When I arrived backstage at the LaQuan Smith show at 6:45 p.m., half of the models were not even there (many were in transit on the rainy day from another show). Nevertheless, beauty got the first-class treatment—even if it meant the show started more than 40 minutes late. Smith had a star-studded backstage team, including Sheika Daley, Lancôme Global International Makeup Artist, and celebrity hairstylist Lacy Redway, who tag-teamed to create a sexy, sleek, quintessential New York look, playing with the sharp lines often seen in the architecture of urban cities.
Sexy. That was the direction given to Daley regarding the makeup aesthetic for the Spring/Summer 2024 show. “You saw him [Smith] walk through this room awhile ago and it [his sexiness] was oozing everywhere, so we wanted the girls to exude that same sexiness and confidence,” Daley said. With luminous skin and alluring eyes, the makeup look mimicked a sexy girl’s night out. Daley used Lancôme’s new Teint Idole Ultra Wear All Over Concealer, yes, on the under eyes, but surprisingly also on the lips, to turn them into “a blank canvas.” The lips leaned toward neutral and brown, “so the concealer hides pink undertones,” Jasmine Ferrera, a Lancôme Pro Artist, shared.
To ensure models felt sexy and confident on the runway, Daley opted for a defined, chic, cat eye, contoured individually to their eye shape. “It’s paired with a little bit of negative space that we’re going to add some shimmer to,” Daley shared while surveying a teammate’s eyeliner application with an angled brush as they created the separate line to complete the look. Daley dubbed the bold look a “futuristic cat eye” and explained, “It’s a homage to the ’90s, but with a 3000 year effect. Think of the year 3000,” she instructed.
The first thing that came to my mind was chrome and silver (is that you, Beyoncé?), but clearly, I wasn’t the only one. Rikako Jones, from NYC Japanese nail salon Yukie Natori, leaned into Renaissance Tour beauty inspiration with chrome French manicures. “Everyone has been leaning into silver,” Jones stated. However, for Smith’s models, it was not just any type of silver chrome. Jones and her team “really worked to make it as mirror-like as possible,” to play off the glass effect with the skin and hair.
Smith let Redway take the lead on hair. “This is my fifth season with LaQuan. We trust each other at this point. We’re both Virgos,” she shares. Smith simply requested a sleek and modern look. When Redway saw the collection and all the graphic tailoring throughout it, she wanted to reflect that through the hair and decided on a sharp middle part mimicking the lines in the clothing. Hold on, Gen Z—you didn’t win the part wars, yet. Redway settled the debate on whether a side part or middle part was more on-trend and chic with a laugh, saying, “Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, both parts work. I had some side parts that I did at the Christian [Siriano] show that are really cool.” For Spring 2024, Redway predicts more “graphic cuts”—styles with lots of lines and edges, similar to this short, edgy bob, “but more like a mullet.” To achieve sleek, moveable hairstyles, Redway used TRESemmé Ultra Fine Mist Hairspray as to not weigh the hair down.
Each season, the LaQuan Smith show struts through the NYFW calendar oozing with sex appeal. This week’s runway was no exception, plus it gave us a helpful trend forecast: The backstage beauty confirmed that for 2024, we’re going graphic—with our hair and eyes. And if that’s the look you’re trying to convey, a razor-cut bob or sultry cat eye will quickly have you looking like “LaQuan’s Angels.”
Danielle James is the Digital Beauty Director of ELLE.com. Previously, she was the Fashion and Beauty Director of HelloBeautiful.com and MadameNoire.com. She’s bylined for The Cut, InStyle, Allure, Business of Fashion, Nylon, Essence, Good Housekeeping, The Grio, and Huffington Post. Danielle enjoys sailing, thrifting, Japanese whiskey, Naomi Campbell’s runway walk, and Rihanna in the comment section.