A full face at Christian Cowan

Shiny manes, bronzed skin and hyper-symmetrical faces, wearable and flattering fashion: Whenever I mention New York Fashion Week, that’s what most people think of. And of course: The American Beauty Dream is still alive in commercial oriented shows.

But there is an exciting scene of labels and designers, too – one that features an edgy cast, arty styling, and unconventional beauty.

Sometimes the hair remains still shiny, but there is a certain spark of vision that goes beyond beautification and adds another layer, either in make-up, hair, fashion – or as a whole concept. Sustainability has been a theme. Gabriela Hearts created a collection based on unused fabrics found in warehouses, Collina Strada presend a whole concept, including donating the stage set design, plastic free zones were very present, vintage has been incorporated at Eckhaus Latta.
Entertainment through extraordinary music and exciting casts gave this fashion week the quality of an art happening, if you went to the right places. Sometimes more of an elegant thoughtful gallery, sometimes a wild performance – but often inspiring and moving, topped by the well covered and choreographed Marc Jacobs show.
These were four shows fascinating me the most.

All photos by Nate DeCarlo
Editor: Laura Dunkelmann 



„Garden Ho“ was the theme – introduced by artist Sasha Frolova, who read out loud hard environmental facts. All the stage set has been donated, a plant will be planted for each guest  and plastic was banned plus most of the collection was made out of deadstock fabric. The show reminded of  a wild meadow (the catwalk was covered by grass) with even wilder flowers parading down the grass (all ages, sizes, characters).  The beauty looks created by Allie Smith featured summer breezed out hair adorned with grass and branches of rosemary and pigment-splashes right into models‘ faces – could it have been pollen?! A fake sneeze after the application of said color made the picture perfect.

High pitched 90s-rave-tracks and live performed folky pop added another Woodstock 2020 seed to the party.

Let it grow - Models before the Collina Strada show


Acid colliding with the earth – Ulla Johnson found a balance in both 70s-hippy-appeal and romantic-chic. Signature flowy dress don’t necessarily require a girly make-up – instead, Romy Soleimani created  a neo-melancholic look with matte, mossy-teal lashes and top lid liner and a caramelly lip, using Bobbi Brown products. Easy, but not overly enhancing – a stem breaking through the earth rather than a full blossom.

Holo hairstyling aids and crayon coloured lashes backstage at Ulla Johnson


Setting her show in her former New York High School, Sandy jumped into the past and future: The softly sporty 90s beauty look directed by Somomi Shibusawa for Shiseido, flexed glazed lids (Crystal GelGloss) and nude skin-colored lips (Modern Matte Powder Lipstick in Nude Streak) and a natural, out-of-gym-mane tousled by Dennis Lanni, using Oribe. Yet, the collection felt grown-up with ruffle details and fluffy textures, more maturity was added musically by a string orchestra underlining the parade.

Old school: Sandy Liang set her show in her former High School

Backstage Sandy Liang


First, the foot note: All shoes were second hand – and supplied by the RealReal and sold right after the show. Vintage Manolo and Prada were among the collection and a perfect addition to a quite trendless collection that excited through proportions; finishes and textures. Back to the top: gently gelled hair and occasional white eyeshadow-clouds (created by Mac artists) around the eyes with fleshy lips underlined the offbeat vibe also evoked through the location: a former, run-down Abercrombie & Fitch store.

Backstage Eckhaus Latta

Christian Cowan glamorized NYFW: His signature rhinestones sparkled brighter than ever: on more wearable, less made for the stage-styles. Full face masks reflected the current germ-phobia in the most dazzling, slightly ironic way. The collection reminded of 80s and 90s cocktail hour, extended to to ponycocktails created by hairstylist Laurent Phillipon for Bumble & Bumble. Some gelled streaks (Sumogel made it happen) made it light and wild at the same time.

Into the wild: Make-up at Christian Cowan

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