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Beauty Gets Wild During New York Fashion Week AW/23

Published February 21, 2023
Published February 21, 2023
Collina Strada

When it came to beauty at the New York AW/23 shows, things took an animalistic turn with Dion Lee, Collina Strada, and Private Policy all taking inspiration from the animal kingdom. ’90s-inspired looks made multiple appearances at Ulla Johnson and L’Agence, while Sandy Liang took inspiration from the trendy ballet-core aesthetic with hair ribbons and pink blush dabbed on cheeks.

Ulla Johnson AW23

Ulla Johnson

Taking place 65 floors up in the new Spiral building in Hudson Yards, complete with a view of the Empire State Building, the Ulla Johnson AW/23 collection was a celebration of New York. Sultry fashion looks in a rich palette of bronzes, oranges, greens, and browns were accentuated by ’90s-influenced, rust-colored lips and minimal face makeup. The hair, however, was more extravagant than the makeup, with Botticelli-style braids created by Joey George using Oribe haircare products. The artful hair creations incorporated bold patterns and geometric shapes that were seen in the collection. In contrast to the complex braids, some of the models showed off slept-in waves that hearkened back to the grunge, heroin-chic aesthetic of the ’90s.

Private Policy AW23

Private Policy

Siying Qu and Haoran Li’s latest collection came together with the concept of pursuing freedom by releasing one’s animalistic self, inspired by the Japanese folk tale The Fox’s Wedding, which symbolizes human beings' desire to be like animals. The eye makeup was representative of the theme with some models having badger-esque smudged eyeliner on the under-eyes and others wearing carefully crafted, elaborate cat-eye styles. Koen Hoang created party animal–influenced hairstyles, using Oribe Hair Care products. Volume Powder Spray was used on curled undone hair that was backcombed for a voluminous textured style. Headbands bearing horns and rabbit ears had been placed atop the head for the ultimate animal effect.

Dion Lee AW23

Dion Lee

For AW/23, Dion Lee was all about shedding your skin and starting anew, a message taken quite literally when it came to the crocodile-effect garments and cold-blooded beauty looks that were displayed during the show. Renowned makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench designed the makeup looks to reflect the reptilian energy of the collection. Hair was glossy and slick, much like the skin that was prepped using the Isamaya SkinLacq. Brushed brows stuck up in an upwards direction and models’ water lines were painted with white pencil. The most eye-catching part of the makeup was the serpent-style scales airbrushed onto models’ foreheads in a shimmery pink-and-green ombré effect using a reptile scale stencil.

Sandy Liang AW23

Sandy Liang

Sandy Liang brought balletcore to the runway, channeling romance with girly silk bows adorning long sleek hair and even embellishing belly buttons. Makeup artist Marcelo Gutierrez used ILIA products to create first-recital-worthy frosty eyes with Liquid Light Serum Highlighter and softly tinted lips with Lip Reviving Balm. The beauty was inspired by “sad, pretty girl energy” that was uber feminine and incorporated built-up layers of pink blush. In an unexpected twist, some models showed a hint of rebellion against the good-girl aesthetic, with dark burgundy lips to match their cherry-cola hair and bold rosettes around necks and on garments.

L'Agence AW23


This seductive collection also brought back the essence of the ’90s supermodel with brown lips, lived-in liner, and bronzed eyeshadow by Charlie Riddle. Models oozed confidence with their hair in sleek ponytails, bouncy blowouts, and tousled bedheads. Smudged black eyeliner was a reprieve from the “clean girl” aesthetic that's dominated TikTok, and may indicate we will be seeing a less precise approach to beauty in upcoming months—think rockstar chic.

Anna Sui AW23

Anna Sui

After stumbling upon an old picture of her friend Jane Holzer dancing at the Peppermint Lounge in the 1960s wearing Chanel couture, Sui was inspired to create her AW/23 collection. The Peppermint Lounge was an Italian restaurant located on West 45th Street that was briefly the hottest club in the world, with the Beatles, Jackie Kennedy, and the Beach Boys favoring the spot. Makeup artist Pat McGrath was inspired by ’60s beauty looks employing bold, vivid eye makeup. Eyeshadow came in shades of candyfloss pink and seafoam green. Inky midnight-blue mascara was layered up to create volume and length, while brows had been groomed upwards and lips moisturized with McGrath’s Lip Fetish Sheer Color Balm in clear. The contrasting candy color eyes embodied a sense of playfulness and fun that left everyone, even the models, smiling.

Collina Strada AW23

Collina Strada

Bold. Quirky. Crazy. These are just some of the words one might use when describing a Collina Strada show, and the AW/23 catwalk didn’t disappoint. Isamaya Ffrench transformed models, using special-effects makeup, into dogs, dolphins, pigs, and rhinos. The collection, named “Please Don’t Eat My Friends,” was inspired by the ecosystem that unites all creatures big and small. It took two days to pre-paint all the prosthetics, coordinated with the outfits they’d be worn with. Colorful face gems, faux fur, and glitter accented the animal faces. The models even impersonated the behaviors of the animals they were portraying on the runway, making for an eventful show.


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