“Should we talk about the weather?” Lucas Wilson asked with a smile last night as he motioned toward his station backstage at Vogue World, which was outfitted with the best humidity fighters the hairstylist could assemble: Bumble and Bumble’s Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil to help repair dry strands near the end of New York Fashion Week; its iconic Thickening Spray to strengthen lengths and “lock in these flyaways and fluffies”; and its Dryspun Texture Spray for soft, movable piecey-ness. The air was thick with moisture and anticipation as a will-it-or-won’t-it conversation about forecast thunderstorms made its way around the outdoor tented area overlooking the show’s West 13th Street runway, but Wilson seemed unfazed; the weather would hold, and the loose waves, braids, and slicked-back chignons and ponytails that he customised for each model benefited from what was, hands down, the best casting of the week. “With such an iconic line-up, you really just want to see these girls in their natural look, so that when they walk through the smoke at the beginning of the runway, you get that little treat, like, ‘Oh, my God, this is a major moment!’” said Wilson.
Even ahead of the show, the moment was pretty major as models—nearly 50 of them—started filing in from rehearsal. Bella! Joan! Irina! Kendall! Carolyn! Amber! Karlie! “We’re doing natural beauty for almost everyone,” make-up artist Kabuki explained of a similar approach designed to merely enhance Shalom Harlow’s insane bone structure, which, had traffic not already been stopped on either side of the cobblestone-street runway in New York’s Meatpacking District, would have certainly ground it to a halt. MAC’s Face & Body Foundation provided colour correction where needed for a glassy finish “without too much make-up,” and Kabuki used subtle swipes of gold highlighter from MAC’s Hyper Real Glow Palette, topped with a few dabs of its Gloss Medium, on cheekbones to make them pop underneath the outdoor lights.
But there were hints of statement make-up woven throughout too, befitting the magnitude of the experiential event. “It took me six hours to make each one by hand,” Kabuki said of two exceptionally crafted metallic masks made of individually cut, adhesive Mylar squares that he had assembled on a piece of tulle before meticulously applying them onto Imaan Hammam’s and Sora Choi’s foreheads. Other models, including Yoon Young Bae and Yumi Nu, got a soft wash of blue eyeshadow, while Kabuki used MAC’s Pigment in Rose Gold swirled with a few drops of Mixing Medium and its Blacktrack Fluidline Gel to create a handful of graphic liner looks.
Ella Emhoff sported a pointed design that dipped into the inner corners of her eyes as well as extra-long stiletto tips lacquered in CND’s Devil Red polish, one of two nail motifs dreamed up by manicurist Leanne Woodley, which also included chipped natural nails in neon bright shades of pink, green, and yellow. It was punk, it was couture, it was fun. “Thank you so much for having me,” Woodley said as the sun began to set over the Hudson River, a sentiment that echoed throughout the joyous celebration of global fashion and the greatest city in the world.
This story originally appeared on Vogue.com.