The Biggest Beauty Trends from NYFW So Far: From Graphic Liner to Matching Nail Art

Your backstage pass to virtual fashion week.


Designed by Cristina Cianci

New York Fashion Week looks a bit different this year due to the global pandemic. For their S/S 21 collections, dozens of designers traded in runway shows packed with spectators for socially-distant digital presentations. While things were a bit out of the ordinary this season (i.e. no crowded backstage beauty moments!), we were still excited to grab a virtual front-row seat to the shows and get a digital glimpse of the hair, makeup, and nail looks that accompanied the designer threads. And let’s just say, the fashion week beauty looks were far from disappointing. 

From the floral hairdos that adorned models at Rodarte models to the faux freckles models wore for the Jason Wu's presentation, there's still endless beauty inspiration to be found from this season's NYFW presentations. Ahead, we’ve rounded up the biggest beauty trends for S/S 21. We'll be updating this story as the looks come in throughout the week, so circle back to get our daily beauty fix.

Trend #1: Statement Florals 

Anna Sui
Jackie Kursel

Florals for spring? Done like this—groundbreaking! Legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath executed the beauty looks for Anna Sui's show this year. While each model's look included subtle makeup, the floral facepaint framing their faces captured our attention. Anna and @patmcgrathreal created fresh, clean "no makeup" makeup, with a touch of whimsy by adding delicate floral patterns to accent the eyes."

Rodarte Florals
Daria Kobayashi Ritch 

For the Rodarte show, editorial hairstylist Rachel Lee drew inspiration from organic feminine strength and decorated each model’s hair with flowers. “The wave and texture was created with the idea that softness is powerful,” Lee says. “Allowing elements of nature to alter the looks throughout the day; a texture that sun can shine through and move freely with the wind and layers that can become one with florals.“ Lee prepped and styled all of the models using GHD tools.

Trend #2: Matchy-Matchy Nail Art

Rebecca Minkoff

Of course, the first virtual NYFW had to have a mask moment, and what better way to highlight mask fashion than by matching it to nails? Well, that was the look that had us zooming in at Rebecca Minkoff's Fall 2020 NYFW show. Celebrity nail artist and KISS Brand Ambassador Gina Edwards took the designer's inspiration—David Bowie and glam rock—and turned it into a spectacle.

"I placed individual star decals from KISS Salon Secret Nail Art Starter Kit ($10) as accents on a classic black KISS nail base ($9) in keeping with the minimalistic nail art trends which I feel will never go out of style. Adding the stars give the nails a celestial rocker feel!" she said in a press release. The nails alone may feel minimalist, but add the matching mask and this combo is maximalism at its finest.

DreBae for Christian Cowan
Christian Cowan

Punk-inspired manis made an appearance at the Christian Cowan SS21 NYFW show—which stars rapper Lil Nas X. Celebrity nail artist Mar y Sol tailored each manicure to match the unique looks that made up the collection. “Each nail look was uniquely inspired by the edgy details in Christian’s designs, Lil Nas X’s free spirit and the beautiful makeup up and hair looks, while keeping in mind each talents’ personality," Sol says. "To create each nail look, I personally custom fit over 300 Aprés Gel X nail extensions and filed many into a unique shape that resembles a tanto tip Japanese knife. Depending on each outfit I then paired colors from defy & INSPIRE to complement each look.”

Trend #3: A Pout With Punch

Naeem Khan
Jonathan Dee

Coral lips were the perfect accompaniment to Naeem Khan's vibrant S/S 21 collection. Makeup artist Nam Vo and Angela Reece applied the pink-orange lipstick to all of the models, pairing it with brassy gold eyeshadow for an extra pop.

Tom Ford SS21
 Tom Ford

For the Tom Ford show, the designer said he wanted models to wear vivid makeup to represent joy and happiness. And it doesn't get much more vivid than this electrifying pink lip. To create this pout, Beau Nelson used the Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color Matte Lipstick ($56) in 05 Plum Lush and Tom Ford Beauty Gloss Luxe ($56) in 09 Aura. For hair, Reece Walker was the visionary behind the fun and effortless styles the models wore.

Trend #4: Post-Beach Beauty

Jason Wu model, wavy hair
Jason Wu

Inspired by Tulum, the look was soft and approachable at the Jason Wu presentation. "We are celebrating every hair texture represented on the runway and treating each model individually based on their hair length, cut and texture," explained lead hairstylist Holli Smith.

The model lineup featured straight, wavy, curly, and coiled textures. Short cuts and braids made appearances, too. The key to recreating this tousled hair and the rest of the laidback looks is not to do too much. You can create a piecy texture with root volume. az Craft Luxury Haircare Amplify Texture Spray ($44) was worked into this style followed up with a diffuser. For curly and coiled hair, use a mixture of both az Craft Luxury Haircare Sooth Serum ($45) and Elixir Oil ($47). Mix the product in your hands before applying it into the midshaft with fingertips.

For thicker hair, Smith recommends adding more az Luxury Haircare Elixir Oil drops to serum and for finer hair, less serum so product combo is lightweight.

Faux freckles were also a focal point of the glam for the Jason Wu presentation. Erin Parsons, the lead makeup artist for Maybelline New York, dotted the fake freckles using this $9 lip stain, and we're obsessed.

Cinq a Sept

Beachy waves were also spotted on models during the Cinq a Sept SS 2021 presentation. Oribe Global Educator Mandee Tauber created this natural, tousled look using Oribe's Dry Texturizing Spray ($46) and Impermeable Anti-Humidity Spray ($42).

Trend #5: Graphic Liner

Lia Clay

It was all about ombré at this season’s Chromat show. “This season, it was all about the ombré colors on the eyes,” says Fatima Thomas, Chromat’s Key Artist and MAC Cosmetics’ Senior National Artist. “The ombré shades and liners were inspired by colour spectrums and the beauty and possibility of abolishing the two-system gender binary and really embracing spectrums.” To create this look, Thomas used MAC Cosmetics Acrylic Paint in Marine Ultra and Hi-Def Cyan in the inner corner of the eyes and transitioned to Marine Ultra and Landscape Green.

Christian Siriano Liner
Christian Siriano

At the Christian Siriano SS21 presentations, bold eyeliner looks stole the show. The inspiration for the look came from Andy Warhol. "I’ve always been inspired by old Hollywood stars, and Edie Sedgwick in particular as an Andy Warhol muse always wore bold eyeliner. Christian’s inspiration images were more modern,” said Vincent Oquendo, Lead Artist for Maybelline New York. “When I saw the collection’s colors and textures, it made me think of Warhol. I wanted to replicate those textures on the eye.” 

Oquendo created an outlined effect on the eye using the Tattoo Studio Sharpenable Gel Pencil ($8) in Deep Onyx on the lash line. He then added the gel liner directly into the crease and connected the two lines to create a sideways V-shape. Oquendo applied two layers of Hyper Easy Liquid Liner ($9) in Pitch Black to the lash line, bringing the liner to the inner tear duct. Using Tattoo Studio Sharpenable Gel Pencil ($8) in Polished White, he then drew a triangle from the outer crease of the lid to the middle of the eye, topping liner with the yellow shade from the City Mini Eyeshadow Palette ($10) in Hi-Rise Sunset.

Trend #6: Color-Blocked Eyes

Pia Gladys Perey
Adrian Ritchie Ong

For Pia Gladys Perey’s spring 2021 show, models wore beautifully bold eyeshadow looks. Here, makeup artists Steffanie Wilson and Brieanne D. Pereda swiped on four vibrant eyeshadow shades to create this multicolor moment. 

Zero + Maria Conejo
Matthew Kristall

Zero + Maria Conejo brought electric hues with this bright cobalt blue lid. Done by makeup artist Dick Page, this bright eyelid look has a bold, abstract feel to it that we absolutely love.

Trend #7: Beautiful Buns

Badgley Mischka
Dennis Golonka

Sleek buns made an appearance several times this fashion week. Here, the models for Badgley Mischka wore a classic take on the style, wearing their hair pulled all the way back into a tight knot.

Christian Siriano Bun
Christian Siriano 

For the Christian Siriano show, Sebastian Professional International Artist Anthony Cole created abstract low buns. To create the abstract-effect, twist your ponytail once upwards, curving against the back of your head. Fasten the twist with a hairpin. Hair will bend naturally into a bun shape. Continue to twist the remaining ponytail following the same direction, in an S motion, staying close to the back of your head. Pin twist down periodically with hairpins. Cole finished the look with the Sebastian Professional Shaper Fierce ($17) hairspray for strong hold.

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