Backstage at Douglas Hannant, legendary hairstylist Edward Tricomi theorized a bit on beauty. He said looks essentially never change, but the techniques to achieve them and the way you make them your own are always evolving. At New York Fashion Week, this theory was proven in spades. Whether referencing the '60s or the '90s or Audrey Hepburn or Grace Jones, what emerged was a sensibility whose basis may have been familiar, but whose execution absolutely set a fresh course for spring 2013.
Take, for example, the ponytail. It bobbed and swung as confidently and cheerfully on many runways as it has in several seasons past. Now, however, it was dangling with straight and crimped strands and perhaps hanging out next to a braid. Indeed, many hairstylists worked sleek and kinky textures and accents like braids, knots and twists into an all-in-one look that was incredibly modern.
Mixed texture wasn't the only story. For makeup, artists honed in on the natural glow. "It's hard," said James Kaliardos at Theyskens' Theory. "You want it to look like it's coming from within, but makeup is something that essentially covers the surface." Some makeup artists handled that dichotomy by leaving the face nearly bare and then bringing it to life with luminizing touches and others sculpted it carefully by quickly blending foundations and highlighters. The majority played with cream-based products, applying them where they needed a hit of shine so that you saw lipstick and lip balm being swiped onto eyelids or on top of cheeks. "It's like the idea of homemade makeup," said Dick Page at Marc by Marc Jacobs. "It shouldn't be too pretty."
When it came to color, it was all about catching the red eye. Hues of pink and cherry popped up at many shows on lids and even all around the eyes for a dramatic statement that may be tricky to translate for everyday life. Lashes were often completely bare, with waterlines rimmed in white for a needed pop. While the dramatic red lip still showed up, it was often mucked up with a dab of pink at the center and didn't seem as strong this season as lips that were gently kissed with a wash of sheer pigment.
Nails reached a tipping point, as well, this week. After the over-the-top designs and shades that have often stole the show over the last year, manicurists instead reached for the prettiest and quietest nudes, ballet slipper pinks and graphic whites that will see us pulling out our staple polishes from the back of our drawers again.
Here is a behind-the-scenes breakdown at each presentation:
Day 1: Creatures of the Wind, Costello Tagliapietra, Honor
Day 2: Peter Som, Jason Wu, Rag & Bone, Cushnie et Ochs, Helmut Lang, Suno
Day 3: Jill Stuart, Prabal Gurung, Hervé Léger
Day 4: Derek Lam, Victoria Beckham, Diane von Furstenberg, Timo Weiland, Zac Posen
Day 5: Carolina Herrera, Theyskens' Theory, Reem Acra, Chris Benz, Alice + Olivia, Marc Jacobs
Day 6: Badgley Mischka, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Betsey Johnson
Day 7: Bibhu Mohapatra, Douglas Hannant, Rachel Zoe, Reed Krakoff, Marchesa, Whitney Eve

Photo: Bibhu Mohapatra by Diane Bondareff/Invision/AP Images