To Glam or To not Glam? Runway Magnificence Displays Our Publish-Pandemic Indecision

Backstage on the Spring 2022 LaQuan Smith present.

The Spring/Summer 2022 season marked New York’s first “real” Fashion Week since the pandemic struck, and the excitement in the air was palpable. Though many things had changed — the exponential increase in outdoor shows, for example — editors, influencers, models and industry insiders alike flocked to the city to return to some sense of normalcy, reuniting with friends they hadn’t seen for more than 18 months. And while the collections themselves were certainly inspired by and conceived during months of quarantining in the designers’ respective homes and ateliers, one thing about New York Fashion Week that seemed particularly reflective of the changing (or perhaps changed?) times was the beauty looks.

New York Fashion Week is always home to bold, editorial beauty looks, with backstage legends like Pat McGrath, Jin Soon Choi and Guido Palau often making appearances as the key artists for makeup, nails and hair, respectively. However, this season’s takes were a little different. Across most of the shows, backstage beauty’s focus occupied one end of the glam spectrum or the other: Either the look was extremely glam, usually featuring a smoky eye and done-up hair, or it was subdued and natural, with little-to-no makeup on models’ faces or product in their hair.

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