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Fantasy Takes the Fore at NYFW

This era of no-makeup makeup is over in favor of the fantastical.

It’s a brave new world for beauty, if NYFW is any indicator.

Designers showing fall 2023 collections eschewed the restrained, no-makeup makeup looks that have long dominated New York runways in favor of wide-reaching references and fantastical styles.

Kicking off the week, Evanie Frausto incorporated wigs and hair nets at Collina Strada, in tandem with Bumble and bumble products. “We were going through different inspiration of literal farm animals, and landed on these intricate braids that are on horses’ manes,” Frausto said. “We’re working with Isamaya [Ffrench] on makeup, and it’s very inspired by literal animals.”

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Ffrench also used MAC Cosmetics products at Thom Browne, where she, in conjunction with James Pecis for Oribe, transformed male and female models into characters from “The Little Prince” — think oblong spheres of hair and metallic makeup accentuating models’ features.

“There are a lot of characters in the show,” Pecis said.

At LaQuan Smith, the inspirations were less equine. “The inspiration that I got from LaQuan was based on the show ‘Dynasty,’” said makeup artist Raisa Flowers, who created the looks using Huda Beauty products. “He said he wanted it to be super vogue, graphic, sexy, feminine. His clothes are the embodiment of a very sexy, feminine, strong woman.”

That translated into smoky cat eyes with heavy liner and a splash of color in the corner, paired with glossy nude lips and matte skin with hints of highlight. Products used include the new Creamy Kohl Longer Eye Pencil, Naughty Nude Eyeshadow Palette and Empowered Eyeshadow Palette.

Renaissance hair styles took the stage at Ulla Johnson, with Sisley-Paris makeup blended with skin care for an extra sheen and rosy cheeks.

“I was looking at the collection and it reminded me of Botticelli paintings, so I’m calling these ‘Botticelli braids’ — there’s this renaissance vibe to the hair,” said Joey George, Oribe’s stylist at the show. “There’s a lot of organic and natural textures that are almost virgin hair, and then there are intricate braided styles.”

Cool was the code at Proenza Schouler, where hairstylist Guido Palau said “the clothes are super sophisticated and super rich, so to allow the girls’ own textures and own personalities to live in these clothes you make it super cool. There’s little keys to making it better: products, clean hair, how you do your parting.”

Jawara, using Nutrafol at Altuzarra, wanted to mimic wet hair, challenged only by the delicacy of the clothes. “We thought it would be amazing wto go with really shiny, wet hair,” he said, alternating rounds of blowdrying with gel and shine spray. “We’re mimicking waves…it’s something that looks like she just got out of the shower and tried to be a hairstylist. But in actuality, she sat down for four hours.”