It’s not every day that a runway show brings you to tears. Today, in the Lower East Side, Peter Do’s first vision for Helmut Lang made the audience feel. From Do’s aesthetic interpretation of the American dream to Ocean Vuong’s spoken words and Wladimir Schall’s cinematic score, it was pure beauty in every form. And what is a runway show without beauty? “I mean, beauty is first,” says lead hairstylist Jawara backstage when posed the question, pointing out that today, “undone” supersedes overdone.
“I came here on the subway, I’m so sweaty,” Jawara, who is a fashion month darling, says of how he and Do pulled inspiration from exactly the kind of gritty reality that comes with life in the city. “He just wanted the hair to not feel as put together,” he adds. There’s also the well known beauty adage that dirty hair styles well. Though inspired by “the little East side girls that don’t wash their hair for a few days,” models showed up too clean. So, he loads on product, but “not in the way that you would use it,” Jawara expkains. “Like, let’s say Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer, you would use a little bit and blow dry your hair—we’re putting loads in it to kind of make the hair heavy.”
There were a few models with natural texture untouched, but for most, “we’re stretching out the curls,” Jawara explains of using a Dyson Corrale straightener for slick, gleaming finish that let the occasional accordion headband or strip of jersey cut straight from Do’s dress really shine. Nail artist Jin Soon also referenced Do’s actual fabric for a “taxi yellow” polish so fresh she hasn’t even named it, and makeup artist Daniel Sallstrom pulled in MAC Chromaline in a similar hue for straight-edge eyeliner that felt easy, or some chill lipliner. “It’s nothing complicated,” says Sallstrom of keeping things androgynous. “You see the liner on everyone, it’s nothing too pretty.” Real New Yorkers aren’t carrying around a bunch of makeup, Sallstrom points out. “You have a lipliner in your bag, that’s what we’re using.” Get where you’re going fast, and with “as little effort as possible.”
Sweat, cry, chill out, and enjoy the subway ride.