As a beauty journalist, there are few places more thrilling to be than backstage during fashion week. It is the frontline of make-up artistry, where make-up looks have no bounds and the faces being painted are exquisite. And, of course, there’s nothing more tempting than the idea of going home to try the look as soon as the show has finished - sometimes with riotous results (see Gareth Pugh’s A/W 17 collection - that was not a wear to work look).
This year at NYFW, things have been remarkably sober. Sure, there’s been the odd bit of liner (Tom Ford and Jason Wu did lovely feline flicks) and sprinkling of glitter (Anna Sui SS18 was a prime example of the new age of a dusting, not scoopful, of sparkly stuff), but on the most part, the chime from the hair and beauty teams has been that of understated beauty. Perhaps a response to the very done looks on Instagram, or maybe just because fashion has decided that we’re all too busy to emulate a 10-step make-up or hair look, the look du jour is beauty without the bang.
Here’s your breakdown:
This was the main make-up trend, with make-up artists applying strategic highlighter and bronzer aplenty to models. Stand out here was the Calvin Klein show, where models looked like they’d just stepped off a beach.
Top Tip: Diane Kendal for NARS backstage at Alexander Wang hammered home the importance of embracing your natural beauty to achieve this look. In practical terms, spend more time prepping your skin, and give powder a miss.
Big, boyish brows are the natural foil to soft focus, dewy skin, and they formed the main event at Vivienne Tam, where washes of peach shadow were coupled with brushed up, big brows.
Top Tip: Get your hands on Glossier’s Boy Brow if you want this look - I spotted a few make-up artists wielding it and it helps to instantly push and fill brows.
Hair was artfully undone all over NYFW, with models and attendees all sporting hair that looked as if it has never seen a straightener. At Brandon Maxwell, the focus on natural hair went further, with each model sporting their own look with added texture.
Top Tip: James Pecis, who created the waves on the Hadid sisters et al backstage at Maxwell emphasised that the way to get super shiny hair without damage was to invest in the right tools. He was using a Dyson Supersonic, which dried the models’ hair so that it was smooth but still had its natural texture.
For me, there's one problem with this new wave of pared back beauty: On a personal level I sort of like the glamour thing. I love eyeliner. Adore lipstick. Revere a well-executed shimmery eye. It brings me joy and provides me with a moment of play in the morning. So while I may not be making this trend my go-to, I am pleased to see that other looks are coming to the fore, and that for those of you for whom nothing seems more arduous than trying to create a smoky eye, fashion’s finally on your side.