By Gretta Monahan
There’s an optimism to knowing spring is just around the corner, and personal beauty is always a big way we can psych ourselves up—whether it’s the switch to a lighter lip shade, a dewier skin texture, a bold and bright color trend, or a new ‘do altogether. And the recent fashion shows in Europe doled out plenty of inspiration. Here are a few of the standouts to take note of and start considering—and in some cases, trying out—to get ready for once the snow finally melts completely away.
Braids of all kinds: In London they were sleek, pulled together, and all the rage, thanks to stylists like James Pecis, who at shows like Simone Rocha put the spotlight on everything from classic braids to pretty, ballerina-like braided chignons. Meanwhile over at Burberry, Zendaya rocked corn rows. Her sleek, tight braids were the perfect backdrop to her subtle light pink lip and light face makeup, offset by dramatic heavy brows and smoky eyes.
And before you start thinking that Paris was about to be outdone on the hair front, we should talk about the boy cuts that are causing a stir on runways at Balenciaga, Dior, and St. Laurent. There the locks were mostly short, often simple, and cut almost pixie-style. Paired with makeup that was at times barely there and at others flirty and feminine, the overall effect is to highlight the face, rather than distract from it.
The better to have fun with reinventing how to do eyeliner. Before the European shows started, the artists at Tom Ford and Jason Wu brought out a much more rounded version of the now-ubiquitous cat eye. It still defined the eye plenty, but with a fresh shape that’s more about the center of the eye and barely has a wing at all. As usual, every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and you could find those in dark royal blue, with big wings, at shows like Fendi and Missoni.
The classic red lip has been given a brand new spin, too: In place of the usual matte textures, artists have been playing with glosses and glazes, to pump up the volume on the color and shine factors. But before that all starts to sound way too harsh in an overly ‘80s way, consider that they’re also doing a lot of blending to keep things soft and smooth. Chanel and Sonia Rykiel did it just right, as did Helmut Lang—with very flattering effects that could easily transfer to every day.
And with faces being highlighted with pulled-back braids and short cuts, what better excuse to play with color—like so many shows have been with, for example, the entrance of pink. All kinds of pink: light and innocent pink; electric fuchsia; shimmering pastel pink. They were used as blush and shadow, contouring and lip stains alike at shows like Gucci, Brock Collection, and Valentino. Or how about delving into the retro realm of blue eye shadow? At the shows, some are robin’s egg-bright, others are just a subtle sweep of ocean across the brow, but all signal a mood that’s focused on anything but the winter doldrums.