Last week I was invited by Jin Soon to go backstage at the Alexander Wang Pre Fall 2020 Collection Runway Show to see what the beauty artists were up to when it came to hair, makeup and nails. As an ode to the pioneers of American sportswear, Alexander Wang took inspiration from iconic designers such as Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and Ralph Lauren for his 2020 Collection 1 runway show. With the collection broken down into four parts, the last part being Wang's future vision of American design, he also wanted four variated hairstyles to go with the looks. And that’s just hair. Continue reading to see full visual story of the behind the scenes in beauty along with some of my favorite looks from the show.
The first hairstyle was a very structured '70s silhouette, with two different types of braids. Some of the models had braids (which took up to six hours to create) with a center part. The hair was then saturated with handfuls of L'Oreal mousse to ease the pressure of the braids on the scalp, lock in style, and tame any fly-aways and baby hairs. "Alex wanted a very clean and graphic silhouette," says lead hair stylist Duffy backstage. "There's a Jet cover from 1973 with a [model with a] center part. When you look through documented trends in hair, some of the braid work was so intricate and well-executed. I wanted to celebrate that moment that was forgotten." For the second type of braid, the hair was extended into ponytails and then wrapped with leather to resemble a bull whip. My favorite hairstyle from the show. After waist-length extensions were added, models were given one, two, or three ponytails that were pulled tightly and held in place with Elnett Extra Strong Hold Hairspray. They were then wrapped and braided with leather all the way down — a project that took as many as five stylists on a single model. The level of focus from the stylists were intense. Major dedication to this look.
The second group of models had their hair separated into three sections, straightened, and then finished off with loads of L'Oreal setting lotion. The aesthetic was, "graphic, hard, and shiny," according to Duffy, but Wang didn't want the hair to look too wet or plastic-y either. The third look was inspired by sumo wrestler hair. L'Oreal Extra Hold Gel was applied to the strands in order to achieve an iridescent, reflective sheen and the hair was then fanned out into ponytails. See in image above to the right.
The fourth look matched with the other three looks but consisted of more individuality. Wang “gang” girls, Kendall Jenner, Kaia Gerber, Lexi Boling, Selena Forrest, and Binx Walton, all wore white for the show. To go with this look, they wanted sexy and minimalistic, as if the models just stepped out of water. This is definitely a look I go for during the summer time.
Lead by makeup artist Diane Kendal, the models were given a subdued look of luminous, glowing skin with a bit of cheek contouring using Nars' Endless Orgasm Palette and Orgasm Liquid Highlighter. Brows were filled in with a "boy-ish" charm to them and the Nars' Orgasm Oil-Infused Lip Tint (insane packaging) was applied to both lips and the tops of the cheekbones for a 90s-inspired, dewy glow. That gloss/glass effect on the cheekbones and eyelids is definitely going to be making a comeback in the next few seasons. I have yet to try any of these products (too crazy to attempt to amidst the chaos backstage) but do use their Orgasm blush every day and it’s my go-to-product for fresh, subtle blushed cheeks. This look is perfect with slicked-back wet polished hair - I think because of the intricacy behind the hair along with the strong statement from Wang’s collection definitely were influenced by the minimal no-makeup-makeup look and it truly works because the makeup doesn’t need to distract from the clothes.
The nails were also minimalist, with Jin Soon Choi using four nude shades from her eponymous polish line: Dulcet, Demure, Nostalgia and Muse. "We tried to match a JINsoon nude shade to each model to complement their skin tone" explained Choi. Then, because the designer "wanted a cool, more modernized spin" to the neutral nails, she topped the polish with Jin Soon Matte Maker Topcoat, noting that, unlike many other matte-finish polish formulas, hers is "very satin-finished, not dry. This gives more of a cool, sportswear look," said Choi, “while celebrating each model's individuality without overpowering any of the looks they are sporting.” If I’m wearing a nude polish on my nails, it’s Nostalgia, but I’m dying to trying Dulcet for the fall!
Taking place at Rockefeller Center the show was the first ever held at the venue, and sectioned off to specific clientele along with a quite vulnerable position for public viewing (hey, he’s done it before). In homage to the Holy Trinity from the 90s - Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, Wang feature 4 different looks including his own future take on American sportswear. I loved the bold shouldered blazers inspired from Karan’s collections along with the crazy cool denim, a personal favorite and one that will be sold out in a heartbeat are those thigh-high slit denim skirts. (That' 90s light blue wash is MINE) Definite Klein vibes along with logo tees and even underwear as outerwear. Ralph Lauren-isms like flannel plaid, mile-long suede fringe, and wide-wale corduroy were also spotted on the runway. How good are those corduroy blazers though?! Another detail I spotted were neck ties being used as an accessory on a handbag. Not your typical piece, but I will definitely be re-interpreting this.