Think back through the style tomes of last decade, when runways were all about terrifyingly smokey eyes and skin suffocated by layers of product, with any texture blurred over. Glamour was symbolized by looking like you’d spent a very long time in a salon. Recently, a strange phenomenon has overrun the beauty world: It seems that the aim of many new product releases and most of the runway makeup is to be almost invisible, with every slight nuance of natural skin showcased—eye bags, greasy lids and cheeks, happy little pores.
While the look isn't totally new, now the norm is runway faces that are healthy, sporty, and surprisingly similar to those of real people. I chalk it up to the arrival of Instagram, where we've been given insight like never before into the real minute-by-minute lives of global beauty icons: Over 5 thousand people "liked" Ali Michael's zit revelation, 8.5 thousand for her bug-bite selfie; 6 million followers know what Cara Delevingne looks like in the morning, and over 17 million are now party to Kim Kardashian’s facial contouring secrets. This new and intense access levied by the proliferation of social media and blogging has heavily impacted the world of fashion and beauty, which has responded with an aesthetic that celebrates and glorifies reality rather than conceals it. What once would have been considered TMI is now a sign of braveness and security with oneself. Inaccessible glamour has gone out the window and suddenly we’re all trying to look like we haven’t tried at all.
Charlotte Tilbury’s "woman out for a New York night" at Donna Karan; Terry Barber’s "girl coming back from a rave" at Marques’Almeida; a "young girl on her first night out… rosy cheeks and sweaty skin" by Sam Bryant for Margaret Howell; "remnant amateur makeup, like the girl has done it herself" from Lucia Pieroni for Jonathan Saunders—these aren’t looks celebrating an impossible womanhood but rather the woman who wears them. With the death of early 2000s hyper glamour, everything's shifted towards celebrating an enhanced version of what real women might look like in their day-to-day lives. While your post-yoga sweaty upper eyelids might not look quite as chic as Paulina King’s did at Marni, at least nobody is saying that ladies don’t sweat anymore—or caking finishing powder onto those who do.
—Olivia J. Singer