Balenciaga’s Spring/Summer 2023 show was bound to get attention in both the fashion and beauty worlds. With a front row filled with fashion’s biggest players right now (from Alexa Demie to Doja Cat and Kylie Jenner), a roster of 75 models walking an outdoor muddy runway in heels and gowns, and Kanye West opening the show wearing Balenciaga’s take on military garb, the spectacle was made to grab eyeballs and headlines. But among so many elements, a punk beauty moment still managed to make a massive impact. Each of the models was accessorized with various punk prosthetics and piercings, adding another element of danger and rebellion to an already unconventional runway show.
For Balenciaga’s Spring 2023 show, makeup artist (and frequent brand collaborator) Inge Grognard keyed the make up design. Drag and transformation artist Alexis Stone was responsible for creating the prosthetics and piercings. Along with hairstylist Gary Gill who keyed the hair looks, the glam team put together a memorable collection of hardcore-looking characters to walk down the runway in Balenciaga’s latest creations. The overall aesthetic was one part intimidatingly cool and one part sleep paralysis demon.
The large cast of models walked the runway wearing various combinations of lip rings, snake bite piercings, Monroe piercings around the lips, eyebrow piercings, bridge piercings around the eyes, cheek, and dimple piercings. The “jewelry” ranged in increasingly hazardous (and painful) seeming accessories, from balls and barbells, to spikes and even what appeared to be curved nails.
While spring runways often tend towards brighter colors and an overall lightness, we’ve seen many designers embrace the dark side this season, confirming at least for Spring 2023 that punk is not, in fact, dead. Balenciaga is just the next in line to show an emo beauty moment, after Puma’s black lipstick, Dior’s thick, smudged-out eyeliner, and Prada’s spooky eyelash extensions, to name just a few.
Face and body piercings have been experiencing a renaissance as of late, with Cynthia Erivo and Florence Pugh making them a part of their high fashion red carpet looks. Katie Holmes has been wearing her cool girl-signifying nostril piercing out and about in New York. Even Generation Alpha It Girl North West is in on the trend, as she wore a faux nose ring attached to her earring with chains at Balenciaga’s couture show back in July 2022.
Balenciaga is calling it now: serious facial piercings are back and pointier than ever. So, if you’re looking for unconventional piercing ideas look no further. Check out more images of the heavy metal piercings from Balenciaga’s Spring 2023 show, below.