NYFW's Boldest Beauty Trends

New York Fashion Week is arguably the event in the style calendar and, whilst clothing and outfit trends are talked about for weeks to come, the beauty choices made by designers can often feel overlooked.

The hair and makeup selected does more than just enhance clothing and accessories worn by models; the looks we see on the runway will affect our own beauty routines and regimens, just like trends set by designers eventually find their way onto the high street. It’s time to start watching beauty with a more discerning eye and appreciate the work of makeup artists and hair stylists in making runways memorable.

If the mood of NYFW had to be summarised in two words they would be ‘rebellion’ and ‘activism’. This feeling of change and freshness was illustrated in the expressive ensembles which dared to be passionate. Inclusivity in fashion has always proven to be tricky but this fashion week did mark some noticeable shifts. For instance, Chromat led the way with Ericka Hart wearing a neon slip that showed her double mastectomy scars. The growing acceptance and awareness of gender fluidity also featured through Gypsy Sports’s gender-fluid line-up.

Diversity has also spread to encompass beauty. Gypsy Sport had ten-year-old LGBTQ+ activist Desmond Napoles in their line-up, showing the brand’s commitment to diversity. Fresh rouged cheeks and dewy skin accompanied grey slick locks placed carefully on the forehead, showing a subtle approach to androgynous makeup - a great starting point for those who wish to start experimenting. The wet hair look shows little signs of disappearing.

Similarly, the glittery eyelids and cheeks show no sign of slowing down. The gold eyeliner shown in the Ulla Johnson show is a more approachable way to sport this look. Some of these trends may seem very difficult to pull off in everyday life but, much like the clothing we see on runways, we can pare down some aspects to suit our needs better.

That said, no designers shied away from eye colour this season. Traditional black eyeliners and neutrals were replaced with neon brights. Blue eyeshadow may be an embarrassing reminder from our days experimenting with make-up in 2009, but the Khadra sisters managed to carry off this difficult trend with poppy red lips and lit-from-within skin for a great front row look. In the spirit of inclusivity and diversity, red lips had a much greater variety in hue from brick browns to lush oranges. Chromat went for glossy blood orange, whilst Bottega Veneta favoured a matte scarlet.

The most striking hair accessory of the week was courtesy of Alexander Wang, where models were bringing back the claw clip. The throwback accessory has made an unlikely comeback and shows hairstyling which is, according to Guido Palau, ‘80s executive’, albeit suitable for the modern woman in 2018.


Of course, if this explosion of colour isn’t something you’re overly keen on, Tom Ford’s '60s revival provides a more muted aesthetic. Smoky eyeshadow and clumpy eyelashes make nods to style icons such as Twiggy. The addition of a leather headband by hairstylist Orlando Pita on Kaia Gerber ensured that the vintage-inspired look stayed memorable with a hint of edge. Another way to reinvent a classic was seen in Jason Wu’s show. Makeup artist Yadim reimagined staple winged eyeliner by smudging black eyeshadow on the outer corner of the eyes. This easy adjustment will definitely be something worth trying for those who want to update their eyeliner routine.

2018's NYFW has taught us that we need to get more playful with eyeshadow colours, take risks, and reconsider older trends. The neutral but highly contoured look so popularised recently by the Kardashians is slowly being replaced for something more akin to the past where creative eccentric looks reigned. But these beauty trends also have one foot in the future; they are responding to the activism which is at the forefront of politics and fashion alike.


StyleShamika TamhaneComment