Finding Moments of Joy in a Largely Underwhelming Season for Beauty

Like absolutely everything in the pandemic-stricken 2020 world, the Spring 2021 fashion shows — the small number of them that went on amid a global health crisis, anyway — were, in just about every way, unprecedented. While fashion grappled with how to soldier on, get the job done and possibly even create a bit of much-needed optimism and joy through art, so, too did the hair and makeup looks that accompanied it. 

Naturally, backstage beauty was different this season. In fact, as someone who has covered runway beauty in the field for the better part of the past 15 seasons, I can’t even really offer much perspective on that fact — I wasn’t there. No press was. 

In extreme contrast with the last several fashion months, in particular, which in many ways felt more bloated, overcrowded, over-sponsored and chaotic than ever, the complete and total lack of backstage access this season seemed to offer a reset. It was a sort of blank slate, a chance to reassess the priorities of what the backstage experience can and should be. That’s not to suggest that this complete 180 was a positive shift: In many ways, it was a heartbreaking one. But it was also an opportunity.

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