While we have Cara Delevingne to thank for the strong brow craze, designers are recently veering into the barely there brow territory. First for Givenchy Fall/Winter 2016 and then for Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2017, models began sporting bleached eyebrows and bold eye makeup that only seemed to accentuate their alien-like good looks.
Backstage at Alexander Wang for his second collection after he pulled out of the traditional NYFW line-up, the designer decided to bring back bleached brows and a distinctly '90s makeup look for the show. This also isn't the first time Wang beauty hazed his models for a show: 18 girls famously took the bleach blonde challenge for Spring/Summer 2017. This time around, however, all of the models (save for a few women of colour who preferred not to have their brows dyed) had their brows bleached and made to look invisible.
'It was just a '90s feel for the girl,' says Diane Kendal, lead makeup artist for Nars. 'It's the juxtaposition between uptown and downtown and to make them cooler.'
The rest of the beauty look was relatively simple: Kendal used a taupe eyeshadow in the crease for some contour, one coat of Nars Climax Mascara on the lashes, highlighter in the inner corners of the eyes, and bronzer underneath the cheekbones and into the temples. Five of the girls, selected by Wang, wore the new Nars Spiked Audacious Lipstick in a reddy-black burgundy shade called Siouxsie.
Wang wanted to split the beauty look into the prim and proper uptown girl (inspired by '90s tabloid fixture Carolyn Bessette Kennedy) and the eccentric, edgy downtown girl of New York. This translated into a polished blow dry for the uptown look and punk pigtails for the downtown girls, created using shards of hair shaped with Redken Mousse, Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryers, and Harry Josh hair straighteners. There were also girls who had their hair crimped and embossed with a W.
'It's a cross-pollination of uptown and downtown,' says Duffy, the lead hairstylist. 'You'll actually see the Wang logo on some of the girls.'
As for the brows, hair bleach was first applied, along with a plastic cling wrap in order to keep the heat contained and speed the bleaching process along. Blue product was then applied over top in order to tone the brows and take out any brassiness.
'My hair grow so fast that I bleach my eyebrows once a week so the roots come out in a day or two,' says Sarah Brannon, a Wang regular and one of the models backstage. With her hair already dyed platinum blonde, the bleached brows seemed like a natural fit. 'I think it's a cool look, especially with my white hair. I also like the hair look with the two ponytails because to me, it's kind of naughty. I'm a natural makeup girl so the brown around the eyes is also nice.'