New York Fashion Week provided a host of beauty inspiration for spring 2024, much of it affected by something of the fantastic. Inspiration came from mythology, dance, and artificial intelligence—essentially, the out-of-this-world artistry born only of being human and dreaming of things other than just that.
Though many details skewed somewhat supernatural (see: the continuation of mermaidcore and some celestial aesthetics) the escapism was balanced by unaffected looks, cheeky references, and, in some cases, no makeup at all. The Esteé Lauder look for Maria McManus, for example, was born of commuter culture, while, at at Willy Chavarria, makeup artist Marco Castro eschewed all forms of skin coverage. The resulting collection was a study in reality versus aspiration, that age-old story told through hair, skin, and makeup. Here, five beauty trends that defined New York Fashion Week and will inspire your spring beauty looks.
The ribbonaissance continued this season, runways made more romantic (and spritely) with hair adorned in thin slices of fabric. At Collina Strada, a cadre of “horse girls” grinned down the runway, manes run through with colorful hand-dyed chiffon in asymmetrical styles reminiscent of some erratic Ren Faire. Strips of jersey cut directly from dresses served as ribbon-esque headbands at Helmut Lang, and Christian Siriano‘s ballet-inspired collection came with the satin accessories to match, pale pink ribbons pinned to fall within (and well-past) loose lengths like extensions—and laced through hairstylist Lacy Redway’s viral corseted updo.
More was more in terms of eye makeup—except, of course, when it wasn’t. From the neoprene, tack-sharp wings and black rectangles at Helmut Lang to the surrealist lashes at Luar to the gaze-encasing cat eyes at LaQuan Smith, an assemblage of graphic details were marked by a bold approach. Conversely, the graphic eye enhancements at Palomo Spain and Eckhaus Latta were more about what wasn’t there, scant under eye lines and fluid, globular delineations proving the visual power of negative space and floating shapes.
Yes, we’re all still yearning for a life under the sea, but the new wave of mermaidcore comes with some edge. Sandy Liang quoted The Little Mermaid in her show notes, dainty diamante additions around the eyes referred to as “rhinestone barnacles” backstage, starfish clips finishing and seashell ear cuffs paired with deeply-parted, nearly wet-look lengths. Edges veered into dampened territory at Luar; ethereal waves and shells were spotted at Anna Sui; wet updos reigned at Khaite; and the skin at Jason Wu was designed to read wet, luminous, and worthy of a mythical sea creature.
Unfiltered versus Filtered
The inspiration for complexions came from opposite ends of the humanity spectrum, from the grease of commuter culture to preternatural perfection. Backstage at Maria McManus, the designer referenced the appeal of a woman just exiting the subway and embracing the reality of “sweaty-girl summer,” that reflected in glowy, effortless skin finished in a sheen. A similar oiled finish (one born of zero coverage) could be seen at Willy Chavarria. Meanwhile, Dion Lee’s industrial collection was offset by silvery, ethereally flawless skin—the sort associated with associated with artificial intelligence.
Otherworldly influence came from the skies as well as the sea, washes of pearlescent shimmer and bright, light pops of color offering even more dreamery to the present tense’s palette of baby pastels. The eyes at Christian Siriano were pressed in shimmer from the inner corner to mid-lid; Pat McGrath relied on the pinks and blues of a psychedelic sunrise when painting gazes at Anna Sui; and at L’Agence’s spring presentation, diffusions of light blue and silver shadow encircled eyes to heavenly effect.