It's during these blustery winter days that spring can't come soon enough, of course. But after seeing the top makeup, nail and hair looks backstage at the New York fall 2013 ready-to-wear shows, we are already looking forward to September. Key standout trends included ponytails and braids that still pushed the styles forward, nail art that was entirely sophisticated and cat eyes, with the most interesting interpretations in vibrant colors. Here are our 15 best beauty looks from New York Fashion Week.
BEST IN CLASS: JASON WU
From the dramatic indigo eye to the intricate woven updo, there's no questioning why Jason Wu wins top honors for our absolute favorite look at New York Fashion Week. Inspired by a swatch of electric fabric from the collection, makeup artist Diane Kendal for Lancôme set out to mimic the exact shade on eyes using a mix of three colors. Starting with a plum liner, Kendal sketched and filled in an exaggerated winged shape on upper lids, which she also dragged down along lower lash lines. A mix of vibrant violet and indigo hues were then brushed over the shape and subtly smoked out. After curling lashes and applying mascara, Kendal then perfected and contoured the face with foundation and a trio of blush. To balance the look, lips were left nearly nude, save for a quick swipe of balm.
As for the super-sculpted updo, hairstylist Odile Gilbert created an sleek look that was meant to have an Art Deco feel. First, she coated dry hair with a strengthening milk and nourishing oil and then sectioned off strands at the nape of the neck. After braiding and coiling a few of the strands to form an anchor in the hair, she folded a section from the crown over and underneath the braid to cover it completely. Gilbert next took straightened pieces of hair from the front and doused them in hair spray before wrapping them like ribbons around the bun for an origami effect. She finally accented the style with two silver barrettes for a touch of graphic modernity.
Beauty Essentials: NARS Artist Palette in New Wave and Kérastase Elixir Ultime Moringa Immortel.
BEST LOOK TO WEAR NOW: DEREK LAM
Sure, runway beauty can tend to be way too editorialized for real life, but we're planning on plucking Derek Lam's look straight from the catwalk to the sidewalk—pronto! For his "sophisticated, minimal urban hippie" girl, makeup artist Tom Pecheaux placed a metallic shimmer highlight onto the center of lids by blending three icy silver and lilac shades spanning from lash lines to brows. Once he crafted iridescent skin with a "satin-matte texture," Pecheaux shifted his focus to lips. He first patted a bronze lipstick onto the pout for depth, and then topped it off with a stain of deep wine gloss to add sheen and just a touch of glamour.
Beauty Essential: Estée Lauder Pure Color Gelée Powder Eyeshadow in Cyber Silver.
BEST LOOK THAT WE'D LOVE TO SEE ON THE OSCARS RED CARPET: BADGLEY MISCHKA
The one makeup look that had our hearts most apitter-patter was Badgley Mischka's screen siren in technicolor. To update the tried-and-true red lip and black cat eye, Tom Pecheaux for MAC focused on a punchy orange pout with a pop of baby blue under the eyes. After perfecting the complexion with a mineralize foundation, he drew winged liner on upper lash lines with a blackened gold eye pencil. He then painted water lines with a white eyeliner and ran a sky blue cream shadow along the lower lids. For a hit of drama, Pecheux stacked false lashes on just the outer corners of eyes and defined fringe with mascara. As for the brick lips, he first lined and colored in the pout with a red-orange lip pencil, which he then finished off with a pale peach lipstick for added dimension. What a purely pretty look, indeed.
Beauty Essential: YSL Rouge Pur Couture The Mats in Orange Imagine.
MOST FANTASTICAL: MONIKA CHIANG
We were positively mesmerized by the dramatic makeup at Monika Chiang—especially by those eyes! Lace accents at the outer corners added a touch of whimsy to the dark and sultry stare, which was paired with a soft and romantic lip. To get the look, makeup artists Tarek Abbas, Darais and Alex Sanchez began by sculpting smoky eyes with unexpected hints of green and purple on the inner corners and creases. They then hand-painted a swatch of lace with gel eyeliner and stamped it onto the outside corners for quite the eccentric effect.
BEST REASON TO TAKE YOUR COLOR WHEEL FOR A SPIN: ALEXANDRE HERCHCOVITCH
The colorful eyes at Alexandre Herchcovitch looked entirely futuristic and actually required very little products—with no mascara, foundation or lipstick in sight. The overall effect portrayed a woman who preferred to embrace makeup as more of a playful accessory, rather than a necessity. After defining the top lids with a black line that tightly hugged lashes, makeup artist Gordon Espinet retraced above the black with one stroke of light color out of a myriad of rainbow hues to match the model's skin tone, eye color and runway garment. He then mirrored the shade with a bolder complementary streak of liner that he used to outline the creases.
Beauty Essential: MAC Chromaline in Rich Purple.
WHY BLUE IS STILL THE NEW BLACK WHEN IT COMES TO EYELINER: HONOR
If there was one look we saw in spades backstage, it was undoubtedly the cat eye. But the feline stare that had us most seduced was the one with the brightest boom of color: Honor's vivid matte cobalt version. Makeup artist Adrien Pinault meticulously painted the streak by first starting at the inner corners and thickening the line as he drew along lids before extending it way past outer edges. He then repeatedly retraced the stripe for the most intense color and decided to leave lashes and brows bare for a more modern effect.
Beauty Essential: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Indigo.
BEST USE OF GLITTER: THAKOON
To suit the winter season and the summer-inspired collection, the makeup at Thakoon layered midnight blue eye shadow and gold glitter that was meant to mimic the sun's reflection. Diane Kendal for NARS first painted lids with a blend of three blue shades that extended past the outer corners. After smearing on black cream liner, she encrusted the eyes with gold holographic glitter. Far and away from a school kid's arts and crafts project, this look was beyond glam and perfect for evening.
Beauty Essential: Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner in Midnight Cowboy.
BEST LIPS: CYNTHIA ROWLEY
By now it's old news that mulberry lips are all the rage for this season. But if we have it our way next fall, the new en vogue hue will be a similarly moody color with more violet tones than red. Cynthia Rowley's show unleashed this deep and vibrant lip that has us pining for plum. Makeup artist Romy Soleimani for Stila created the look by first swiping a magenta lipstick on the pout, and then layering eggplant and intense shimmery purple eye shadows onto lips with the pad of her finger.
Beauty Essential: Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani Lipstick in 600.
BEST EXAMPLE OF WHY BIGGER IS BETTER: MARC BY MARC JACOBS
Proving that frizzy curls can be both offbeat and oh so chic, hairstylist Guido Palau crafted wide, asymmetrical hair for Marc by Marc Jacobs with so much texture it almost looked fuzzy. He prepped hair for springy curls by first spraying a mousse from roots to tips to build volume before blow-drying the mane. After drawing a deep side part, Palau curled each section of hair using a one-inch or one-and-a-quarter-inch curling iron and pinned each coil to the scalp. Once the curls set, he unpinned them and gently raked hair with his fingers and a brush to conjure up even more heft. He finally backcombed the top front section of hair, swept it across the forehead and locked it with a bobby pin before sending the model onto the runway.
Beauty Essential: Redken Guts 10 Volume Spray Foam.
BEST USE OF HAIR ELASTICS: KIMBERLY OVITZ
To create a look that complemented Kimberly Ovitz's collection revolving around the innate defense response of animals, Antoinette Beenders for Aveda pioneered an innovative hairstyle that was "like a shield of armor or an armadillo's shell." Beenders first drew a center part that ran from the forehead to the nape of the neck and then doused hair from roots to mid-length with mousse. She combed each side into a high ponytail, with one side nearer to the forehead and the other sitting behind the ear. Beenders next wrapped a long piece of elastic in a crisscross fashion around the entire length of the ponytails to create a "corseting" effect. She pulled the hair gently from in between the cords to create S-shaped waves, and then pinned the ponytails to the hairline and along one temple so that it snaked atop the forehead.
Beauty Essential: L'Oréal Professionnel Mousse Volupté Magnifying Mousse.
BEST LOOK TO WEAR TO THE MAY FILM PREMIERE OF THE GREAT GATSBY: NAEEM KHAN
When drawing from the '20s for your inspiration, what could be more fitting than finger waves for hair? Hairstylist Rolando Beauchamp directly borrowed the iconic undulations for Naeem Khan, which he updated with a braided chignon in back. To start, he first greased up wet locks by saturating the entire head in gel and drawing a deep side part. He next formulated the curvy face-framing front by molding S-shaped waves with the tail of a comb. Beauchamp then pulled the lengths back into a low ponytail and braided it, before finally coiling the braid around into a bun and securing it in place with U-shaped pins.
Beauty Essential: Bumble and Bumble BB Gel.
BEST LOOK TO UPLOAD TO PINTEREST: CHRISTIAN SIRIANO
With "a Russian girl dressed for an evening at the opera" in mind, hairstylist Antoinette Beenders built hair into a regal fishtail updo for Christian Siriano. She first fashioned a center part that ran the entire length of the head, and then spritzed on a prepping spray for texture and volume before blow-drying hair straight. Beenders next plaited an integrated fishtail on either side of the part and folded each braid in half. She finally crisscrossed both fishtails over each other at the back of the head and secured them in place with bobby pins, being sure to tuck the ends in underneath. Get ready to add this style onto your Pinterest board in 3, 2,....
Beauty Essential: Aveda Pure Abundance Style Prep.
BEST REASON WE CAN'T WAIT FOR THE FUTURE: ZERO + MARIA CORNEJO
Pretty headbands and romantic flowers can be beautiful in hair, but the most stunning topper we saw backstage was the avant-garde metal headpiece at Zero + Maria Cornejo. To create the graphic look, hairstylist Martin Cullen began by fashioning a deep and wide zigzag part and gathering the lengths of hair into a low side ponytail. After running a straightener through the pony, he rubbed a glossing cream over the entire style to nix any static flyaways, and then sealed the look with a shine serum. The proverbial cherry on top—and the undeniable show-stealer—was a silver rectangular plate that was pinned above the ponytail, along with a circular headpiece that framed the face in an arrestingly modern way.
Beauty Essential: Phyto Professional Glossing Cream.
BEST USE OF A STEADY HAND: BIBHU MOHAPATRA
The most covetable nails of the season—those simple but strong tips seen at Bibhu Mohapatra—were inspired by the graphic elements of Art Deco. Manicurist Honey first lacquered nails with a coat of pale pink polish, and then used a black acrylic paint to freehand a diamond design with a portrait border. In a pinch for time with the looming show, Honey explained, "I opted to use paint rather than polish because it dries so much quicker.”
Beauty Essential: Maybelline Color Show Nail Lacquer in Onyx Rush.
DO TRY THIS AT HOME: PRABAL GURUNG
If you can paint in a single stroke (a.k.a. nothing out of the ordinary for lacquering nails), chances are you can achieve the nail art at Prabal Gurung. For a look that was meant to evoke strength with an element of vulnerability, hands featured a powerfully sharp chevron shape that was reduced to a skinny, more feminine triangle. Manicurist Jin Soon Choi for Sally Hansen first painted tips with a coat of pale gold polish, and then she diagonally layered nails with a swipe of army green from the base to the tip, creating her thin pyramid.
Beauty Essential: Essie Nail Polish in Armed and Ready.
Photos: Courtesy of Kérastase (Jason Wu); courtesy of Estée Lauder (Derek Lam); courtesy of MAC (Badgley Mischka); courtesy of Lancôme (Monika Chiang); Getty Images (Alexandre Herchcovitch); Erin Baiano for Beauty.com (Honor, Cynthia Rowley); courtesy of NARS (Thakoon); courtesy of Redken (Marc by Marc Jacobs); Jon Gurninsky for Aveda (Kimberly Ovitz, Christian Siriano); courtesy of Bumble and Bumble (Naeem Khan); courtesy of Phyto (Zero + Maria Cornejo); Karie Frost (Bibhu Mohapatra, Prabal Gurung).