Another season of men’s runway shows have come and gone, with designers showcasing their collections for Fall 2024 over the last few weeks — first in Florence, then Milan, and finally, Paris.
While the focus is on the designers and the clothes they craft, the hair and makeup artists work extremely hard backstage to create looks that complement the clothes.
Often, in menswear, this means doing as little as possible. Be that as it may, there are always trends that emerge from the shows that we might try out ourselves. Interestingly, the Fall 2024 trends that stood out were often at odds with one another: some models looked youthful and refreshed, while others were older and sometimes tired-looking, for example. It also raised questions about how we present ourselves to the world. What if it were OK to not hide our puffy, red eyes after a good cry or a late night out?
Gone with the wind
Did somebody leave the backstage door open? Because many a model’s hair looked decidedly windblown.
At Wooyoungmi in Paris, models’ locks (both short and long) were frozen in place, as if caught in a gust of wind blowing across the runway. Others had their hair styled upward, as if they were facing a headwind. A model’s hair at KidSuper was also whisked skyward, and the opening look of LGN Louis Gabriel Nouchi’s show featured a similar style.
At Junya Watanabe, models’ hair was at times a bit wayward — a tuft blown out of place — and at other times, much more windswept.
It was, of course, not accidental — the hairstyles were carefully crafted to look dishevelled and a touch erratic. A reminder that sometimes the most refined thing is something out of place.
Get wiggy with it
At the opposite end of the spectrum were a series of structured wigs, so varied that they exemplified the limitless possibilities hairpieces afford.
Junya Watanabe’s presentation featured a model wearing a wig of braids that framed the face. At Walter Van Beirendonck, hairstylist Charlie Le Mindu’s creations included what might best be described as a helmet — a Lego-like hairpiece: sculptural, flat and plastic-like.
And models at Comme des Garçons sported a variety of white wigs (more on that below). Interestingly, Watanabe and Van Beirendonck have collaborated with Kawakubo — the former’s line falls under the Comme des Garçons umbrella, while the latter worked with Kawakubo earlier in his career. Perhaps they exchanged notes (and wigs!).
Is that a white hair?
One of the standout clothing trends from the men’s collections was white as one of Fall 2024’s “it” colours, and it has influenced the season’s approach to hair too.
Rei Kawakubo’s Comme des Garçons Homme Plus show was centred around the colour — the clothes, the embellishments and the hair. For the occasion, models paraded down the runway in white wigs of varying lengths and styles. The effect was dramatic, as Kawakubo’s shows usually are.
At Yohji Yamamoto, the white hair was natural — included in the cast were several models with grey and white hair.
And models with bleached hair were given a place of honour at Loewe, where frosted hair opened the show and closed it. It was as if both Jonathan Anderson and hair stylist Anthony Turner wanted to be sure we noticed.
And if they’re telling us to take note, we probably should.
There was a counterpoint to many of the standout looks this season. Alongside the white hair on the runway, makeup artists gave models a youthful, fresh-faced look.
At Fendi in Milan, there was a noticeable blush to the models’ cheeks, nodding to the inspiration for the collection — the British countryside. It’s how your cheeks might look after a day hunting in the chilly Scottish air.
It was a similar vibe at Emporio Armani, where models looked as if they had just come from a post-sauna shower, cheeks slightly rosy, hair wet and combed through.
At Dior, Peter Philips, the maison’s creative and image director for makeup, created light, luminous looks inspired by a ballet dancer’s complexion as they exit the stage — flushed faces, neat hair, but not austere — to go with a collection inspired by the legendary Rudolf Nureyev.
… and less-than-fresh faces
Not everybody looked as invigorated, however. If the Fendis, Diors and Armanis of the Fall 2024 runways championed a youthful, fresh masculine face, others presented more tired, dirty, even swollen features.
In Florence, Achilles Ion Gabriel’s models wore heavy eye shadow, which gave their eyes a tired look. At Magliano, who was also invited to show in Florence this season, we saw smeared lipstick and lips that were coloured just enough to suggest the lipstick had worn off.
At Doublet, not only were the models wearing contacts that obscured the eye, but also makeup so their eyes looked swollen and pink, as if the models were suffering from allergies or had spent hours crying.
At Sankuanz, some of the models’ faces looked like Jackson Pollock canvases, with a splattering of inky makeup across their skin. Other faces were made up to look more feverish than blushing.
If this seems like a wide range of looks for one season, perhaps it’s because the makeup artists and creative directors are offering something for everyone. Maybe Dior’s flushed cheeks and balletic clothing aren’t for you, but Doublet’s darker, grungier style is.