Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

Brimming with creativity, New York Fashion Week’s buzziest up-and-comers took beauty in nearly every direction.

From ’90s minimalist hair styles at Helmut Lang and Proenza Schouler to graphic sunset lips at Palomo Spain, key trends ranged from unconventional glamour to wearable ease.

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At Palomo Spain, it was about either a strong lip or eye, but not together. “It’s either lip or eye or nothing,” said makeup artist Marcelo Gutierrez. Lips were rouged with a hint of glitter and lined with a very dark lip liner, of which all were MAC. Eyelids were bare but with a geometric black line underneath. “It’s sexy, still effortless but with an aggression that wasn’t there last season,” said Gutierrez. “We wanted to create a look that felt tempting, but unattainable at the same time.”

For the hair, it was all about keeping everything sleek and away from the face, according to Sarah Lund, style master at Kevin Murphy. There was some color though, with a hint of red extensions for some, but not all, models. “The peek-a-boo red panels were a cool nod to the ‘90s and really worked to elevate the look, while the rest of the looks highlighted natural texture,” said Lund. “What I love about these looks is that the clothes become the main focus — it’s pulling everything away but having an elegant and sophisticated finish to the hair.”

Backstage at Eckhaus Latta Spring 2024

Backstage at Eckhaus Latta Spring 2024

Eckhaus Latta included bronzed and highlighted skin. “We did a contour with a gold highlight so it was almost a nod to Studio 54 — just a little bit less glamorous,” said MAC Cosmetics makeup artist Daniel Sallstrom, who keyed the show. “We wanted something that didn’t feel too specific, that felt cool and had a rawness to it.”

The windswept hair at Eckhaus Latta drew inspiration from walking into a building with heavy air conditioning, or sticking one’s head out of the window of a moving car. Dylan Chavles, who used Oribe Hair Care, said it mirrored the show’s setting, which incorporated escalators at Rockefeller Center. “The idea is that everyone’s in motion and we just grabbed them,” she said. “It’s almost the hair’s a fabric in a way, since the collection has so many different fabrics and textures.” Mousse tamed the sides of the hair, while texturizing spray gave strands their windswept quality.

Jason Wu RTW Spring 2024

Jason Wu RTW Spring 2024

Entire bottles of Extra Hold Gel by Tresemmé gave Jimmy Paul, the hair stylist behind the look at Jason Wu, the pliability and gloss he needed. “The idea is that a woman had her hair really done and then got soaking wet,” he said. “It’s destroyed, deconstructed, but what’s left might have been more beautiful than how it started.”

That complemented high-gloss skin with minimal foundation and lip gloss on eyes and cheeks — but not on lips, said makeup artist Diane Kendal, who used Wu’s namesake beauty brand. “We’re doing this across the lid, then underneath and in the contour, blending it out. But we’re just using a balm on the lip.”

Backstage at LaQuan Smith Spring 2024

Backstage at LaQuan Smith Spring 2024

LaQuan Smith’s makeup followed suit, pairing dramatic cat eyes and full lashes with “buttery, glowy, balmy skin to keep with the skin care trend that’s going on right now,” said Lancôme makeup artist Sheika Daley. “I call this the date night look because it’s really sexy. It’s very piercing so they’ll be able to walk down the runway and look like they’re going on a date.”

Hairstylist Lacy Redway created a look of chic severity with slick long bone-straight tresses parted down the middle. “LaQuan specializes in really glamorous looks that are sexy and also graphic, and he has strong tailoring in this collection,” she said. “I wanted some graphic lines as well in the hairstyle but that still feels expensive to complement the collection — shiny, elegant.”

Other looks, while simple, took laid-back inspiration from decades past.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 11: A model has makeup applied backstage at MERIT, The Official Makeup Sponsor For The Proenza Schouler Show on February 11, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for MERIT)

A model has makeup applied backstage using Merit at the Proenza Schouler Show.

For the most wearable looks, stylists took cues from ’90s hairstyles. “Natural hair is so of-the-moment,” said Guido Palau, who used Bumble and bumble products backstage at Proenza Schouler. “We are embracing a nod to the ’90s — a trend towards minimal, simple, graphic hair but bringing it up to 2024 to embrace natural texture and individuality.

“Simplicity is made special by using our fingers with the right products to place parts and styling to give a natural and effortless look, suited to the faces of each model,” Palau continued.

Backstage at Helmut Lang RTW Spring 2024

Backstage at Helmut Lang RTW Spring 2024

Hair at Helmut Lang, where designer Peter Do staged his debut collection for the ’90s cult favorite, also harkened back to the decade. Inspiration for the hair included “Old ’90s Helmut Lang pictures, and we wanted to bring it to the new age,” lead hairstylist Jawara said, who used Dyson tools and Bumble and bumble products. “People are taking dirty hair, putting it in knots — we used an old rake comb from the ’80s, which we haven’t seen in a while. We used a lot of salt spray on the girls with straight hair to give it a bit of texture, a bit more rough — undone, but done.”

That ethos also followed into the makeup looks, said Sallstrom, the MAC Cosmetics makeup artist who keyed the show. “We wanted to create something that felt quite androgynous, so rather than doing anything too pretty, it was about creating a mood and sharpness to the face,” he said. “The lines are very cutting, straight to the outer corner of the eye, very sharp… we kept the skin raw, just a little concealer with a tiny bit of face [makeup] to give a bit of finish to the skin.”

Christian Siriano RTW Spring 2024

Christian Siriano RTW Spring 2024

The mood was more romantic at Christian Siriano, where Redway, using Tresemmé, embroidered satin ribbons into the model’s hair. “The collection is about the ballet and ballerinas, so I wanted to marry that in a modern way,” she said. “The ribbons are peeking out of the hair in different placements, so when the models walk, it moves with them.”

Backstage at Collina Strada RTW Spring 2024

Backstage at Collina Strada RTW Spring 2024

Futuristic skin also took the fore at Collina Strada and Dion Lee. Fara Homidi, who used her namesake brand at Collina Strada, said, “We’re doing what I’m calling ‘snatchural,’ which is natural, but snatched… It’s a bit futuristic, but not in a specific way. We wanted to nod to futurism, but not too on-the-nose.”

Guttierez, who used Kjaer Weis makeup backstage at Dion Lee, said the goal was to exaggerate bone structure and add an otherworldly finish to complexions. The look was “inspired by A.I. skin, which has a hyper-luminosity to it — it looks real, but it’s still totally unattainable,” he said. “There’s a lot of metal, there’s a lot of workwear elements in the collection, so we wanted to play off of very tech-heavy skin.”

Dion Lee RTW Spring 2024

Dion Lee RTW Spring 2024

At that show, Bumble and bumble stylist Evanie Frausto also went for sleek and simple hair. “Dion is the definition of chic fashion — very sleek, sexy and modern,” he said. “In the end, I just want to give super gorgeous, natural hair and very sleek looks.”

Frausto, who also worked on models at Collina Strada, went cottagecore-meets-urbanism for the hair. “She’s still a little bit quirky and weird in a good way,” he said of his muse, taking inspiration from basket braids. “It’s a little sweaty, but very organic and light waves.”

Wiederhoeft went for a mix between ethereal and eerie. Karla Serrano, the Redken stylist who helmed that show, said she pulled inspiration from “Mullholand Drive.” “A lot of the time when we think of something dreamlike, we think of pretty hair — I wanted a nightmare kind of vibe,” she said of the slicked-back side parts.

Wiederhoeft RTW Spring 2024

Wiederhoeft RTW Spring 2024

Wiederhoeft’s “Night Terror at the Opera”-themed performance encompassed dewy skin and light-catching inner eye corner highlight all around. “We’re keeping it very delicate, very ethereal, but also it’s not a no-makeup makeup,” said makeup artist Sharryn Hinchliffe for MAC  Cosmetics.

Michaela Bosch, the makeup artist at Elena Velez, opted for a common skin care ingredient — kaolin clay — as her weapon of choice, slathering it across cheeks and on a few, head-to-toe. “It’s about a feral, toxic woman, almost like a swamp-creature, inhuman kind of character,” she said.

Backstage at Elena Velez RTW Spring 2024

Backstage at Elena Velez RTW Spring 2024

Isaac Davidson, who did the hair, had waist-length extensions laid out on tables backstage. “[Long hair] is just so powerful,” he said. “Our models have things that are interesting beyond just being pretty.”

Fantasy reigned supreme at The Blonds, as mermaids, unicorns and Greek mythology served as key sources of inspiration for the beauty looks. Hair stylist Kien Hoang, who used Oribe products backstage, created a unicorn-inspired look with “30-to-46 inches of hair to replicate the mane of a horse.” Hoang added a bit of shine by dotting model’s hair parts with crystals and wetting strands with mist and gel for a mermaid-esque look.

The sparkle didn’t stop there. Nail artist Juan Alvear designed studded and chrome manicures on Kiss press-ons. “I thought about The Blonds and how they always create these fantasy worlds of glitz and glam, crystals on everything and wanted to match that showiness,” Alvear told Beauty Inc.

MAC senior makeup artist Baltasar González Pinel seconded this notion with glittery eye looks patted on a Vaseline base for extra staying power. “You’re going to see elements that are inspired in the Greek myths. You’re going to see Medusa. You’re going to see unicorns. You’re going to see lions,” he said.

Luar RTW Spring 2024

Luar RTW Spring 2024

Luar closed out the week with a bang. Brooklyn-native creative director Raul Lopez tapped nail artist — and his childhood friend — Naomi Yusada to create ornate nails encrusted with faux pearls and gold and silver jewelry — the kind you could “find in your grandmother’s jewelry box,” Yusada said.

The hair, executed by Frausto using Bumble and bumble products, was equally elaborate. Models donned an array of gravity-defying spiky updos, waist-length braids and high-shine, slicked-back looks. “It’s very structural and kind of ’90s-inspired,” said Frausto. “It’s a continuation of what [Luar] has been doing.”

Makeup artist Raoúl Alejandre completed the look with dramatic lashes — some models donned three sets each, placed on their upper eyelids and both upper and lower lash lines — and eyeshadow looks which mirrored the textures and neutral hues of the collection. One buttercream shade in particular stood out to Alejandre, who emulated the color for a brow-bone highlight. “I feel like we need to bring back a brow-bone highlight — it’s fabulous,” he said, adding that for lips, he gently faded MAC’s Cork and Chestnut liners inward for an ombré effect. “[They’re] our iconic Latina colors.”

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