Every season, Alexander Wang is the one New York Fashion Week show for which every beauty editor reliably shows up (and shows up early). That owes to a combination of factors: Not only is the Wang beauty look always dependably cool and trendsetting, but it also usually also involves some sort of major makeover moment — bleached brows by makeup artist Diane Kendal or choppy bowl cuts courtesy of Guido Palau — that has everyone backstage buzzing.
Spring 2018 was no exception. This time around, one model and one model alone received the Alexander Wang makeover treatment: Stella Lucia, who underwent a lengthy eight-hour process with Redken Global Color Creative Director Josh Wood to transform her blonde hair to a lavender-tinged pink, which Wood christened "rose quartz."
According to Wood, the shade choice was the result of a careful collaboration between himself and the designer. It was inspired by "Kate Moss in the '90s and the idea of kind of Berlin," and was created by starting with a gray base before layering on a variety of tints. "I think Stella really embodies who the collection is based on," Wood told Fashionista in an interview backstage. "We're referencing something from the '90s, but making it look right now, today in New York. It's also the idea that you can have glamour and angst together."
Wood also called the hue "brave" and "manufactured-looking," but noted that it's also flattering because of how multifaceted it is. "For me, it shows that you can have a very personalized tone of pink that suits you — it's not just one shade of pink, there are many different shades," he explained.
"Rose quartz because of this idea of crystalline — something very cool," he added. "Pink is a very flattering color — at my salon in London, a lot of people come in requesting pink. For me it shows that you can have a very personalized tone of pink that suits you. It's not just one shade of pink; there are many different shades."
How was Lucia feeling about the new look? Indifferent — at least if her pre-show behavior was any indication. When you're an aloof, cool-kid model who has been aloofly cool-kid modeling for years, a hair color that might be game-changing for someone else is apparently rather mundane.
One editor next to me excitedly asked her, "How does it feel?" — to which she merely shrugged and replied, "Good." As I snapped a few photos of her new look, I continued to prod: Was she excited about it? (Shrug.) Would she have been willing to make this type of drastic change for someone other than Alex? (Shrug.) Had she been nervous? ("No.") Did it, perhaps, make her more confident and ready for the Wang runway? (Shrug.) Lucia, it seems, has an abundant supply of that innate don't-give-a-fuck-ness that is so crucial in any true member of the #WangSquad.
As for the rest of the model lineup, it was full of the usual Alexander Wang suspects: Joan Smalls, Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner — as well as notable newcomer addition, Kaia Gerber. Those models were all permitted to keep their existing hair (and brow) colors and cuts, and the hair and makeup on the whole was minimalistic.
For Palau, this season's Wang show was "Easy — much easier! Because normally we're doing lots of those colors and cuts three or four days before." This time around, his team focused on enhancing each model's natural texture, letting curls air-dry (or in some cases, using the GHD Air Diffuser) and adding a bit of bend to straight hair with a GHD Curve Classic Curling Iron. (The latter was the case for Bella Hadid, who sat by having her straight strands wrapped around an iron and applauding adorably for Palau when he finished going through his whole spiel with the editors.)
"It's simple and cool — the hair is always kind of simple and cool, it's just that the last few seasons we've done a lot of cuts and color," said Palau. In terms of products, that was simple too: Just a bit of Redken No Blow-Dry Just Right Cream smoothed through the strands. "I want the hair to feel clean, but a little heavier," he explained.
The makeup was equally laissez-faire: Inspired by "unique beauty" and the individual models, Kendal kept things simple by using Nars' iconic "Orgasm" shade on lips, eyes and cheeks. She dusted Nars Orgasm Illuminating Loose Powder (a forthcoming product for Spring 2018) over the models' lids, tapped the brand's Luster Liquid Blush in Orgasm onto the cheeks and dabbed Orgasm Afterglow Lip Balm (also new for Spring 2018) on the lips. Lashes received only a thin coat of mascara and brows were brushed and filled in as needed for a natural-looking effect. "I wanted to do makeup that just enhances all of the girls' natural features and celebrates their diversity," said Kendal.