PB Exclusive! Michael Brown pens a tanning diary backstage at London Fashion Week.

Celebrity makeup artist and St Tropez Skin Finishing Expert, Michael Brown, was backstage tanning model after model at London Fashion Week SS17. Professional Beauty gets the tanning pro to pen a diary of what went on. It’s not fashion week without sweat, tight spaces and tantrums… you heard the goss here first!


Michael Brown St Tropez Skin Finishing Expert and makeup artist goes backstage to perfectly tan the models at Temperley, London Fashion Week.
Michael Brown St Tropez Skin Finishing Expert and makeup artist goes backstage to perfectly tan the models at Temperley, London Fashion Week SS17.


Show #1 – Julien Macdonald

It was a wet day in London, so I was hoping that the backstage area wasn’t going to be too hot, as it definitely can get warm back there – Boy was I wrong!

After setting up our St Tropez tan booths and equipment, I think the team and I were all sweating already, the joys of working backstage in cramped spaces with no air flow and about 15 hair dryers going crazy!

The good thing about the heat is that our look for this show was super glossy bronzed skin; all models had a natural glow to them, which helped the overall look.

The Julien Macdonald show was probably my favourite of the week… As I was waiting for the models to be tan ready, I could see some of the outfits being passed around and they were heavily embellished, and very luxurious creating an expensive feel.

We decided the models needed a very deep tan, to accentuate the glossy sheen that we wanted to achieve, like they had all just come out of the ocean.  We used the St Tropez Self-Tan Professional Bronzing Mist in deep for each model, really lifting his/her skin tone and a few really fair girls got a double coat – Trying to convince some models that it would wash off after the show can sometimes be an issue, as we have to remove the ‘DHA’ for fashion week, so the models skin is kept natural to suit other show requirements.

Each model then got one coat of the professional solution of St Tropez Luxe Dry Oil; this gave that nourished glow we were after and helped with the light reflecting off the skin on the runway.

Thankfully it was so warm backstage, crazy actually, that most models already had glowing skin, but in lineup, right before showtime, the team and I were spraying any bit of exposed skin we could find with the Sanctuary Spa 4 day Moisture Body Oil to give that glossy edge and it looked fabulous!!!!

All in all, the show was really sexy and strong, and the depth of colour on the skin helped the gloss shine through, creating a very powerful look – totally worth all of the sweat backstage.


Creating flawless pins at House of Holland SS17.
Creating flawless pins at House of Holland SS17.


Show #2 – House of Holland

The Julien Macdonald show ran a little late so I was quite late arriving backstage at House of Holland… I was a little stressed seeing I missed 2hrs of tanning time and knew we had quite a few girls to get through.

But, to my surprise, when we got there backstage was so calm – and cool – very different to where I had just come from.  When I arrived, all the models where in rehearsal, so it gave me a chance to get my bearings, have some water, do some interviews and get the product ready!

As to be expected with a House of Holland show there were lots of brightly coloured, fun outfits and lots with the shoulders exposed. With this in mind we wanted to make it look like the skin was sun kissed but with a glow of matte burnt amber around the shoulders – like the girls had a little too much sun on their travels.

As we were maxed out on time, we had to hustle as we had less than an hour to get 25 girls sun kissed ready. Luckily for us, the shows mood board was right in front of us, allowing us to see what skin was exposed for each model – There is no point tanning them everywhere if you only see their legs!

For this look we used the St Tropez Instant Tan in Dark and for some reason as we were not spraying anything onto the body, the models seemed less bothered about it coming off later – I guess they felt at ease seeing a tube and us buffing the product really well into the skin with our mitts, so it seemed more like body makeup than tan.

Before you knew it, we were all done!  The girls looked great, they were dressed and in line up and we just gently dusted their shoulders and collarbones with a powder bronzer to give extra matte warmth and that was it, it was done!

Such a calm show to work on and even though I was late arriving backstage we got it all done – even with all the buffing!


Touching up at House of Holland SS17
Touching up at House of Holland SS17


Show #3 – Preen, by Thornton Bregazzi

8am call time, not bad in fashion week standards, but still early for a Sunday morning – 2 coffees’ later and I was right as rain.

Walking to backstage I was amazed at the space, it was HUGE!  Such a luxury compared to the past two shows where we were in a small corner, trying to be noticed!

Because of the space, we could actually set up beautifully with great branding, perfect for media and backstage shots of us working – I even set up all the St Tropez robes like a day spa, perfectly rolled and stacked next to every St Tropez Tan booth.

The designers’ pagan parade of witchcraft-inspired pentagram-printed dresses, lace-trimmed platform sandals, and power-clashing ruffled separates was accented by a spellbinding approach to hair, and makeup, if ever there was one.  The look we created for skin also reflected this and we aimed to create a light, healthy glow, subtly lifting the skin tone, rather than changing it.

First we used the St Tropez Tan Enhancing Body Moisturiser on all dry areas of the body – hands, knees, elbows (not ankles and feet as we would normally before a tan because they were covered) to make that sure all the areas that had the potential to appear dull were bought to life.

We then ‘misted’ the St Tropez Tan professional express formula solution over the body.  Misting is a great way to achieve a light glowing tan…Rather than following the body shape completely perfect as we would in a normal spray tan session, we lightly mist further away from the body and let the formula land naturally. This mimics where sunlight would hit the skin and creates an even, light, healthy glow!

The models loved this technique because it was quicker than a normal spray tan and the media loved it because related back to achieving a real tan, not dramatically changing the skin tone, just lifting it, with light catching on areas as it would if in the sun.

This show was super calm, maybe it was just the bigger space so it didn’t seem to crazy, or maybe it was the fact that I actually got to enjoy the delicious backstage catering for once – it definitely put me in a good mood and the show went off without a hitch!


Michael Brown
Michael Brown backstage at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi.


Show #4 – Temperley London

With a couple of hours break and a well-deserved London style roast for lunch in our bellies, it was off to another backstage venue, this time for Temperley.

Unfortunately the luxury of a roomy large backstage space was short lived, but we made it work!

As we arrived a little early to be all ready for the crazy rush that was about to hit us, I had time to get a sneak peak of the collection… Think brightly coloured, flowy dresses, a little bohemian, very playful, channeling Kate Moss at a music festival at sunset.

It was important to add a beautiful glow and a soft glisten to the skin – like it was at the end of the day at a festival and the skin has a golden sheen.

A lot of garments were quite long in length with covered arms, so it was so extra important to really work well on the bits that were exposed.  At the same time though, even with the long dresses, when the models walked, you often got a peek at their legs so we had to keep that in mind too.

For this look, we used the St Tropez Tan Professional Luxe Dry Oil solution; really concentrating where light will hit the body on the areas that had exposed skin.

I love using the Luxe Dry Oil all over the body, but then adding extra product on the frontal bones, where light will hit first –  the shins, forearms, décolletage,  and shoulders.

The glow that the product gave the model’s bodies was so beautiful against the playful colours and fabrics of the collection – A dark matte tan would have been too much of a contrast and taken away that playful vibe.


The best way to show off enviable shoes? Flawless, subtly tanned skin!
The best way to show off the enviable shoes at Sophia Webster SS17? Flawless, subtly tanned skin!


Show #5 – Sophia Webster

Seeing as this show was a presentation and not a catwalk, with only 9 models, we all thought this was going to be a breeze – Boy, were we wrong!

Everything started well and seeing that Sophia Webster was showcasing her fabulously fun shoes, bags and accessories on models that were stationary and up close and personal to the guests, we knew that it was really important to achieve flawless looking skin.

The theme was Dolly Birds of Paradise and upon visiting the set, it was clear that tropical colour was the name of the game, with some models even standing in life size birdcages!  It was an instagrammers dream.

Seeing as the lighting was warm and as models were showpieces rather than walking clones, we knew that the St Tropez Tan Gradual Tan Tinted would be a perfect fit.

St Tropez Gradual Tan Tinted gives a beautiful even gradual colour over time, but with the added benefit of an immediate tinted sheen, creating a slight metallic effect to the skin on immediate contact.

Half way through the relatively smooth morning, there was drama with makeup… Apparently it was incorrect from the makeup trials and therefore had to be removed and/or fixed immediately! Backstage suddenly became very tense and meant our tan time was non existent, with five girls still needing the Gradual Tan Tinted to be applied.

Having many stress filled moments at backstage events over the years, I knew that even though it wasn’t ideal, we would get it done no matter what and all would be ok in the world of St Tropez.

Show time was fast approaching and still five girls needed product applied… Slowly one by one, each girl was dressed and being whisked upstairs to positions, with no one making any effort to bring the models to us for their Skin Finishing.

I literally became floor bound, with any chance I could to apply product to any exposed skin I could find as the girls walked past me and up the stairs – it was the quickest application, but with enough product, I knew the glow would still come through!

We did very well under the circumstances and it was magical to see each girl came alive under the spotlights.







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