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Editor’s Letter: Bright Horizons

In Paris, in Milan, in London and in New York, makeup artists and hairstylists put forward a compelling new vision.

For those who question the direction in which beauty is evolving, look no further than the spring runways. In Paris, in Milan, in London and in New York, makeup artists and hairstylists put forward a compelling new vision. Based on a more relaxed sensibility, it embraces an ease and a vivacity that feels particularly fresh now. The look was manifested in the liberal use of bright colors, which makeup artists swept across eyes, cheeks and lips; in the myriad Seventies influences that permeated so many shows, and in the preponderance of blonde models who dominated the runways. “We are living through difficult times,” Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute says 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, “The Big Easy” also features the spring’s key hair and makeup moments from the runways of Paris, Milan and London. As you’ll see, it was a rich season for beauty, with key themes that also included a strong androgynous streak and the return of the thirtysomething supermodel, including Stella Tennant, Carolyn Murphy and Amber Valletta, a welcome sign that designers are eager to embrace a new cross-generational aesthetic.

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Count this issue’s cover model, rising star Julija Step, as among those who revere these models as well. The high-spirited 17-year-old has charmed style insiders with her chameleonlike looks and effervescent personality, walking in 42 shows this season. Despite her growing success, the high school student remains firmly down-to-earth. Ask her who her favorite model is, and Step’s reply is instant: “Everybody. Every single model who is doing well in the fashion business has her own charm, and I admire all of them.” Step’s transformational abilities are on full view in “Whiz Kid”, in which photographer Guy Aroch captured the model in her many manifestations backstage at New York Fashion Week.

It’s not just the runway where a new aesthetic is emerging. Hollywood, too, is undergoing a seismic shift in traditional notions of beauty. Gone is the more-is-more infl ated-Barbie ideal. In its stead is a more, dare we say, realistic version of ideal beauty. As Rachel Brown reports in “Hollywood’s New Natural”, “The Hollywood ideal is giving way to something approaching human.” Of course, that doesn’t mean celebrities are forgoing procedures. They’re most decidedly not. But the procedures are changing, and so is the look. Whether on the runway or the red carpet, the look is one we can all relate to—and that’s great news for beauty as we head into the new year.