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Beauty Teams Channel Strong Women in NYFW Looks

Designers on board with the strong woman inspiration included Prabal Gurung and Mara Hoffman.

Women’s empowerment made its way backstage at New York Fashion Week, where the strong woman message wasn’t reserved for the clothes.

That empowered female persona was present at Prabal Gurung, where it inspired a ponytail with a deep side part — masculine, yet feminine — with wavy hair wafting behind the head, down the runway. “She means business,” said Anthony Turner, who created the look for Wella. “She’s kind of a kick-ass woman, but she’s still a woman.” Accompanying makeup featured an architectural eye with strong lines and bright colors. “It’s about a really strong, empowered woman — someone who is doing it all on their own,” said Ashley Rudder, global senior makeup artist for MAC, who executed Diane Kendal’s handiwork.

“It’s got something to do with what’s happening in politics,” said Katie Jane Hughes, who led the show for Too Cool for School, speaking backstage at Libertine. “Everybody is just going for like a heavy, powerful vibe, which I think is beautiful. Like, Jenny Packham had pants yesterday. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jenny Packham have pants. There’s loads of really cool things happening.” For the beauty look there, Hughes created a graphic, masculine cat eye with smudged, black liner.

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Over at Tadashi Shoji, the beauty look was inspired in part by the women’s liberation movement. “Tadashi got inspired with his collection by Jimi Hendrix, the late-Sixties-early-Seventies women’s liberation and all that fun around that,” said Pep Gay, who led the show for MAC.

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At Mara Hoffman, the designer teamed with Milk Makeup’s Georgie Greville to create individualistic, Nineties-inspired independent woman looks (one was bronze and brown-centered, while the other paired a deep cranberry lip with a glossy lid). “This look is completely celebrating individuality, celebrating women and celebrating strength,” said manicurist Naomi Gonzalez, who led nails for Zoya. “It’s important to express ourselves and women express themselves with color.”