This season at New York Fashion Week, the beauty flitted between pared-back and unbridled. Embodying the stripped-back attitude was a skin care–as–makeup strategy with minimal flourish. Leave it to backstage legend Pat McGrath to sum it up lyrically, “sublime skin meets minimal majorness.” It’s no wonder then that the ’90s are permeating runways. Not just on the minimalism front with clean skin and slicked-back knots, but also on the maximalist one as well. From chunky glitter eyes to bombshell updos worthy of the decade’s most influential supermodels, bolder referential statements abounded.
The emphasis on beauty inspired by a particular “character” for the show felt timeless. Individual statements included artful braided sculptures, floor-sweeping hair lengths, and a mélange of imaginative face embellishments. Of course, it wouldn’t be the spring runways without bright bursts of color or wet-look finishes, either. Here, seven hair and makeup trends that emerged throughout the week.
The ’90s were everywhere. The decade’s less-is-more attitude was palpable at Victor Glemaud, with muted copper pouts, and Sandy Liang, where Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy served as the muse. On the other end of the spectrum were touches of shine and smolder, as seen at Tory Burch with its rave-worthy silver glitter cat eyes and Sergio Hudson with supermodel-inspired teased updos with sets of cheekbone-grazing strands.
What’s spring without rain to awaken new life? In harmony with the season’s forecast, wet-look skin and hair appeared throughout the week. Standout moments included Eckhaus Latta’s “hyperreal skin” effect achieved through American Psycho-inspired face mask applications and Marrisa Wilson’s cascades of braids strung with clear beads to mimic raindrops.
At Collina Strada, there was an array of serpentine braids so long that models tossed them over their shoulders. It was a similar story at PRISCAVera, where intricate braids and loose side-slung ponytails swayed to and fro down the runway. Then, at LaQuan Smith, sleek, long, high ponytails were inspired by a horse’s lustrous mane.
Yes, skin is in. So much so that mini-facials were practically a prerequisite for backstage skin prep. At Khaite and Gabriela Hearst, skin-care expert Tata Harper’s handiwork was evident in the clear complexions achieved through mask treatments and supercharged hydrated. At Fendi and Altuzarra, glowing complexions with a glass-like finish were enhanced minimally with warming swishes of bronzer or blush and strategically strobed highlighter for sculpted shine.
There was no shortage of bright pastels, fitting for the season. At Prabal Gurung, there were graphic eye treatments and Vidal Sasson-style hair looks in lavender and seafoam green, while at Marni, faces were dipped in a gradient of sky-inspired shades to ombré effect. Finally, A. Potts and Maryam Nassir Zadeh challenged ordinary color placements with powdery pigments washed between the eyebrows and across the forehead in a painterly fashion.
Embellishment came in every possible form this season. There were glitter-encrusted eyebrows at Peter Do, bejeweled, cone-topped updos at Area, and abstract lash applications and 3D bubble nails at PRISCAVera. But perhaps most fun was the Puppets and Puppets show, where adornment included Starface stickers, body crystal designs, and scattered fabric butterflies.
From the defined waves at Luar to the aerodynamic knots at Jason Wu and Altuzarra, sleek and gravity-defying hair shapes dominated. But most awe-inspiring of all was the braided hair sculpture worn by model Sacha Quenby at Tom Ford. Hairstylist Jawara called it a “futuristic nod to the ’80s.”