Last week, Caroline went backstage at the J.Crew presentation to see what Fashion Week is really like behind-the-scenes. Here, she reveals the secrets of perfectly messy hair and the one thing EVERY model does…


So, do you want to know the easiest way to look like a J.Crew model?

Be tall. (See above.)

But there’s another thing you can do to get that model look…

Everyone was doing it.

Did you guess what it is?

If you said “look at your phone,” you win!

The scene backstage was simultaneously chaotic and calm. Swarms of fashion people scurried every which way, doing a million different things, but military precision made it feel surprisingly organized.

The collection was beautiful and ornate, featuring multi-colored sequins, bright furs and metallic tassels. The pieces were inspired by the book Checkered Past, which captures the London art scene in the 60s and 70s.

Everyone else? Was wearing black. (Including me.) I was content to just hang out with the darkly dressed crowd when suddenly…

There was Jenna Lyons! It was kind of like spotting the Sasquatch, if the Sasquatch were impossibly chic. She was as tall as the models, with neat, slicked-back hair and red-orange lipstick. And yes, she looked just as cool in person as you’d expect.

On the beauty front, there was another major sighting…

The one product at every hair stylists’ station was cult favorite Elnett hairspray. It’s famous for creating major hold that dries to a soft finish. (You know how hairspray can be sticky and gross? Not this stuff.)

Of course, the real way to look like a J.Crew model…is to have a whole crew of people whose mission is to make you look like a J.Crew model. But to get the look at home—regardless of height or proximity to electronic devices—here are three pointers…

“The clothes have a lot of color, so we wanted to keep the makeup sheer and natural, like she just stepped in from the cold,” said Troi Ollivierre (above), J.Crew’s hair and makeup artist. To do this, blush was applied low on the apples of the cheeks and across the bridge of the nose, leaving the models looking rosy and windswept.

And the key to that famous dewy glow? Illuminate! A lot. Ollivierre applied RMS Living Luminizer in a C-shape from the temple to the high cheekbones, at the inner corners of the eyes and at the center of the cupid’s bow of the mouth. (I’ve been wearing luminizer ever since and it’s a total game-changer.)

True to form, the models also sported perfectly messy hair. “The look is clean, with a little texture,” said Ollivierre. “It’s very soft and is meant to look like the models did it themselves.”

How, exactly? First the hair was blow-dried using Bumble & Bumble Thickening Spray, creating volume at the crown with a round brush. Very slight waves were added with a curling iron, for natural texture. All of the models sported a center part. And the finishing touch? A spritz of the ever-present Elnett.

As Ollivierre summed it up, “People are busy, they’re working, they’re taking care of business. The J.Crew woman puts herself together, but it’s not a ton of work.”

Model or not, that’s a philosophy I can support.


Thanks, Caroline!

P.S. 16 hair tutorials, including a messy side ponytail and a perfect top knot.

(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo. Written by Caroline Donofrio)