It’s that time of the year, again! Fashion Week is upon us, the women’s shows beginning in just two days. While it’s an exciting time for anyone who's "in the know" when it comes to fashion, the catwalk has also become a go-to for beauty lovers alike. It’s become the birthplace of seasonal beauty trends, as each designer’s collection is presented with coordinating hair, makeup, and nail looks.
But what goes into creating a beauty look for a runway show? How much influence does a designer, and their clothing, actually have on it? And from here, how do these looks translate into the actual trends that trickle down to the streets months later?
Ahead of shows beginning later this week, we talked to five beauty leads that take charge backstage season after season to find out their creative process for preparing a look for NYFW, and what trends they think will hit it big for Fall 2018.
Check out their predictions and more, below.
Justine Marjan, TRESemmé global stylist
When TRESemmé global stylist Justine Marjan starts planning hair looks for the various NYFW shows she leads (she's worked Cushnie et Ochs, Alice and Olivia, and Tanya Taylor in the past), she goes in with an open mind. “The designer and the creative director for the line usually have a pretty clear vision who the girl wearing the collection is, so the beauty look has to reflect that,” she says. After attending the hair tests and feeling out what the overall vibe is, she then begins to hash out what the actual hair look will be.
However, when it comes to inspiration, a lot of it comes from a reaction to shows and looks from the past. “Beauty looks are born the same way fashion trends are. We see a lot recycled from previous generations and usually a rebellion to the trend born right before. For example, we saw so many messy, deconstructed looks years ago, and then a shift to super-sleek, shiny, and polished strands right after,” she says. Of course, this final look 100 percent depends on the designers themselves.
What trend is birthing following the emergence of sleek and polished? For Marjan, it’s individuality. “I think everything is in, and that’s really a reflection of people embracing their individuality and uniqueness. I love that more and more women are embracing their natural hair textures—playing with unique cuts, fringes, hair accessories, and hair color. On the runways, we’re seeing more models styled individually instead of them all conforming to the same beauty looks,” she says.
Rodney Cutler, owner of Cutler Salon
When Rodney Cutler, founder of Cutler Salon, is preparing a hair look for a fashion show, he finds that looking at the clothing is crucial for inspiration. The hairstylist, who’s done hair for Nicole Miller and Claudia Li in the past, also likes to “really understand the designer—who they are, what their aesthetic is, etc.—and look at their previous collections to see what they’ve done before, to ensure the ideas are fresh and new, and also to help educate myself on their work.”
When it comes to trends, he feels that they happen organically. “I always find it quite remarkable when you look back at the end of a season and there’s a common thread to the hair looks that come down the runway,” says Cutler. “It’s truly an organic evolution, it’s not like all hair stylists get together and make a decision about trends before each season. These looks are born in the hair test, and that’s where you dig deep to discover the right hairstyle to represent the clothes and designer in the best way.” He predicts that with the past “extremes” of wet and super-matte looks, there will be an eventual return to clean and healthy hair.
Fatima Thomas, M.A.C Cosmetics senior artist
For Fatima Thomas, M.A.C Cosmetics senior artist, it’s all about the collaboration between designer and makeup artist when it comes to creating a beauty look for a show. A makeup artist who’s been responsible for the beauty looks at Chromat, Simon Miller, and John Galliano in the past, she doesn’t “wait for an assignment to seek inspiration—we’re always open to it!”
Still, even as her creativity flows, the designer’s vision must always be kept in mind. “As a makeup artist, I’m there to help the designer tell their story for the season.”
When it comes to inspiration, Thomas will pull from everything and anything spanning the past, present, and future. “We often look back to go forward, finding visual elements from the past as inspiration,” she says. “Envisioning the future is fun, too. Of course, what’s happening in society—art, culture, social movements—undoubtedly informs the aesthetic. From my observations, trends seem to flow in a gradual evolution. For example, red lips became a trend; artists then began to explore every way to express red lips—matte, glossy, blurry, variations in the hue, etc.—and then out of nowhere something dramatically different will disrupt that mainstream flow, like blackened lips.”
What is Thomas expecting to see more of for Fall 2018? “Glitter, glitter, glitter! People seem to want dazzle and sparkle, not just in makeup, but also in clothing and décor—look at the sequin trend that emerged recently. My theory is that in times of great anxiety and uncertainty, people crave things that reflect light. We all want more light, literally and figuratively.”
Deborah Lippmann, founder and creative director of Deborah Lippmann
Deborah Lippmann, founder and creative director of Deborah Lippmann, draws inspiration for nail looks she creates from just about anywhere. “My inspiration comes from my travels, friends who are designers and creative geniuses, stylists, photographers, customers, and everyday life. NYC, where I live, also fuels me constantly with its city lights, the concrete, the water, and the greenery of the nearby Hudson River,” she says.
But when it comes to Fashion Month, it’s truly a collaboration between an entire creative team. Weeks of preparation can go into creating looks for a show, but the days leading up to it is when it all really comes together. “Oftentimes, I will receive inspiration boards or clothing fabric samples in advance to get my creative juices flowing, but the real magic happens at the test a few days prior to the show. The designer obviously begins with a vision of who their woman/man is, but then we work together on test day to create an extraordinary look—this is by far my favorite moment of Fashion Week.”
Lippmann is envisioning the ‘70s throwback trend continuing throughout 2018, which will result in warm, muted tones such as rusts, olives, burgundy, golden yellows, and navy blues appearing on the nails to complement the modernized bell bottoms, big hair, and platforms she expects to see. “It’s very earthy, worn-in, and aged,” she says. “Think: bronze, dirty metals, and clay-like colors.”
Grace Lee, Maybelline global makeup artist
Grace Lee, Maybelline global makeup artist who has worked on shows such as Opening Ceremony, Monse, and Public School, first looks to the designer’s inspiration to help spark her own creative juices. “I always like to hear the designer’s inspiration, as it has a lot to do with mood, color, tones, and fabrics,” she says. From there, she creates looks that ensure that both the designer, as well as herself, have their stamps of approval on.
What’s Lee expecting to see more of for fall? “I always hope for something a little different to catch on, such as an ombré lip or a more three-dimensional lip.”