And the rest of the bold beauty looks from London Fashion Week SS24, from Chopova Lowena to Masha Popova
After a two-year hiatus, Williams returned to London Fashion Week this season to show her SS24 collection. Inspired by the question “what does the end of the world look like?”, Williams explored ideas of pre- and post-civilisation, showing a collection made for “Bosch girls… spurred by a primordial/post-apocalyptic hunt for cute”, as Biz Sherbert wrote in the show notes. What that looked like in practice was baby knits made into bobbly court jester hats, 16th-century face masks repurposed as facial-recognition-blocking headwear, and hoodies printed with the hysterical slogans of a self-absorbed consumerist society (“I <3 ME”). Models carried wooden staffs carved into the shape of Hello Kitty and wore Uggs stamped with slogans and dishevelled pink ballet flats while walking to a cover of Britney Spears’ “Everytime” by PC Music’s Caro. It was ketamine chic via Spring Breakers.
Finishing off these looks was beauty by Isamaya Ffrench and Brownsell, co-founder of Bleach London, which sponsored the show. On make-up, Ffrench created two looks, both fitting for a post-apocalyptic world. The first was, as she called it, “bin bag liner”, created by applying a very, very dark brown in the socket line, blending it in and then covering it in a gloss on the top lid. The other was a crying look. “Red under the eyes with some little fake tears to make them look weepy,” she explained backstage. They are, as many of us are, upset about the world.
When it came to the hair, Brownsell put a lot of thought into how these medieval peasants in the future would look. “Someone has transported them to the year 3000 and so they are still embracing their traditional medieval looks but with a modern edge because they had to get dressed in something else,” she says. “With the hair, we really wanted to embrace that.” Wigs were custom-made to be “as long as hair could naturally grow” – 60 inches – complete with the split ends and unkempt texture to recreate that look when your hair hasn’t been cut. “If you see the pink one, as it trails off it’s really soft through the ends and uncut,” says Brownsell.
Inspiration for the XXL hair also came from Williams herself who has hair, as Brownsell describes, “as long as it can be”. The two have been collaborating on shows for more than a decade now – a testament to both the shared aesthetics of the two brands and their close friendship. The wigs were dyed with a futuristic colour palette – a pastel-pink created using the brand’s Rosé collection, a champagne bleached blonde and a “cosplay” brown wig dyed with a new mix that is coming out soon. “We’ve cut a cosplay fringe in and used an iridescent brown colour to create the texture of that cosplay synthetic hair,” Brownsell says.
The wigs were custom-made, each taking up to 12 hours to create, and had to be specially constructed because of the length of the hair. The pink one, for example, was crafted using a ladder. “You can’t buy hair that long so we have to fake it. It looks like lingerie in the back of the hair because it has this big contraption that you don’t see,” says Brownsell.
Other models, which included artist Claire Barrow were given individualistic messy bedhead looks. “These people are confused about where they are, they are peasants that are in the future, they’ve cut bits off or they’ve got mullets that are kind of matted because they have never had to do haircare and styling, so they are navigating that,” she continues. The brand’s signature slogan hair clips were noticeably absent – a sure sign that we are in a new phase.
Ashley Williams was by no means the only brand that had fun with beauty in London this season. Here are our top hair and make-up picks from LFW SS24.
Monster trucks informed Masha Popova’s collection this season, with maxi skirts and bumster denims covered in tire tracks and paint splatters. When it came to the beauty, make-up artist Grace Ellington took this inspiration and responded with looks that had a “worn-in, faded glamour that was slightly grungy and looked like it could be worn by a petrolhead heroine in a movie,” she says.
“Texturally I wanted to riff off of the distressed denim and velvet in her collection and so I applied layers of powdered eyeshadow over lips in a rusty palette for a metallic but matte effect and on a few models I played with eyes that had oxidised greens and blues echoing her denim palette,” she explains. “Finer details like eyebrows and skin were left pretty raw as I felt like the Masha Popova girl wouldn’t be too fussed about those things.”
Strap-on fringes were the look at Molly Goddard this season thanks to Gary Gill who paired sleek low buns with punky, colour-block fringes in contrasting shades to the models’ hair. The choppy fringes were strapped onto the likes of Edie Campbell with black ribbons that tied at the back which added to the 90s minimalist ballerina vibe of the collection.
Make-up by Thom Walker was natural and barely-there, some models wore a graphic black liner look, while dewy skin came courtesy of New Zealand-based skincare brand Emma Lewisham who partnered with Goddard on the show. Alongside using products from the brand to prep the skin, gentle massage was given to stimulate blood flow giving the models a fresh-faced glow.
Scowling skaters and Cornish milkmaids collided at the Chopova Lowena show this season, where the theme was Flora Day, an ancient Spring festival in Lowena-Irons’ native Somerset. When it came to beauty, this meant flushed, rosy cheeks and dewy skin courtesy of Ana Takahashi. Colourful, mix-and-match eyeshadow in purple and teal tied the playful colour palette of the clothes into the make-up.
On hair, thick plaits were woven with colourful ribbons, delicate chains and braided sculptures in the shape of butterflies by Kiyoko Odo.
Chet Lo is unafraid to have fun with beauty, using it as an extension of the themes that he explores in his collections. Last season, models walked the runway with tongues dyed vivid shades of red, green and blue – a look that took inspiration from bioluminescence, the title of his collection. For SS24, tongues were regular colours and it was the hair that expanded on the themes of the collection: the ways sexuality is suppressed and represented in Asian cultures.
Shibari, the Japanese erotic rope play, informed some of the lace-up details of the clothing as well as hair by Anna Cofone which was crafted into sleek, rope-like sculptures that defied gravity. On make-up, Bea Sweet matched blocky graphic eyeshadow with details from the hair or clothing – limes greens, whites, electric-blues and fiery-reds.