By  on November 12, 2010

For those who question the direction in which beauty isevolving, look no further than the spring runways. InParis, in Milan, in London and in New York, makeupartists and hairstylists put forward a compelling newvision. Based on a more relaxed sensibility, it embraces anease and a vivacity that feels particularly fresh now. Thelook was manifested in the liberal use of bright colors,which makeup artists swept across eyes, cheeks and lips; inthe myriad Seventies influences that permeated so manyshows, and in the preponderance of blonde models whodominated the runways. “We are living through difficulttimes,” Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institutesays in “The Big Easy”, “and we need that lift,that something that gets us energized. That’s color.”

In addition to the liberal use of bright color, “TheBig Easy” also features the spring’s key hair and makeupmoments from the runways of Paris, Milan and London.As you’ll see, it was a rich season for beauty, with keythemes that also included a strong androgynous streak andthe return of the thirtysomething supermodel, includingStella Tennant, Carolyn Murphy and Amber Valletta, awelcome sign that designers are eager to embrace a newcross-generational aesthetic.

Count this issue’s cover model, rising star Julija Step, asamong those who revere these models as well. The high-spirited 17-year-old has charmed style insiders with herchameleonlike looks and effervescent personality, walkingin 42 shows this season. Despite her growing success, thehigh school student remains firmly down-to-earth. Askher who her favorite model is, and Step’s reply is instant:“Everybody. Every single model who is doing well in thefashion business has her own charm, and I admire all ofthem.” Step’s transformational abilities are on full viewin “Whiz Kid”, in which photographer GuyAroch captured the model in her many manifestationsbackstage at New York Fashion Week.

It’s not just the runway where a new aesthetic isemerging. Hollywood, too, is undergoing a seismic shiftin traditional notions of beauty. Gone is the more-is-more infl ated-Barbie ideal. In its stead is a more, darewe say, realistic version of ideal beauty. As Rachel Brownreports in “Hollywood’s New Natural”, “TheHollywood ideal is giving way to something approachinghuman.” Of course, that doesn’t mean celebrities areforgoing procedures. They’re most decidedly not. But theprocedures are changing, and so is the look. Whether onthe runway or the red carpet, the look is one we can allrelate to—and that’s great news for beauty as we head intothe new year.

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