Ahead of the Christian Cowan Fall Winter ’23 show on the evening of Valentine’s Day, the atmosphere was expectedly electric. The backdrop? A skyline view from the Starrett Leigh Building in Chelsea, light shimmering in every direction. After a rehearsal, models begin to change into their looks—a flurry of feathers and sequins!—while the stylists, makeup artists, and hair team and designer Christian Cowan himself made tweaks and final touches. Amidst the excitement, we caught a backstage minute with Lori Taylor Davis, Smashbox global pro lead artist, to talk about how she achieved the fresh-faced beauty vibe.
As Cowan was inspired by heroines of pop culture—Dietrich, Garland, Baker, Mansfield, Kitt, Crawford, and Monroe—Taylor Davis sought to emulate their screen icon quality and unique beauty that transcends eras.
What was your inspiration for these beauty looks?
You know, this was actually Christian’s inspiration. He and I are really great collaborators. So I’m always just like, ‘You tell me what it is that you are feeling in the moment and I will work through it. And we tend to be very simpatico. In the past, Christian has always given me [direction to go] really theatrical, really beautiful, super-super-super artistic. But this season, he just wanted beautiful glowing skin and just for the models to look beautiful. And I was like, ‘Done!’ I love glowy. Because I’m from L.A., I’m always skin-focused. Skin first, then the glow!
What’s your creative process like for shows?
I tend to always want to get into the mind of the designer and what they really want. I love all [directions of] makeup, I love it all! So I just want the designers to tell me what they’re feeling. We actually did a virtual test when I was in L.A. and Christian was here. The process now is about doing a little bit virtually and a little bit in person.
Do you have any holy grail Smashbox products you can share with us?
Oh my God, of course! Our Halo Tinted Moisturizer is by far the most beautiful thing, because it looks like skin. It gives coverage without being heavy. You can’t see where the skin stops and the makeup starts.
Other products in Taylor Davis’ kit for the show: cult-favorite primers, the Halo hero collection, the new Always On Sheer To Stay Color Tints, Smashbox X Becca adoptions, and secret, unreleased innovations from the brand’s upcoming launches. Watch this space!
Reporting by Fearthainn Sweeney Casby