Goodbye to Glazed Donut Glows, Ugly, Dirty, Sexy Beauty Is About to Trend
For SS23, designers sent models down the runways of New York, Milan, London and Paris in makeup looks that ranged from dirty to deranged.
Weird trends? We had soccer mum hair, dirt, “Y2K” beauty taken to a logical extreme, kidcore, “meth teeth”, prosthetic lips, haunted mannequins and… blood.
If we’re being honest? While these were unexpected, disturbing and downright uncanny, it was refreshing to have a break from the “soft girl” makeups that are repackaged every spring-summer, Barbicore beauty, and the “clean” aesthetic we can all agree is problematic, and really nothing new (we all remember glass and crystal skin from 2019 and 2021, yes?).
Many collections were unapologetically political and the sick, twisted beauty beats of the shows felt exciting, indeed some were pretty sexy.
As for the ones that weren’t, fortunately, spring coincides with Halloween in Australia.
So, take a meander through fashion month’s most bedraggled and botched beauty looks. In all honesty? We’re hoping to see more of it in 2023.
Paris Fashion Week
Dior: J’adore Tumblrcore
Creative director for Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri, was inspired by Catherine de’ Medici, a 16th-century monarch who popularised high-heels and corsets. Chiuri’s take was “baroque goth” and Dior MUA Peter Philips picked up the “baroque goth” aesthetics from knee-socks to hooped mini skirts, with a Tumblr-core beauty look.
Philips loaded the eyes with thick black liner look that wrapped the upper and lower lash line, winged out and met in the inner corner, sealing the look with an “X”. Appropriately gothic matte skin and pale lips completed the otherwise washed-out look. Meanwhile, bleached yellow-blonde heads of hair and pigtails dotted the runway. All you’ll need to create this look is a bottle of peroxide from your local chemist and an angry parent yelling at you for bleaching the towels.
Chloé: Tired AF
Gabriela Hearst was inspired by fusion at Chloé, a source of energy many hope will replace coal in the future. She was also inspired by rave culture and it was this, and a certain sense of existential dread, that came through in the beauty looks.
Tata Harper, who worked on the sans fard complexions backstage told Vogue described models’ skin towards the end of fashion “month” as “deflated.”Models had under-eye circles on show, smudges of partied-off Euphoria-silver on their inner corners, accompanied by lank sweaty hair. The look was serving subdued fatalism. After all, three mercury in retrogrades into 2022, one month of fashion weeks and several environmental disasters later, what’s left to do but party?
Schiaparelli: Uncanny Mani
At Schiaparelli stylist Cyndia Harvey created up-dos so stiff, sculptural and cemented in they looked ready to crack. Fashion Week favourite Fara Homidi keyed faded complexions and exaggerated awkward lips. We saw the same reverse nude lip seen at Chopava Lowen in London.
Featuring a matte, washed-out flesh tone centre, a deep brown liner created a jagged finish. Homidi alternated this look with a bold, orange pout left unlined. Everything about the makeup and hair at Schiaparelli gave splendidly dressed but hauntingly dusty shop window mannequin, whether heralding the death of retail or simply grunge, it was all very uncanny.
London Fashion Week:
Poster Girl: Anime, Brow Slits and Snailskin
Faux brow slits were seen at Poster Girl, with Doja Cat’s beauty influence trickling down to the runway. The aesthetic created by Isamaya French, using her own recently launched line, drew on elements of club kid, hip hop and cyber goth culture while incorporating an unexpected anime influence.
Slit brows are usually associated with 90s hip-hop culture and have typically been seen “sliced” into a structured brow. Here at Poster Girl, the faux shape featured slimy sculptural sections of brow hair that flared out anime style. The look was complete with pearly ball bearings, and a slick, sweaty complexion that gave slimy snail secretion rather than glazed donut. Stock up on your COSRX people.
Halpern: Kidcore Get’s Kreepy
Michael Halpern’s collection was inspired by Barbie – and he also collab-ed with the doll in honour of her 60th birthday.
On the Halpern runway, we saw a different side of Barbie. Models wore long, latex gloves (in bubblegum pink of course), and “dolls” marched down the runway in spooky silence, with hood-like beehives that hid their eyes. Halpern told Vogue UK, “I always played with [Barbie] growing up, but I was more interested in their incredible hair than their clothes. This was very evident in the mesmerising, artfully unconvincing arse-grazing ponytails that brought a dominatrix chic to the horse-girl classic. Like at Puppets, Puppets, Puppets, there was a dark side to this childhood-inspired collection.
Chopova Lowena: Rosebud Contour
Anataka Hashi‘s 3D pillow lips stole the show at Chopova Lowena. Designers Laura Lowena-Irons and Emma Chopova draw on their Bulgarian heritage in designs that blend modern sportswear with folklore and traditional production methods. The show named after the Gertrude Stein poem “A Rose is a rose is a rose,” celebrated the Bulgarian Rose Festival. Hashi, who draws on Rococo influences in her surreally three-dimensional work, created “rosebud” pouts incorporating Rococo portraiture techniques which favour a shorter mouth and high, exaggerated cupids bow.
New York Fashion Week
Barragán: American History Meth
Models of all ages staggered down the runways with dirty limbs, silver flip flops and cargo pants. Razor-cut, blonde asymmetric bobs looked straight from a Kate Gosselin meme page. The “can-I-speak-to-your-manager” hairstyle featured skunk stripes and paired nicely with unblended cut creases and three-day-old mascara.
Prosthetic “lip filler” with abscesses, that looked in dire need of accessible healthcare, stole the show.
The collection, which featured trucker hats perched atop white dreads, metallic flip flops, slogan tees that read “CANCELLED TWICE” served broader political commentary.
Mexican American designer Victor Barragán told Interview Magazine the collection served as a commentary on persistent and systemic white supremacy and class tensions alive and well in America.
“They sell us an idea of diversity,” he explained, but, “how everything looks from the outside… it is literally all white.”
Elena Velez: The Feminine Urge to Bloodlet
At Elena Velez, the look was ghoulish and gaslit in a collection that has broadly been interpreted as a visceral reaction to the Roe v Wade era. Here “glass glow” was replaced by a sickly sweaty sheen and dirty contour while an “ombre lip” read dripping and bloody. Translucent taupe shadows made eyes look convincingly sunken and gave a “thoroughly tired of this sh*t vibe.”
On the runway, attended by one of 2022’s most controversial “it” girl, Julia Fox and her son Valentino, models heaved themselves down the runway stitched up and caged in by iron corsets and dirty white linens that could have been straight off the set of American Horror Story: Asylum.
All this artistry, keyed by Mai Mor, amplified Velez’ described vision as: “a bloodletting for woman in her most insufferable and divine glory.”
Theophilio: Bodies, Bodies, Bodies
At Theophilio, Cardi B’s stylist Kollin Carter sat front row while hand-rolled joints were hospitably passed around. Jamaican-born, Brooklyn-based designer Edvin Thompson called his collection “Homecoming” — an ode to Jamaica’s party circuit that provided a Y2K take on leisurewear.
The beauty look here was all about the body, and require a full $157 worth oil slick application of Tom Ford’s Soleil De Blanc. Greasy limps were complimented by lank blow-drys the barest whisper of slept-in kohl fit for a 2003-era club queen.
Tom Ford: Burn-Out Beauty
Tom Ford is known for sexy looks and exxy beauty products, but makeup artist Yadim and hair stylist Evanie Frausto — the hardest working hair and makeup artists at NYFW — were back, serving up a less romanticised take on clubcore.
Beauty was burnt out. From the dehydrated morning after skin, to harshly applied, blended-with-the-back-of-your-hand liner paired with “before and after” updos, intricately worked for some models and morning fried for some. Tom Ford can make anything hot though, so we’ll probably be wearing the look this party season.
Puppets & Puppets: Creepy Millenials
Puppets & Puppets — a label loved by Julia Fox, Doja Cat and Caroline Polachek (who walked in the show) — collaborated with 2000s t-shirt brand Michael Stars for their SS23 collection. Michael Stars is a Y2K favourite popularised by high schooler Rory Gilmore in Gilmore Girls and Beverly Hills, 90210, and is best described by the LA Times as “casual but girlie, just slightly, almost accidentally, risqué in its tight silhouettes and shimmer.”
However, there was nothing accidental about the risqué outfits at Puppets & Puppets. Here, oversized butterflies perched precariously on bare breasts and butt cracks, while randomly distributed black star stickers formed constellations on bodies and faces.
Inspired by Eyes Wide Shut (Nicole Kidman’s Y2K revival has been the 2022 trend we never saw coming) the butterfly usage felt a little The Mothman Prophecies. There was also something creepily self-referential about the ode to millennial childhood beauty favourites like butterfly clips and sticker makeup.
Milan Fashion Week
Prada: Insect Eyes
Eyelash extensions have been out of vogue for some time, but Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons made a surreal case for their return at the “Touch of Crude” runway show in Milan.
Here lashes that would make a horse envious grazed models cheeks. Far from doe eyed, cheek grazing lashes were hairy and tarantula-esque. Diet Prada compared the look to The Grudge, and we ecan’t fault them. The lashes were made from genuine human hair extensions which is skin-crawling enough in and off itself. Lead artist Pat McGrath has failed to announce a false-lash Halloween collection so it looks like we won’t be trying this at home.
Gucci: Doppleganger Effect
We did not come here to suggest twins are creepy! However, the doppelganger effect is creepy enough to be the premise of Jordan Peel’s “Us” and was no less spooky at Alessandro Michele’s maternally-inspired Gucci runway, where ethereal beauty looks drummed up the eerie energy.
MUA Thomas de Kluyver created mirrored complexions dousing models shimmer concentrate on the inner portion of their face. While each look was different it was the bleach brows, bleached-yellow blonde locks and silvery complexions seen above that hauntingly viral. The look is also frightening for anyone whose experienced brutal flashback in candid photos.