Kim Shui’s Show Declared 2023 as the Year of Hair Tattoos
Think of hair extensions as a blank canvas.
If you weren’t already considering growing your hair waist or butt-length (or getting extensions) due to mermaid hair beginning to trend, Kim Shui’s show at New York Fashion Week on Sunday, Feb. 12, would surely convince you. As the models walked down the stairs at the Capitale building wearing lace, cropped vegan fur jackets, and vegan snakeskin, their mini-skirt-hem-length hair swung behind them on the runway. Going along with the letter “K” print motif throughout the collection (which appeared bedazzled on necklaces, skirts, and bras), some models even had a “K” hair tattoo printed on the back of their smooth straight hair—officially declaring 2023 the year that hair becomes the next makeup canvas.
The Autumn/Winter 2023 collection was a celebration of femininity, exploring autonomy and freedom. “I think that the Kim Shui girl has always been a girl who celebrates her sensuality and the female form,” Shui told NYLON. “She's not afraid to take agency. She dresses herself instead of being dressed by others.” Shui says that the collection was heavily influenced by the feminist political issues of the past year. “We’ve seen women’s rights taken away from them, protests over dress, hair, and appearance,” she says. “The Kim Shui girl an act of resistance and a symbol of courage. She’s taking into account her power of self and doesn’t forsake the freedoms she has been given, bringing awareness and transcendence to the public.”
The hair stylists behind the show’s looks, Jaylin Youm and Paul Miller from Jax and King, wanted to make the hair itself an accessory to the clothes. Using 45-inch super sleek hair extensions, even the models walking into the show with a pixie cuts could walk the runway with ultra-long hair. “The hair inspiration for Kim Shui came from a hybrid marriage of Y2K street style and that It-girl-with-a-credit-card and a zero fucks attitude,” Youm says. “The woman that wants to stand out in every regard—an absolute maximalist.” Miller says they found their look by “merging a bespoke-meets-Banksy-meets the bleach-out obsessions of the 2000s”.
Each model with the extensions used close to three bundles of hair each. The team secured the model’s hair down with Redken Max Sculpting Hardware gel, then layered it with Redken Triple Take 32 hairspray, before attaching the hair extensions with Easihair Pro tape adhesives. Paul Miller created the hair tattoo stencils in advance of the show—using the lace, python, and the signature “K” from the collection and supersizing them. The hair tapes were added to each weft by the hair team, taking close to three days.
Alongside the ultra-straight extensions, including red striped hair tattoos, some models were also given knee-length box braids. These, say Youm and Miller, were done the day of the show. “Our last model’s look was executed start to finish in 20 minutes,” says Miller, who explains her everyday hair is a curly, inch-long pixie cut. The result, with the hair moving and swinging as each model walked, was meant to be reminiscent of the “video vixen vibes” from the heyday of MTV, says Youm.
With New York Fashion Week wrapping up this week, there’s no denying that the Kim Shui show set the scene for 2023 to be the year of the maximalist, politically-engaged It-girl. Completing a playful show filled with surprises, key makeup artist Romero Jennings used MAC Cosmetics with the inspiration of “empowering women while celebrating the female form”. This included lipliner in the cult-favorite shade Nightmoth (also the preferred shade of Jenna Ortega’s Wednesday Addams) and purple lipstick. The model’s skin was prepped using the Sajic Rejuvenat Peptide Serum and Renutriate Sensitive Nourishing Cream before the show, proving there’s nothing more It-girl than taking care of your skin while caring about the world around you.