Study in Contrast

At the New York fall collections, the makeup was very polished, hair anything but.

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Appeared In
Special Issue
Beauty Inc issue 03/14/2008

At the New York fall collections, the makeup was very polished, hair anything but. The result? A dramatic dichotomy that made for one of the most exciting beauty seasons in recent memory.

This story first appeared in the March 14, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Minimalism is usually the name
of the game when it comes to beauty at New York Fashion Week. But during the fall 2008 collections, held in February, femininity met sophistication in the form of bold makeup and statement-making hairstyles. Viva la beauty


Helmut Newton met Minnie Mouse in Odile Gilbert’s charmingly seductive styles at Zac Posen. She wasn’t the only stylist to add oomph to the staid bun. Standouts included Rodarte’s two-tone versions and J. Mendel’s braided beauties.

Curls are a staple on New York runways. Particularly exciting this year was their diversity, from the Twenties-inspired marcelled waves at Baby Phat to the pinned-up loops at Vera Wang and the riotous ringlets created by Kevin Ryan at Milly, who said his muse was “a flapper the morning after.”

From Eugene Souleiman’s elegant wraps at Monique Lhuillier to the tousled twists at Philosophy and Thakoon, this ladylike style was given an injection of modern quirkiness for fall.

“It’s softer, easier, not-so-stiff,” said Orlando Pita, of the Marlene Dietrich-inspired dos he created at Diane von Furstenberg. The same ethos held true for volume overall, as big hair took a turn for the romantic.

Guido called the look he created at Marc by Marc Jacobs “just a ponytail,” but, enlivened with texture, it was much more. Ditto the styles at Rachel Roy, Rag and Bone and Luca Luca, where new twists freshened up a classic look.


While minimalist makeup is always a favorite of New York designers, this season natural no longer meant nothing. Bright pink lips adorned bare faces at Marc by Marc Jacobs, rosy cheeks at Tommy Hilfiger, lush lashes at DKNY and pure polish at Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors.

Bold clothes call for bold makeup, and that’s just what many artists delivered. Tom Pecheux dubbed his look at Catherine Malandrino “organic graphic,” while Gucci Westman created one look using three high-impact shades—purple, yellow and gray—at Behnaz Sarafpour. At Proenza Schouler, Dick Page’s cobalt blue eyes (highlighted with accents of silver and gold) perfectly offset the designer’s saturated color palette. “It’s very dramatic,” Page said of his look. “Strong but easy.”

Makeup artist Lucia Pieroni likened the look she created at Vera Wang to a watercolor painting. She was in good company—powdery textures and soft colors were seen on myriad runways, from the quiet elegance of Isaac Mizrahi to the beautifully soft shades at Thakoon and Anna Sui.


Copper, gold and bronze, often highlighted with sultry shades of rose and plum, were favorites for creating a smoky eye. Tom Pecheux called his look at Bill Blass “very chic, colorful and glam rock.” “Think Bianca Jagger meets Blondie,” he said.


Statement-making lips were a key message for fall, with a deep red brown the color of choice. Some were more on the cherry end of the spectrum, others on the chocolate, but the appeal was equal—and undeniable.

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