Backstage Pass: Armani in Asia Minor

Giorgio Armani's makeup head, Linda Cantello, did the makeup for 187 models for Armani's three-part mega show in China, and we got the inside beauty secrets.

models
Giorgio Armani's makeup head, Linda Cantello, did the makeup for 187 models for Armani's three-part mega show in China, and we got the inside beauty secrets.
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models
Courtesy of Designer
Ready to Wear

One hour until showtime and the backstage scene is oddly calm — models sip tea and check their Weibo (China's Twitter), a few hair dryers a-whir. "Can you believe we've done 187 models?" quips Armani makeup head, Linda Cantello, who's been on set for seven hours.

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sketch
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"One night only in Beijing."
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models
Courtesy of Designer
Ready to Wear

With a megashow that is technically three parts (for Armani's three distinct collections) comes multiple chapters in hair and makeup, too: For the ready-to-wear opener, clean skin is punctuated by dark, smoky eyes and smooth hair; for couture, geometric eyeliner is the focus.

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eyeshadow
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Ready to Wear
New eyeshadows backstage.
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model
Courtesy of Designer
Ready to Wear

And while prepping models to Armani's exacting standards is top priority for Cantello, she also uses her station as a makeshift product test lab. Her latest masterpiece is Maestro, a serum-foundation hybrid that weightlessly perfects skin — not that these models, all porcelain skin and cheekbones galore, need any help.

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eyeliner
Jeffrey Westbrook/Studio D
Ready to Wear
Giorgio Armani Waterproof Eyeliner in Granite Black, $28.
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model
Courtesy of Designer
Ready to Wear

"The makeup for Privé was inspired by the angular eyeliner and bare lips a model sported to a fitting. Of course, we refined it, but Mr. Armani wanted the show to reflect Chinese women." — Cantello

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foundation
Jeffrey Westbrook/Studio D
Ready to Wear
Giorgio Armani Neo-Black Palette, $88.
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models
Courtesy of Designer
Ready to Wear

"For Asian faces, I'll change, say, the curve of the liner for almond eyes and adapt the blush — these girls have killer cheekbones!" — Cantello

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mascara
Jeffrey Westbrook/Studio D
Ready to Wear
Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch Lengthening Mascara in Black, $30.
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ying chu
Courtesy of Designer
Ready to Wear
Linda Cantello with MC's Ying Chu.
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foundation
Jeffrey Westbrook/Studio D
Ready to Wear

"Maestro works like foundation but it feels like nothing on skin. It has no water or powder pigment. Instead, we used five nurturing oils, whittled down from 10,000 initially tested for the formula." — Linda Cantello

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model
Courtesy of Designer
Ready to Wear
Smoky eyes for Emporio Armani.
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