From bodacious buns to playfully parted hair, this season's "it" girl is anything but meek. Not afraid to experiment and express her individuality, she wears bold makeup that colors outside the lines and drops intense pigment on lids to complement the equally fierce designs we saw hit the runway.
And just when we thought we had seen it all, caviar nails and poodle bouffant puffs rocked our world.
Backstage at L.A.M.B., Gwen Stefani's longtime hairstylist and BFF Danilo summed up what he says is an overall theme emerging from his celebrity clientele:
"I'm calling it the Gaga Effect. Gaga's craziness has allowed everyone else to fully express themselves. Everyone can just let loose and not be judged for it," Danilo told StyleList.
So get ready to unleash your inner Gaga as you browse the standout hair and beauty trends from New York Fall 2011 Fashion Week -- and if you're a less-is-more type of girl, we promise we've got a couple fresh new looks for you to try too.
Pomp It Up
The bold makeup trend from last season has seemingly warped into the bold bun of next season, with voluminous piles of hair set atop the crown. Unstructured and playful in design, buns seen at shows like Ruffian and Luca Luca displayed a sense of levity.
At Luca Luca, lead stylist Teddy Charles said that sexy, slightly disheveled updos are a great complementary choice for the high collars and fur necklines often found in fall clothing. Charles brushed locks up to the top of the head, creating a standing-up circular bun that was both elegant and approachable.
The Chinese opera influenced the sculptural updo at Vivienne Tam, which Cutler stylist Leon Gorman kept in place with the help of a hairnet, pins, lots of hairspray and an ornamental large black lace barrette secured just above the nape of the neck.
The most dramatic take on the hair-raising trend was seen at Isaac Mizrahi, whose "Poodles & Cake" collection translated literally into the hair with a custom-made pom-pom attached to the top of the head. "I was up working on these until 3 in the morning!" moaned lead Wella stylist Eugene Souleiman.
There was a raging case of pinkeye backstage at New York's Fall 2011 Fashion Week -- and we're not talking about the infectious kind.
From Honor to Ruffian, bright magenta eye shadow threw all caution to the wind with opaque applications of shocking shades.
Meanwhile, a London punk-rock kid inspired a more fiery rendition of the shade at Honor, as NARS makeup artist James Boehmer blended Taj Mahal and Exhibit A blushes together to achieve the bursting hue -- which was further accentuated by a winglike application on the inner-eye area.
A toned-down, appropriate-for-reality version was shown at Zero + Maria. Revlon makeup artist Gucci Westman blended shades of purple, pink and terracotta to achieve the look of a sunset setting across the eyes.
Outside the Lines
Coloring inside the lines was old hat, as backstage beauty looks from Betsey Johnson to Derek Lam and Alice + Olivia boldly stroked lines and shadow where makeup doesn't usually venture.
Cleopatra continues to influence the art of dramatic eye makeup, with exaggerated cat-eyes inked in thick liquid lining at Alice + Olivia. A softer, more ethereal rendition forewent liner in favor of smoky charcoal shadow at Derek Lam, where MAC makeup artist Tom Pecheaux commented, "I wanted the eyes to be really iconic."
A creative variation on the cat-eye was seen at Victor de Souza, where structured black eyeliner brought to life the designer's continuing fascination with aliens, with pencil tracing around the tear ducts and lid crease in outward-sweeping motion that appeared otherworldly.
Playing the Part
When designers wanted to lend a sense of elegant femininity to their beauty look, stylists relied on the classic deep side part.
Carolina Herrera's always-ladylike collection was enhanced by a side-parted updo that swept sleekly from the front to a rolled-up chignon pinned just above the nape of the neck.
The thick volume created by a deep side part at Charlotte Ronson was balanced out by two thin cornrow-style braids that kept the part separated down the back, and swept over the shoulder.
The part was in its most natural element at Cynthia Steffe, with a dab of foaming mousse at the roots and a traditional blowout being all that it took to achieve the flowing manes of models showing off the earthy, safari-inspired collection.
Center parts were also well-represented at shows like Naeem Khan and Adam, where they were slicked to the head with gel to invoke a Latin American feel to the style. At Proenza Schouler, the stark center part alluded to the Native American imagery that imbued the collection.
Any woman who has tried the "natural look" knows the process can, surprisingly, take even longer than your usual "face" and 'do, since all attention focuses on the perfection of your features.
Models who flaunted similar au naturel faces at Tadashi required what MAC makeup artist Luc Bouchard termed "blurring" with blended layers of cream foundation, concealer and pearlized powder highlighter to create a Photoshop-like effect. Touches of matte bronzer gently contoured to create natural-looking shadows under the bone structure of skin.
I-don't-care-hair looked the part at Michael Kors -- that is, until you looked closer. "The hair is a little bit '90s, when it was cool not to have really 'done' hair and makeup. We did a loosely tied twist with a few bits sticking out here and there," explained T3 lead stylist Orlando Pita. Those stray pieces transform what is really a complicated knot worthy of a boating license into a casual-looking pin-up.
The Tipping Point
Nails used to be an afterthought, but designers are increasingly seeing polish as an extension of their collection and another venue through which to conjure the imagination.
Outrageous was the word on the street at Cushnie and Ochs, with black polish immersed in black beads and glitter for a caviar-like finish. At Ruffian, designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais turned their trademark moon manicure on its head with nails outfitted in polish tuxedos of pearlescent lavender shirts, black buttons and black bow ties.
Variations on the classic French manicure oozed sophistication at Jason Wu and Vivienne Tam, though without such unimaginative colors as white and beige. Instead, chocolate-cherry nails tipped in gold accented Wu's Versailles-inspired collection, which dripped in the metallic hue, as clear nail beds dipped in glittery fire-engine red created alternative chic at Tam.
And most creative of all, Creme painted bands of chocolate, mauve and orange polish rings around models' fingers at Vena Cava, instead of on their nails. "I'm inspired to push the boundaries of what people do with nail lacquer. I want to encourage people to go beyond the usual," Creme told StyleList.
Braids aren't just for hippies. Looks seen at shows as diverse as Erin Fetherston to Halston used the traditional pattern to make outspoken beauty statements, most often with material woven in as ornamental accent throughout the hair.
Meanwhile, simple was the keyword at Halston, where a clean ponytail secured into a basic braid reflected the streamlined silhouettes of the collection. The trick? Spritz a hairbrush with hairspray, and then work through hair before braiding, said Catwalk by TIGI stylist Bob Recine.
Sleek was also the look at Carlos Miele, as reflected by the thickly braided plait bun lead stylist Rodney Cutler secured with a clear elastic and pins in order to create an updo that wasn't "too busy."
The great thing about braids is they also serve a second styling purpose; just undo your creation, spritz some dry shampoo at roots, and you've got some fabulous day-two hair.
Finally, something we can rock without garnering public stares.
If you want to take a walk on the wild side with more hair trends from Fashion Week then check out this video to see what wowed our partners at BellaSugar!
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