Kabuki knows a thing or two about this kind of venue. After moving to Manhattan from the U.K. via Florida, he became a fixture on the ’80s and ’90s club kid scene. “When I moved to New York, it was all about outsiders. You were only on the inside if you were an outsider,” he said, waxing nostalgic about the early days of his career when he found a community in the city’s fertile fashion and film environment, winning over influential designers (Kabuki’s regular collaborations with Jeremy Scott are the stuff of backstage beauty legend) and brands such as MAC, which has been a longtime supporter of his artistry. “MAC really started out as a small, tight-knit group of fashion lovers,” said John Demsey, who joined the brand in the late ’90s before becoming an executive group president at Estée Lauder. “It’s become a pillar resource for the fashion and makeup communities and really shown up through thick and thin to not only be there for big designer fashion moments but to be there for people who no one has taken notice of—yet,” Demsey continued. This same ethos is a big part of the Costume Institute’s new exhibition, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” where many of the young designers on display—Chromat’s Becca McCharen-Tran, Gypsy Sport’s Rio Uribe—have been championed by the cosmetics brand. “It’s important,” Demsey added of buoying emerging designers and emerging makeup artists.
Hairstylist Lucas Wilson, who has more than emerged (his handiwork is on full view on Vogue’s recent September cover), was also backstage last night to custom-fit hand-dyed pastel bobs while gingerly placing rows of rhinestones along the dancers’ hairlines. “It unifies a very diverse group of people,” Wilson said of the function of Louise Brooks fringed cuts that he treated with Bumble & Bumble’s Don’t Blow It Cream for a “cool, lived-in” texture. A second style, another nod to Brooks and ’30s-era theater, featured sleek finger waves that Wilson treated to a shellacking of Bumble and Bumble Gel for shine with a modern twist: Matte spray-on hair color coated each meticulously sculpted glossy ridge.
Wilson, who has been working with Bumble and Bumble for years, long before the Vogue covers and the Met galas, is quick to make the connection between the support of the original New York hair brand that started in 1977 and his ability to grow as an American artist. “They understand the importance of what someone like me does,” said Wilson—which is, essentially, to make magic happen.
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See All of the Celebrity Looks From the Met Gala 2021 Red Carpet:
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Rihanna in Balenciaga Couture, Maria Tash, Thelma West and BVLGARI jewelry and A$AP Rocky in ERL
Met Gala 2021: See Every Celebrity Arrival, Read the Latest Stories, and Get Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Here