Bows, braids and rainbow brights: The best beauty trends from London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019

From punk to prim, makeup artists and hair stylists let their imaginations run wild.

From punk to prim, makeup artists and hair stylists let their imaginations run wild

(Credit: Niklas Nalle'n/AFP/Getty Images)

Compared to New York, Milan and Paris, London is fashion month's sassy little sister, known for out-of-the-box creativity, bold designs and occasionally, the downright bizarre. The hair and makeup teams, true to form, turned it out for Spring/Summer 2019 shows,  with avant-garde coloured coifs, bandaged faces, logoed hair and enough glitter to put a disco ball to shame. But fear not, because the top beauty messages were actually approachable enough to try at home. Arm yourself with an arsenal of makeup brushes, and read on for the trends to try this spring.

Rainbow bright

We've seen coloured strands in seasons past, but London's stylists took hair to a punky place for spring. Bright bouffants, stringy top knots and fluorescent locks all got their time in the spotlight. According to James Oxley, who crafted the two-toned manes for Micol Ragni's presentation, inspiration came "from mid-noughties mosher culture. I wanted to create an uncomfortable disconnection with color," which explains his palette of yellow, magenta and electric green. "Rainbow hair is having a huge crescendo —subculture styles are being revived."

Cue the waterworks

Ever since Alexander Wang gave his grunge girls messily slicked hair a few years ago, the wet look has returned to the runway time and time again. The antithesis of perfectly coiffed blowouts, it instantly adds a downtown edge to glittery evening looks and strict, minimal day wear. In London, we saw it on gelled ponytails at Christopher Kane, greased down crowns at Markus Lupfer and Rejina Pyo, and caught-in-the-rain waves at Ashish, where hair stylist Sam McKnight opted to go "the old fashioned way", dousing models with buckets of water before they hit the catwalk.

No-makeup makeup

Putting the focus squarely on skin, labels like JW Anderson, Victoria Beckham, Burberry, Markus Lupfer and Mary Katrantzou all opted to go for a no-makeup makeup look. Fresh and clean for spring, it's all about highlighting naturally beautiful features like a strong brow, sculpted cheekbones, rosy lips or a smattering of freckles like the ones Val Garland applied to the girls at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi. It's the kind of makeup that looks like all you put on is a little lip balm, but everyone asks how you got that glow.

Crowning glory

For spring, it's not enough to have shiny, beautiful hair, you have to accessorize it too. At Emilia Wickstead, stylist Benjamin Muller fastened two prim bows at either end of a slick ponytail. At Ryan Lo, stylist Sam McKnight nestled a frayed-edge ribbon into a mane of loose, natural waves, while at Simone Rochas, stylist James Pecis added beaded and feathered headbands to updos framed with delicate flyaways.

The Braidy Bunch

Sure, the Kardashians have laid claim to the braid of late, but designers are finding ways to make them ever more fashionable. At Erdem, stylist Anthony Turner celebrated Victorian beauty with a low, severe-looking plait that ran all the way down to models' waists. At Nicholas Kirkwood, Sam McKnight shot tight braids with plastic elastics and light-up neon wires for a futuristic feel. Over at Roland Mouret, McKnight spritzed the mid lengths and ends of the hair with Easy Updo Texturizing Spray from his eponymous line for extra hold before quickly creating crowns.

All that glitters

We're used to seeing glitter on the fall runways (what could be more perfect for the holidays?), but it's made its way into the spring collections too. From a small smear of sparkles at Simone Rochas to a socket-full at Halpern Studio, there are plenty of ways to wear it. Sam McKnight even dusted parts with big fat flakes at Nicholas Kirkwood.

Caitlan Moneta (@caitlanmoneta) is a Toronto-based fashion editor, writer and stylist. She's a firm believer that there's nothing a little retail therapy can't fix.