There are house beauty codes, and then there’s Proenza Schouler. Designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez almost never deviate from the natural, cool, downtown hair and makeup aesthetic they helped establish when they launched their New York-based line 20 years ago, and their Fall show was no exception. “They love the boldness of a fresh face,” makeup artist Diane Kendal said with a knowing shrug as she inspected models’ contoured cheeks while the late-afternoon sun cut through the fourth-floor windows of the Brant Foundation in the East Village.
And there is certainly something bold about leaving skin almost bare, amplified only by a diffused application of contrasting shades of Merit Beauty’s excellent The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Foundation and Concealer Stick, which Kendal dotted with its Day Glow Highlighting Balm. But it was finishing touches that came by way of brushed up brows, curled lashes—with mascara just at the root—and a slick of Merit’s new Signature Lip Lightweight Lipstick, the first new product from the clean beauty brand since it launched last year, which gave models the perfect dose of wearable polish. “I’ve been a longtime fan of Proenza Schouler,” says Katherine Power, CEO and Founder of Merit Beauty, as to why she partnered with McCollough and Hernandez to launch the brand’s first lipstick, which is spiked with plant-derived squalane and sunflower seed oil for a super hydrating tint and a weightless feel. “It’s lipstick you can live in,” Power explains of the eight buildable shades—effortless riffs on ’90s neutrals—that felt at home with the structured tailoring and the plays on volume that graced the runway.
Effortless is a fitting term for the natural lengths and “classic but easy” bobs hairstylist Guido Palau cut for the show—six, in total—which were cropped high, just below the ear, center parted, and treated to a mix of water and Oribe’s Super Shine Moisturizing Hair Cream before air drying for an appealing lived-in texture. Short cuts have been popping up on and off the runway of late as we approach a new phase of the pandemic and we all look for a way to redefine ourselves after almost two years of living with COVID. “It gives a neck,” Palau says of the silhouette-elongating style. But it’s the emotional makeover that comes with a defining haircut that perhaps offers its greatest appeal. “It lifts you—it lifts your spirit, your energy and it feels cathartic,” Palau continues, which, at the very least, offers an optimistic outlook for the season ahead.