New York Fashion Week is in full force, which means that a new era of beauty trends are upon us: The hair, makeup, and nail looks brought to life on the runways are bound to leave an impact for months to come. It’s no surprise why—the best of the best in the beauty business are responsible for dreaming up the statement-making, or in some cases, subtle glam to grace the catwalk. Designers like Pat Bo, Prabal Gurung, and Alice & Olivia have already put on their sprin/summer 2023 shows—and the fashion speaks for itself (we’ve also rounded up the best looks of the season for your perusing pleasure). But we’d like to take a closer look at the beauty magic that went on backstage and behind the scenes.
From the resurgence of side parts (we saw them at Christian Siriano and Tommy Hilfiger) to one-off moments (à la the dreamy chrome glaze jelly nails at Rebecca Minkoff), New York Fashion Week is shaping up to be an overflowing pool of beauty inspo. Here, we’ve rounded up the best beauty looks so far—and asked the masterminds behind the scenes to share their mood boards, go-to products, and backstage secrets from NYFW.
Old Hollywood Glamour at Christian Siriano
With a fashion show stationed in Elizabeth Taylor’s old townhouse, it’s fairly apt that the hair and makeup inspiration was drawn from the ‘40s and ‘50s. Hair, which was led by stylist Lacy Redway, was dubbed a “modern take on the iconic Audrey Hepburn bun,” featuring a deep side part and slicked down side bangs. The era also inspired the “classic bombshell” makeup, which was led by Sofia Tilbury (opens in new tab) for Charlotte Tilbury. With a feline flick, dewy skin, and a pop of red on the lips, the completed look oozed Old Hollywood glamour.
Natural Skin at Kate Spade
Think: Caught in the rain. From wet hair to dewy skin, the look for the Kate Spade showcase was natural, albeit slightly enhanced. “The whole concept was seeing the girl’s skin. If they have freckles, we wanted to play up the freckles. If they have a tan, keep the tan. We wanted this fresh, healthy skin,” lead makeup artist Laura Stiassni told Marie Claire. Hair, which was lead by Jenny Kim, took a similar laid back tune. “It’s quite literal—she’s got wet hair. The biggest thing was trying to make it look beautiful and not swampy. It was about putting the right amount of movement into the hair to make it look natural.” Her go-to product? Castor oil. “It’s a two for one: It’s good for your hair and gives a really beautiful luster.”
Soft & Smoky at Pat Bo
“Gunmetal glitter” was the name of the game at Pat Bo. “The girls are all in very shimmery, sexy outfits so we wanted something to compliment that and not take away,” lead makeup artist Charlie Riddle says. He kept the skin, brows, and lips uber-natural, pulling all the attention to a soft, smoky eye. The two-product look is quick and easy to achieve—all you need is five minutes.
Spiky Buns at Jason Wu
Glowy skin (courtesy of 111Skin), ‘90s-inspired eye makeup, and an ever-so-slight contour complete with Jason Wu Beauty eyeshadow, set the stage for this beauty look, but the hair is what landed it on our list. Olaplex ambassador Jimmy Paul created three separate looks: Sleek, braided twists, with the ends sticking out, short natural textured bobs, and braids. “I wanted the hair to look purposefully messy yet put together at the same time,” he tells us, referencing the quintessential “busy New York woman” as his inspiration.
Bold Bubble Eyes at Alice & Olivia
Simplistic, bold eyeshadow had a moment at a handful of shows this season, but the pops showcased at Alice & Olivia made it one of our favorites. Elyse Reneau (opens in new tab), Executive Director of Global Beauty at Too Faced, explains that the look is a play on designer Stacey Bendet’s iconic black “bubble eye.” A more subtle, albeit equally as gorgeous, part of the look is the blush placement, which was positioned right under the eye. “Putting it right underneath the center of the eye makes it look very youthful,” explains Reneau. “It’s a trend that came out of Asia and it’s making its way over here. It makes you look like that natural flush, it’s very joyful.” As for the skin? It was prepped with Arbonne skincare.
Individuality at Prabal Gurung
While models with oftentime walk the runway with one, uniform look, such was not the case at Prabal Gurung. Lead hairstylist Lucas Wilson decided to play up the individual model’s “beautiful cuts, colors, styles, and textures.” He told us, “What’s so great about this concept of hair is that you can really show how versatile models are. New Yorkers are all about individuality, so why not bring that to the runway?” Some had slicked back looks to create a “severeness” that would offset the floral clothing, others had sharp bobs, and a few even wore colorful wigs to complete a monochromatic moment.
Spiky Mohawks at Altuzarra
Hairstylist Jawara was tasked with creating a handful of looks for the runway—and the “mohawks,” which undoubtedly drew inspiration from Y2K, was one of our favorites. To achieve the look, you’ll need to section your hair into five sections, pin ‘em down with a bobby pin, and smooth flyaways with a hairspray.
Side Parts at Tommy Hilfiger
PSA: Side parts have made their official return. Not only have they been seen on stars like Kim Kardashian and Dua Lipa over the past few weeks, but they also made a splash at NYFW. For the Tommy Hilfiger show, models walked the runway with sleek, glass hair and deep side parts. The look spanned across hair types and textures and was occasionally pulled into a low ponytail or bun.
Makeup for the show was heavy on the eyes—but glowy on the skin. Makeup artist Sam Visser prepped the models with a range of products from Barneys Beauty. "Each model received four steps of skincare (Cleanser, Essence, Serum, Moisturizer) before makeup to prep their skin. After the base was applied, if the foundation was laying on the skin too heavily, we would mix some of the gel with the foundation to create a sheer more lightweight skin base," he shared with us.
Beaded Braids at Marrisa Wilson
Can we get a round of applause for Kien Hoang? The Oribe ambassador created the most gorgeous embellished braids for the Marrisa Wilson show. Every model had a slightly different hairstyle that was beaded with lucite baubles. The makeup, which was spearheaded by Nick Lujan, didn’t disappoint either. Lujan, who used Kevyn Aucoin products, gave the models little pops of pink or blue in their inner corners.
Eyebrow Rhinestones for Deus Ex Machina at Harlem Fashion Row’s Runway Show
We’ve been through bleached eyebrows, thin eyebrows had a moment, but according to Harlem Fashion Row’s Runway Show, pearl-encrusted eyebrows are what’s next. And to be perfectly honest, we’re in full support of this trend. It’s high fashion meets Euphoria. All you’ll need to recreate the look, is your rhinestone of choice, eyelash glue, and a little tweezer.
Dip-Dyed Roots at Collina Strada
Color took center stage at Collina Strada. Bumble & Bumble hairstylists were responsible for painting braids and roots shades of mint green, pink, yellow, blue, and white to create and ethereal, fairy-esque vibe. Makeup took up just as much of a whimsical aesthetic, with makeup artist Marcelo creating “fresh, super clean, healthy luminous skin.”
Futuristic Hair at No Sesso
“Sexy futurism” was the name of the game at No Sesso, says lead hairstylist Malcolm Marquez. He worked with R+Co to create custom, sculptural hair pieces ahead of time that were then molded to the model’s hair. The result? Over-the-top, architecture-inspired looks.
Flower Crowns at Keziah
One of our all-time favorite looks came to pass on the Keziah runway, where models were prepped with ethereal flower crowns. At its core, the styling worked with the individual's texture—there were beachy curls, loose ponytails, and braids. But each and every look also featured dainty flowers strategically placed along the hairline.
Chrome Glaze Jelly Nails at Rebecca Minkoff
While many of the nail looks this year fell on the more subtle, natural side of things, Rebecca Minkoff decided to take things up a notch with the help of KISS Brand Ambassador Gina Edwards. “I was inspired to create a chrome glaze jelly nail by KISS which tied into Rebecca’s modern day woman,” Edwards tells us. “The all white color palette with bold embellishments worked perfectly with the highlighted crystal nail accents.”
Floral Nails at LoveShackFancy
Nails were an extension of the clothes at the LoveShackFancy fashion show—and nail artist Gina Edwards was responsible for bringing each and every extension to life. She teamed up with KISS to create hand-painted press-ons in blue and pink variations. "Our whole inspiration is vibrancy of the city, the power, the energy. She focused on what she does best, which is beautiful flowers," Edwards explains. "Every single nail is done by hand. It takes a long time, but in the end you want it to be exactly how you and the designer envision it. It's a labor of love."
Elaborate Braids at Kim Shui
Following in the footsteps of brands like Collina Strada and Marrisa Wilson, Kim Shui was all about braids. Models wore different variations of structural braids, ranging from space buns to sculptural ponytails. The statement hair took center stage, while the makeup, which was completed by Charlie Riddle was kept soft and shimmery.
Glowy Skin at Jonathan Simkhai
Glowy was the name of the game at Jonathan Simkhai. Makeup was kept to a minimum (a little tinted moisturizer and lip balm was all the models required). "The inspiration is '90s—it was the reaction to the '80s when it was full coverage foundation, eyes, lips, and cheeks. In the '90s, everyone was like, 'We don't want to see that anymore.' We're doing luminous and dewy," makeup artist Diane Kendall told us backstage. "We did a very light coverage foundation to keep the dewiness that we got from the Noble Panacea Vitamin C Booster."
Bold Blush at Christian Cowan
"Over the top realness" was how lead makeup artist Lori Taylor Davis described the aesthetic at Christian Cowan. "Not enough people wear blush and it just doesn't get its fair due. Christian is all about that fringed out look that goes all the way from the cheek to the hairline," she said. "We went in with it. The Smashbox Halo Tint is for the cheeks and lips, so we just went to town."
Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.
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