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From coloured roots to crimping – runway trends to steal from fashion week

We round-up the micro-trends from the AW20 season of shows that are set to be the biggest beauty looks of the year

The AW20 season of fashion month has finally come to an end! From designer debuts to the one of the quietest New York Fashion Week’s we’ve ever seen, there were too many major moments to even count. 

Backstage, the energy was just as palpable, as make-up artists, hairstylists, and nail artists worked together to create some of the most dramatic looks in Paris, Milan, London, and New York

The runway is always one of the places where beauty is the most experimental. It’s where trends are born, after all. Fast forward through the literally hundreds of shows around the globe, and these are the over the top looks that predict will be seen as bigger trends or real-life wearable looks on the streets in the very near future.


At Area’s AW20 show in New York, there was no shortage of crystals on the runway. Hairstylist Jawara again integrated crystals into models’ hair backstage, this time in a more dramatic way. “We looked at some old catalogues and we saw hair that got caught in the coat wrapped around the neck, almost as if it was a mistake,” he explains. “So, we decided to make a modern version of that. We're doing big beautiful blowouts and tying the hair around the neck, with a little knot at the bottom.” For some models, Jawara also wrapped chains of super shiny crystals down the hair and around the neck. He used Mr. Smith products to blow out the hair.


New York staple Eckhaus Latta showed its signature off-kilter crafty knits and unconventional colours paired with a make-up look that focused on shades of white around the eye and a purposely dry lip. Make-up artist Inge Grognard worked with MAC Cosmetics to create the look. “The look is kind of a stained lip. We have a little bit left of the contouring on the lip but it’s pretty dry,” she tells us. “It’s like you do your lips, you eat, you drink and what is left stays there.”


In London, Simone Rocha is always one to experiment with beauty. For AW20, the designer worked with make-up artist Thomas De Kluyver who applied foiled paper he sourced from Japan in shades of pastel pink, bright red, and inky black to models’ eyes, creating a revolutionary texture and playing off the trend of applying found objects to our faces. He also applied it in an unconventional way, sticking in on in bits and pieces for an abstract, shattered effect.


Marni’s AW20 collection saw models wearing a sea of polished leathers and colourfully patched together outfits. Hairstylist Julien d’Ys took paint and gold and silver glitter and dusted it over the tops of hair and down the forehead, as if a glitter bomb had exploded in front of them. Some of the glitter was also on necks, with pink body paint. While we’ve obviously seen glitter at fashion week before, this messy interpretation is a new look.


We’re of the mindset that the emo trend in beauty is only growing, and at Milan Fashion Week, Gucci proved that with many of the models wearing statement blurry, mascara tears look courtesy of Thomas De Kluyver. Using Gucci’s Mascara L’Obscur directly under the eyes, he then applied a little bit of water to give it a natural teary-eyed look, as if the models had just been crying in their make-up.


Hairstylist Sam McKnight created coloured swaths of hair on model’s parts at Dries Van Noten. McKnight was reportedly inspired by the imagery Serge Lutens created in the late 70s and early 80s, but we can also see a bit of a modern-day influence. Some of the models had slime-coloured partings, à la Billie Eilish. The coloured bits were actually feathers – a continuation of the feather theme McKnight has been doing for the past couple of seasons at the fashion house.


Rick Owenslatest collection included extremely dramatic silhouettes and a strong colour palette accentuated by make-up artist Karim Rahman’s extremely minimal look of clean skin and brushed up brows. Hairstylist Duffy chose contrasting extensions and applied then to the backs of models heads, brushing them out with adding texture with heat for a crimped effect. “As always, it’s an evolution of the Rick Owens girl,” he says. “It’s a very makeshift version of what you’ve seen before. It’s extreme contrasts. If the girl’s hair is brown and mousy, we’ve gone for very vibrant burnt orange or red or metallic blue. If the girl has a white or black hair, we’ve gone with a softer colour. There’s an intentional jolt to this hair. It’s a little more homemade.” Long hair is definitely trending, but Duffy’s raw, extreme texture for Rick Owens felt brand new.


Japanese designer Junya Watanabe was inspired by Debbie Harry this season. Make-up artist Isamaya Ffrench created a twisted version of the icon’s beauty look with a smeared glossy red lip and dark black liner look on all the models. But it was the hair we’re really predicting as a trend – chunky contrasting dye is clearly having a moment. Hairstylist Eugene Souleiman created black and platinum blonde striped wigs inspired by the vision of Debbie Harry – chosen by the designer himself. “He’ll give you a piece of music, a few words, and then have you get on with your work. I looked at a lot of photos of her performing in the early days. It was all about the colour, that light blonde with dark black underneath. But it needed to be alive like it was caught in motion.” Souleiman used beer to make the hair thicker and hung the wigs upside down before styling. He sprayed hairspray directly into the heat coming out of the dryer to make the hair stick up in odd directions.


Traditional floral crowns no longer feel new. Branches, plants and textural leaves are the future for 2020 hair. Japanese label Noir Kei Ninomiya focused on the overarching theme of generating new techniques and silhouettes in the colour black for fall 2020, exploring gradations of the colour red, which when combined result in black. The hair also followed suit – artist Shoplifter created hairpieces in black and red, while Japanese floral artist Azuma Makoto added live rare flowers, plants, and branches to the epic hairpieces right up until the moment the looks hit the runway. “I was asked to do something really crazy and when I looked at his clothes, I knew it had to be something big, bold and sculptural,” Shoplifter explains. “I am a hair sculptor, I’m not really a hairdresser.” To make things even more dramatic, make-up artist Go Miyuki painted bold steaks of raw-looking black bodypaint on the side of models’ faces. “It’s all inspired by the clothing and the hair. It’s very simple and strong, it’s not too much, but it’s quite strong,” he says. 


Balenciaga has quickly become a hit show for nail inspo, with nail artist Mei Kawajiri leading the look each season. This season, Kawajiri applied long nail tips to models’ hands, in various shades of grey, black, white, and red. Most extreme, however, were the nails in shades of black. Kawajiri applied various metal hoop piercings – actually belly button piercings – to the nails. “The nails were very sharp and pointy,” Kawajiri explains. “There was neon yellow, black, and red French manicure style. I used silver metal rings pierced through the nails and also a ‘BB’ logo on the middle finger. I also applied a very specific, flat chain on the nails.” At the back, some of the models had white USB cables tied around the ponytails created by hairstylist Holli Smith.


Finally, at Miu Miu we saw glam, retro waves styled at the top of the head which gave us major stylish librarian vibes. The hair fit right in with all the animal prints, crystal trim, and 40s tailoring seen in the collection. The show had an overall vintage-feeling vibe, and Redken Global Creative Director Guido Palau created a style that mirrored the dramatic glamour of past eras. “The hair at Miu Miu this season was based on the 40s, but with a twist on the 70s,” Palau explains. “I like to think of it as how a girl might do her hair in a 40s style during the 70s. It’s a glam, tough girl who is very Miu Miu, and who is always a bit rebellious. I left the lengths loose and a touch messy, which also reminds me of how a girl might do her hair at home – with more of a focus on the front. My key products were Redken Guts 10, the Redken Deep Clean Dry Shampoo for a touch of volume at the root, and Redken Triple Dry 15 Dry Texturising Spray for an effortless airiness to the models’ lengths and ends.”