Adam Selman's Fall 2018 Beauty Look Was Inspired by Tonya Harding and Willie Nelson Roadies

"How does this translate to the street? It totally doesn't at all."
By Stephanie Saltzman ,

Photo: @jennaroseigner/Instagram

"I, Tonya" isn't just the buzzy movie all your friends can't shut up about or Margot Robbie's chance to score an Oscar: It's also a fount of beauty inspiration, at least for Adam Selman. At the designer's Fall 2018 show on Thursday, the models' nails paid not-so-subtle homage to the ice skater. Some wore long, almond-shaped nails in a classic red cream polish, a staple look for the designer's shows from season to season. But the rest were given the full Tonya treatment, with a glittery purplish-pink polish (Orly's aptly-named Miss Conduct, to be exact.)  

"Adam has a lot of really cool inspirations, her being one of them," says Holly Falcone, the nail artist behind the blinged-out manicure, who insisted that the skater has been an ongoing inspiration for Selman, rather than some fleeting obsession resulting from the biopic. "Just in general, her costumes were always really over the top and her nails were always done, even 20 years later, like in The New York Times, she's clutching her skates and has these long nails." (See the recent New York Times photo Falcone is referencing here.)

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows

Harding's nails are so noteworthy that they also got a shout-out in Taffy Brodesser-Akner's accompanying New York Times profile on the skater: "She put her hands on mine. Her nails are unicorn purple with glitter particles that she swears are not fake (which, I don't know) and they are unchipped the way they need to be when you are chopping wood one day and promoting a movie the next," she writes. 

It's also worth pointing out that the glittery fuchsia hue seems to be a favorite of Selman's at the moment, also appearing on the dress he custom-designed for Rihanna's Grammys appearance.

Harding wasn't the only delightfully quirky source of inspiration for the show's beauty look, though: Selman had in mind a "Willie Nelson roadie" for the show's hair. "That was what was given to me before the test," says hairstylist James Pecis with a smirk. "When I think of Willie Nelson, of course I think of two braids; when I think of roadie, I think of someone who's wearing a hat, moving equipment around and kind of sweaty and sticky." 

Interestingly, while the styling process did involve weaving the models' hair into two Nelson-esque braids, those weren't part of the final look. "It's just to give it a nice wave," says Pecis. "Adam wanted to make sure that all of the girls felt a bit tougher because there are cutesy things in the collection, so we're kind of juxtaposing that with a tougher look." That translated to a messy, slightly (intentionally) greasy effect, with a "boyish swoop of hair in the front," as described by Pecis. The idea was to create balance with the brightly-colored makeup. "How does this translate to the street? It totally doesn't at all."

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows

And speaking of the colorful makeup, damn was it a showstopper. While there were no off-kilter pop-culture figures as reference points, makeup artist Dick Page certainly had fun with the look, which incorporated brushstrokes of neon hues — yellow, fuchsia, blue — across models' lids, punky black eyeliner, '80s-inspired blush and diffused, berry-stained lips. "When I was going to clubs and stuff in the '80s, there was no such thing as a soft stripe of blush," says Page. "It was a strong stripe, you could see it from space. But this is a little softer, but it's a nod to that."

Photo: @ginadaddona/Instagram

And then finally, several models' hair (that front swoop!) and bright swatch of eye shadow was draped over with a small netted veil, rounding out the punk effect of it all. "There's a little aggression to the look," says Page.

"It's a little sick and twisted, which is very Adam Selman," adds Pecis. No disagreements here. But, you know, in a delightfully cheeky, pop-culturally aware way.

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