF30, $69) and deodorant. In terms of makeup, I always carry a blur stick to combat shine; mascara, brow gel and lip gloss; I’m really loving the Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm, $44, in the shade Poppy for a pop of colour.

I absolutely can’t forget... Hand sanitiser (Paume Antibacterial Hand Sanitiser, $28), a pack of tissues, mints for fresh breath, Panadol, a hairbrush, my wallet and AirPods.

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