NYFW Beauty: "Next-Level Realness" at Monique Lhuillier

Monique Lhuillier SS17 - Getty - H 2016
JP Yim/Getty Images

The designer crystallized the spring 2017 beauty look, playing up models' individual looks with bold brows and messy ponytails.

Alicia Keys was onto something.

If there’s been one beauty trend to emerge from the spring 2017 collections in New York this week, it’s a less-is-more attitude rooted in natural beauty that doesn’t fight with the clothes. We’ve seen no profusion of classic red lips or smoky eyes coming down runways, but rather a focus on gorgeous skin with perhaps just a sublimely subtle touch of shimmer.

At Monique Lhuillier’s presentation Tuesday afternoon, MAC celebrity makeup artist Mark Carasquillo called the look he created “next-level real girl. Everything is done with foundation and concealer; no colors are involved. It’s just about cleaning up the skin and making natural features seem a touch more vibrant, a touch more alive.”

To pair with Lhuillier’s collection, a beautiful array of cocktail dresses and gowns boasting details like ostrich feathers or trailing-vine beading and embroidery (“surreal fairy tale” is how Lhuillier described it), Carasquillo chose to make the brow the strongest feature on each face.

He went for an arched, extended brow that still felt wholly natural — think Lauren Bacall vs. Jean Harlow, he said. “From there I use a light concealer to do a little highlight on her browbone,” he says. “Back in the day it would have been done with a shiny white eyeshadow, but we didn’t want anything that felt too glittery or sparkly. We wanted to mimic beautiful, glowing skin.”

The hair likewise focused on a natural, textural look, says MoroccanOil’s Bob Recine. “I’ve worked with Monique for a very long time; she’s an amazing designer. Her clothes are always very well-constructed and designed. But we don’t always want to incorporate that sense of perfection into the beauty.”

PONY ON POINT: Monique Lhuillier's spring 2017 ponytail. (Photo: Getty Images)

Recine instead envisioned an idea of a girl riding in a convertible on a hot, sunny day. “You know how that kind of entangles your hair?” he asks. “You take that very textural feeling and just grab it with your hands and make a bunched ponytail that rests at the top of your ear. Too high and it feels girly; too low and it feels boring. But at the top of the ear, it feels very sophisticated.”

“I don’t like things to feel too perfect; they lose their charm,” Recine says.

Carasquillo agrees. “We’re being very true to each girl’s face, just making it more gorgeous, perhaps a bit more defined,” he says. “The neutral look of the face creates a light touch that balances the glamour of the collection. Each girl looks like she’s wearing nothing on her face, and yet she’s glowing from within.”