By  on November 14, 2008

Fashion shows are, by nature, a celebration of unfettered creativity mixed in with a dash of commercial viability. But the spring 2009 season was different—the global economy was in free fall during the collections, imparting the proceedings with an air of surreality. As we were putting together this issue, our annual look at the interconnection between the fashion and beauty worlds, we asked, how relevant is high fashion when a financial tsunami is washing away much of the world’s wealth? And what role beauty, a category conventional wisdom considers recession proof?

Whether it remains so is a different matter, but the world’s top hairstylists and makeup artists are certainly doing their part to help boost the industry. At many shows, rather than being constrained creatively by the dire goings-on, they unleashed their imaginations in a riot of color, shape and texture, resulting in a season full of strong hair and makeup trends. We’ve collated the most directional runway looks from the New York, London, Milan and Paris collections into “The Beauty Report,” followed by a roundup of the 14 most influential artists who are largely responsible for originating them in “The Creative Coalition.”

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