On day two of New York Fashion Week, one theme was consistently emerging. Whether wearing dramatic makeup, like the models did at Jason Wu,  or going for a barely-there beauty, such as the one presented at Suno, the look should never appear too intentional. Call it childlike, poetic or soft punk, but it was all about working cosmetics creatively for a carefree springtime face. Hair was also playful, but with two very different textural interpretations, from loose waves inspired by cool girls in the East Village to sculpted coiffures based on Grace Jones that balanced a masculine severity and feminine prettiness. Nails even took on a more simple sensibility, with pale shades being the primary manicure go-to. Here is our behind-the-scenes roundup of each look at Friday's ready-to-wear shows.
PETER SOM
At Peter Som, the designer said the beauty look was all about classic East Village cool girls. Hairstylist Eugene Souleiman interpreted that inspiration as being "about good clothes with bad hair." “The haircolor is sort of patchy and broken, and the hair has this natural texture—rawer, beachier,” he explained. To create that organic finish, Souleiman misted dry hair with a Wella surf spray and applied a Wella hydrating finish to the ends. He then twisted the lengths into a loose knot, allowing the hair to set. He released the knot just before the models hit the runway to create tumbling, random waves that he combed out using his hands. For the face, makeup artist Tom Pecheux focused on keeping the look innocent and almost childlike. “We’re applying the color imperfectly; it’s like a child’s mind—not too studied,” he said. There was no blush, mascara or brow makeup. Instead the eyelids became the highlight, with models wearing bright blues, greens, oranges and reds. To get an ombré effect, Pecheux used his fingers to apply a pastel color from the lid to the crease and then a vivid hue from the same color family from the crease to the brow. A nude lipstick completed the look. Nails, meanwhile, were a play on the classic French manicure, with limited-edition Zoya for Peter Som polish hues in crisp mint Neely (the base) and creamsicle orange Sharon (the tip) reflecting a “classic woman with an edge,” according to color expert Rebecca Isa.
JASON WU
At Jason Wu, photographer Helmut Newton's bold and sensual women were the inspiration for the show. "We wanted something that was sleek and sexy and elegant," said hairstylist Odile Gilbert. "And it has to have a masculine side and a feminine side." She artfully crafted a beauty look that combined a slick fingerwave in profile and a pretty tucked-under braid in the back. To create the hairstyle, she sectioned off the front of the hair. Then she worked on the back, combing the strands straight and treating them with Kérastase Double Force Controle Ultime hair spray and Kérastase's new Elixir Ultime oil. She made a tight African braid and then tucked its tail under and secured it with bobby pins. She then returned to the front sections, similarly coating them with product and gel and then working the left section into fingerwaves by laying her index finger flat to the head and working a comb to subtly arch the strands and curve them back down in a progressive line. The face made a similarly strong statement, with a matte complexion, dark and heavy brow, a gold shimmer on the eyelids, contour under the cheekbones and a lip drenched in matte red and accented at the middle with a smudge of bright pink. Nails completed the look, in a dark grayish-black.
RAG & BONE
“She’s a soft punk,” said makeup artist Gucci Westman backstage at Rag & Bone. The punk came by way of a tougher, more androgynous eyebrow. “This brow creates a touch of drama,” Westman said. The rest of the face was kept pure and glowing, with seamless skin and cheeks haphazardly flushed with pink. “I like applying the cheek color like it’s a mistake—it’s purer,” Westman said. Hair took on dual textures, reflecting a “sporty ’90s feel,” according to hairstylist Guido Palau. Palau shellacked the crown in Redken super-strong gel, raking it back with his fingers and then blasting it with a blow-dryer to keep it off the face. “I think exposing the forehead makes this look more tomboyish,” he explained. He kept the lengths of the hair dry to “retain softness,” and gave them movement using a curling iron. Nails looked clean, with what nail lead Jin Soon Choi said is a great shape for anyone: “short length with a square shape and softly rounded edges.” Models received either a delicate beige or stark white.
CUSHNIE ET OCHS
Taking inspiration from the islands of Indonesia and the Philippines, the beauty look at Cushnie et Ochs was about serenity with a dash of lavishness. Hairstylist Antonio Corral-Calero used Imelda Marcos as his muse, giving models sleek manes with rich smoothness and lush length. Strands were first prepped with an oil treatment and blow-dried pin straight. After forming a middle part, the front sections of the hair were slicked down onto the scalp. "The front is supposed to look lacquered-like, while the back is flawlessly straight and long," Corral-Calero explained. As for the face, makeup artist Charlotte Willer injected an early-'60s vibe by using Maybelline EyeStudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black to create a strong cat eye. Skin was left beautifully natural with some contouring done by a dark Maybelline Fit Me Pressed Powder, while lips were given a light wash of neutral Maybelline Color Sensational Lipcolor in Totally Toffee. Nails rounded out the look with soft pink-beige tips that were created using one coat of Maybelline Color Show Nail Lacquer in Born With It. To add just a kiss of opulence as a final touch, the middle finger on the left hand was topped with a single pearl.
HELMUT LANG
Helmut Lang's beauty look was minimal, offering the perfect balance to the ready-to-wear's vivid colors and prints. The effortless hair embraced the individual look of each model, with kinks and bends wholly encouraged. "It has a touchable quality to it," said hairstylist Paul Hanlon, who touched up strands with a frizz-fighting serum only when needed. To give the look a rock-'n'-roll edge, the front section was swept to the side and hung in front of the face. Nails were similarly pared down with a shimmery sandy beige polish fittingly called Essie Nail Polish in Au Natural. "We've seen a lot of nail art these past seasons, but this spring is all about going back to basics," said Michelle Saunders, who created to look. As for makeup, skin had a bare, scrubbed quality, while the eyes imparted a slept-in feel. Makeup artist Hannah Maria used three NARS chubby pencils to get the overall look: a gold-flecked charcoal smudged into lashes, a taupey pink lip pencil tapped onto the lids and inner corners for lift, and a coral lip pencil dabbed on cheeks.
SUNO
While the clothing had a sweet folksy prairie vibe, the hairstyle at Suno was inspired by a New Wave Grace Jones. Odile Gilbert created the look by coating strands with Kérastase Sublimateur Jour Daily Leave In Conditioner and then dividing them into three sections, with one deep part at the front and one from the top of one ear to the other. She first focused on the section with the deep part, combing hair flat to the side and rolling it gently back and over into a 40s-style twist that she held in place with a hair comb. To give it that updated edge, she worked the pointed end of a comb into the twist itself and gently pulled it up and out to form a more triangular shape. She set the roll with Kérastase Double Force Controle Ultime hair spray. She next turned to the back of the head, gathering all ends into a ponytail at the nape of the neck. To finish the look, she divided the ponytail into two tails, wrapping them around one another and then coiling the full length up into a tight chignon held in place by bobby pins. Makeup artist Carole Colombani envisioned a girl coming from the Utah desert when putting together the face. She put brow makeup, mascara and lipstick aside and instead concentrated on the skin for a gorgeous natural effect. "It's about treating makeup like painting to sculpt the face," she explained. She used three MAC taupes to define the eyes. She then applied a luminous highlighter to the top of the cheekbones, up around the temples and eyes, along the bridge of the nose and on the Cupid's bow above the lip. She next used a small, flat-topped, circular brush and a creamy color meant for the eyes to bring out the contours of the face. "We want the girl to have a poetic feeling about her, with soft shadows," she said. Suno's beauty look was finished with bare nails, created by swiping on Essie Nail Polish in Fed Up.

—Jennifer Hirshlag, Christiana Molina, Karie Frost
Photo: Courtesy of Maybelline (Cushnie et Ochs main)