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Collina Strada AW23 NYFW Dazed Cris Fragkou
Photography Christina Fragkou

Collina Strada dared to ask: what if Mr Tumnus porked a capybara?

Animal heads dominated the runway once again at New York Fashion Week AW23

Animal heads on the runway seem to be a trend that has legs. After the Schiaparelli Couture show caused a huge amount of outrage and moral posturing among people unable to distinguish between art and life, New York Fashion Week AW23 announced itself officially in session when Collina Strada also sent creatures trotting down the catwalk. This time, though, the animals were prosthetic – more cartoony than true to life, and were the actual models themselves.

New York Fashion Week beauty usually doesn’t disappoint. Last season, everything was supersized from the nails at No Sesso to the lips at Barragán. This season, we saw the lingering influence of Wednesday Addams with vampy goth make-up throughout the week – from the Siouxsie Sioux eyes at Rodarte to the dark lips at Sandy Liang. Balletcore was also represented at Sandy Liang, where tiny silk bows adorned models’ sleek long hair. 

There was a strong spirit of DIY at Palomo Spain where models applied pastel paint to their eyes with their fingers. The painterly aesthetic was also present at Eckhaus Latta where watercolour make-up was paired with liquid latex gloves, and latex-dipped fingertips and nipples. Inspired by The Little Prince, Thom Browne models sported intricate golden headpieces and celestial silver make-up, while Luar and Willy Chavarria closed New York hair that was wind-swept to the extreme.

But it was the Collina Strada models with their SFX snouts, pointed ears, beaks and reptilian horns that ultimately won out. In keeping with the “Please Don’t Eat My Friends” theme of the collection – the show notes reminded showgoers that “humans and worms share 70 per cent of their DNA” – the animal heads were dreamed up by creative director Hillary Taymour and make-up artist Isamaya Ffrench

The make-up team spent days in the studio painting each prosthetic piece, with Ffrench also using her own make-up products, Bioglitz biodegradable glitter and sad girl favourite Dieux skincare to do up the models’ faces. “I really want it to be fluid, and part of the look that didn’t feel too costume, and Isamaya and her team did such a good job,” Taymour told Vogue

When it came to the hair, Evanie Frausto took inspiration from the animal theme of the collection which honoured “both the inner show pony, who is playful and likes to ruffle feathers, and the inner workhorse, who is reliable, durable and strangely practical.” The two main looks of the show were a cascading dressage lattice-net hood and a colourful lived-in grunge which the team created with Bumble and Bumble.

“Our overall hair story for the show is a grungy cool look that is enhanced to show natural texture,” Frausto said. “The inspiration starts with the Collina Strada girl – the downtown edgy punk, fashion lover – combined with Hillary’s inspiration of farm life, referencing horses’ manes and roosters. Each look has an organic undertone that is colourful yet muted, and convivial.”