with contributions from Allison Collins, Layla Ilchi, Rachel Strugatz
 on February 16, 2017

Color is cool again.“There seems to be a lot of eye action going on,” said John Demsey on Sunday night from the front row of the Altuzarra show. “Blue, yellow — kind of a cool techno-y thing.” Demsey, executive group president of Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.,  noted he was in for a “chill” fashion week — after taking in Jeremy Scott, Prabal Gurung and Altuzarra he was set to jet off to Los Angeles. But his observation was a harbinger for the week ahead, in which many more designers, from Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera to Brandon Maxwell turned out models with standout eye looks that ran the gamut from a strong liner to rainbow lids. The fashion community, mired in the prevailing theme of individuality for the past several seasons, is slowly getting back into the groove with makeup.It was part political statement — designers this season were keener than ever on sending a message of women’s empowerment down the runway, and did so using powerful makeup looks. “It’s about a really strong, empowered woman — someone who is doing it all on their own, said Ashley Rudder for MAC Cosmetics, who worked under Diane Kendal to create an exaggerated, colorful cat-eye at Prabal Gurung. At Libertine, Katie Jane Hughes for Too Cool For School created a graphic, masculine cat-eye with smudged black liner. “It’s got something to do with what’s happening in politics,” Hughes said. “Everybody is just going for the heavy, powerful vibe.” it was also part colorful experimentation, as makeup artists used the backstage arena as a play space — at Eckhaus Latta, Kanako Takase for Guerlain created a splatter paint look on faces with Kryolan paints. Pat McGrath used the Anna Sui show to plug her latest Pat McGrath Labs launch — a dramatic cobalt eye shadow. “It’s all about the decadence of the blue,” McGrath said.Still, some designers are still entrenched in the idea of individuality. Marc Jacobs is an example — he commissioned Diane Kendal to create a different look for each model.Other makeup trends that percolated over the course of the week were burgundy lips as seen at Marc Jacobs, Mara Hoffman, Anna Sui and Jonathan Simkhai and more glitter at Tadashi Shoji and Ulla Johnson. Lower lashes came into focus at shows such as Jeremy Scott, Tadashi Shoji and LRS, where makeup artist Erin Parsons for Maybelline dipped lower lashes in silver glitter.

Instead of making hair look slick or sexy, I just felt like having something not too product-y makes it a little cooler. — Holli Smith
Hair last season was decidedly all about the wet, slicked-back look, but that style was given a respite in favor of romantic twists, braids, natural waves.“We’ve seen so many wet and slicked-back-type things that people are doing it commercially now — like on themselves — and that makes the punch of it a little less cooler,” said hairstylist Holli Smith for Bumble and bumble. Smith keyed the Jason Wu show, which highlighted another big hair trend of the week — the low ponytail.”Smith kept the look dry. “Instead of making hair look slick or sexy, I just felt like having something not too product-y makes it a little cooler,” she said.Carolina Herrera, Jonathan Simkhai, Altuzarra and Tory Burch also showed low ponytails. Braids were the focal point at Alice + Olivia, Ulla Johnson and Erin Fetherston. “Braids are back and they’re not going away,” concurred hairstylist Justine Marjan — a Jen Atkin protégé — for TRESemmé.Romantic hair accessories also made an appearance — from velvet ribbons at Tory Burch and Marchesa to the headbands made of fur, leather skins, velvet and pearls at Altuzarra. natural texture remained in style — as it has for the past several seasons — with designers such as Calvin Klein, Victoria Beckham and Proenza Schouler allowing the natural waves, curls and bends of the hair to shine through.Nude nails aren’t going anywhere — at least if Deborah Lippmann has anything to say about it. The nail artist and founder of her self-named line was painting fingers and toes with Brand New Day, at shows all over town, including Narciso Rodriguez and Jason Wu.But Jin Soon Choi was touting what she called her “new nude,” which she used at Prabal Gurung and Michael Kors. The nude formula is infused with a black powder pigment for “smokiness.” “It’s more cool, not like a typical nude color. It’s a new style,” Choi proclaimed from her backstage perch at Michael Kors.As for nail art, it’s certainly not dead, but it’s certainly getting sleeker. “Negative space nail art is everywhere,” said Julie Kandalec from backstage at Jonathan Simkhai, where she was keying the nail look for Essie. At Prabal Gurung, Choi did a negative space manicure by dipping half the nail in her “new nude” color. And at Tommy Hilfiger’s Los Angeles Tommyland show, Mar Y Soul for Zoya painted nails with gold stars, using the natural nail as a base.

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