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From messy mermaidcore to endless rhinestone embellishments, these are the trends you’ll be seeing everywhere — just ask the pros backstage.
We make plans, and the universe laughs. This was the unofficial theme at New York Fashion Week Spring 2024, where weather ranged from sweltering heat to torrential downpours, thus throwing a wrench in the methodically mapped-out appearances of attendees. Poetically enough, the runway beauty trends reflected a person who doesn’t let day-to-day mishaps get them down.
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Said person makes the most of things. They embrace mild sunburns and hair-ruining rain storms. They can find their own fun, be it through imaginative rhinestone appliqués or reused ribbon accessories. This season, the best beauty looks focused on accessible playfulness. FASHION listed them all below, along with some tips from the experts.
Caught in a storm on your way to something fabulous? Fret not! The sleek “wet” look has been going strong for a while. But this season, the damp hairstyle reached new levels by, well, getting messy. At Jason Wu, models were meant to appear as though they had just emerged from a shipwreck. “The idea is that the woman had her hair all done and then it got soaking wet — so it’s destroyed,” explains celebrity hairstylist Jimmy Paul backstage on a grey, rainy day. “But what’s left, in fact, might be even more beautiful than how it started.” Achieving the style is similarly chaotic. After wetting the models’ hair, Paul scrunched TreSemmé Mega Control Hair Gel throughout, before finishing with the brand’s Keratin Smooth Shine Serum. To add long-lasting texture, he generously applied mousse and locked it all in with hairspray. “It should look effortless, easy and like an afterthought,” he says. “Like it took two seconds.”
Futuristic French tips
Sure, it’s got its critics, but the French mani remains a classic because it can be constantly reinvented. This season, the two-toned template had an avant-garde flair, from embroidered tips at PatBO to red dipped ends at Alice + Olivia. The most eye-catching iteration was the chrome finish at Prabal Gurung (above), courtesy of lead nail designer Gina Edwards. Using KISS Bare but Better Nails as a base, Edwards and her team applied silver or gold gel onto nails for a dripping three-dimensional effect. “With a metallic half-and-half nail, you could carry it through from day to night,” she says, adding that gold and silver do in fact go well together. “Metallics are great all year round.” To recreate the stylistic finish, Edwards suggests using the nude press-ons and applying “a little freeform action at the tip” with a gold polish. The less uniform it looks, the better.
Health is wealth
Move over, alien brows and heavily contoured cheekbones — au natural is in. Think: that glistening post-run flush and those soft, sun-induced freckles. At Proenza Schouler and Ulla Johnson, fresh-faced models graced the runways with dewy Hailey Bieber-esque skin. At Staud, where models had subtly sunburnt cheeks, makeup artist Romy Soleimani was inspired by effortlessly cool ’90s editorials like those of Calvin Klein. “It shouldn’t feel like makeup, it should just feel like skin that has a little tint of warmth to it,” she says backstage. She used Bobbi Brown’s Vitamin Enriched Pressed Finishing Powder to add a fine “veil” of blush. “We’re trying to mimic real health. Like, you exercise, you’re fresh…It’s optimistic,” Soleimani shares. “Coming off of the pandemic, it’s great to evoke health even more.”
Save your ribbons!
To those who can never bear to throw away the satin sashes that wrap up pretty packages: Your time has come. These decorative DIY embellishments reigned supreme at New York Fashion Week. Collina Strada showed whimsical strands wrapped around long gauzy strips, while Alice + Olivia had polished bows affixed to elegant buns. Christian Siriano took this trend to new levels, with a “corset braid” courtesy of Unilever stylist and celebrity hair artist Lacy Redway. She describes the tightly wrapped strands as a put-together spin on the “clean girl” aesthetic, fitting for a “ballerina fairy who twirls down the runway.” (Pro tip: Prep the hair with mousse before you begin braiding.) From floral arrangements to intricate updos, the humble ribbon goes with anything.
Severely sharp lines
To borrow an old proverb (er, Taylor Swift lyric), the mood at New York Fashion Week was about drawing cat eyes sharp enough to kill. Runways relished in the sensual style by pairing graphic eyeliner with minimal skin makeup. At Khaite, punky blunt slashes were painted under the brow. At Helmut Lang, eyelids had extended liners in jet black, bright white and vibrant yellow. Cat eyes went futuristic at LaQuan Smith, where Lancôme global international makeup artist Sheika Daley drew two nearly connecting lines from the waterline and inner corner. “We’re leaving a little bit of negative space on the inside to create a beautiful halo effect,” she explains.
The easiest way to infuse drama into any look? Add a little bling. Rhinestones adorned updos and eyeshadow at Dauphinette. Stick-on jewels were applied to faces and fingers at Sandy Liang. And gemstones reigned supreme at The Blonds, from beaded middle parts to ornamental acrylics. “[We were] thinking about that feeling of whimsy, fantasy and [living] a dream life,” says celeb nail artist Juan Alvear, who layered on acrylics for the claw-like effect. Off the runway, recreating these embellishments is surprisingly attainable. To play off his nail art, Alvear recommends using nude press-ons as a base and applying KISS Nail Art Rhinestones as you wish. Reckless abandon is good, actually!
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