The 6 Beauty Rules That Dominated at London Fashion Week

When it comes to beauty notes, it’s safe to say that London is anything but stuffy. A sense of dynamic vibrance permeated the city’s Fashion Week, with whimsical details infusing a playful sense of fun into the runway’s best hair and makeup. From the subversive edgings of sparkle at Markus Lupfer, to backstage pro James Pecis’s breathtaking plaits, to an updated take on one royally chic updo that’s destined to make devotees of The Crown swoon, these stylized lessons offered a whimsical escape from reality—and, at their best, a powerful gateway to self-expression.

Sophia Webster
Sophia Webster
Photo: Courtesy of Laurent Philippon / @laurentphilippon

Rule #1: Try a Little Something That Sparkles

Shimmer took on many forms, transforming light-catching special effects into something aspirational and wearable. At Markus Lupfer, cool girls everywhere were gifted with the contemporary answer to the diamond tennis bracelet in the form of a row of flashing hair crystals that struck a straight line along center parts. A lid-level coating of chrome eye color made for a metallic moment at Delpozo; glitter-painted updos at Sophia Webster practically begged for the Kirakira treatment; and at Preen, glinting fairy dust was brushed across complexions and along hairlines to haphazard yet pleasing effect.

Rule #2: An Idiosyncratic Cut Is the Foolproof Way to March to Your Beat

Gertrude Stein served up a dose of above-the-neck inspiration at Shrimps, where each model stepped out in a forehead-skimming, pixie-length wig that riffed on the iconic writer’s signature hairstyle. The black, gray, and golden chops offered a grounding counterpoint to the collection’s delightfully off-kilter eccentricity. The takeaway: There’s no better way to stand out in a crowd that with a radical, personalized haircut.

Rule #3: Braids Have Never Looked Better

Power plaits are here to stay, and London’s best runway iterations came in variations as individualistic as the women who wore them. New romantic French braids finished with satin ribbons and beaded bow appliqués ruled the runway at Simone Rocha, followed by a heart-stopping woven chignon at Roksanda. And just as Zendaya’s cornrows turned heads at the Burberry front row, the precise delineations worn by some models at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi demanded a second look.

Photo: Courtesy of Sam McKnight / @sammcknight1

Rule #4: The Statement Ponytail Is Back

Forget insouciance: The new ponytail is cultivated and deliberately expressive. Sam McKnight dreamed up a voluminous ponytail for the Halpern runway, the low-slung style combed to slicked and glassy perfection at the crown before exploding in a dramatic cascade of brushed-up kinks.

Ryan Lo
Ryan Lo
Photo: Kumiko Tsumagari, Courtesy of Sam McKnight / @sammcknight1

Rule #5: When in Doubt, Channel a Young Princess Margaret

With a royal wedding on the horizon, a buzzed-about front row appearance by Queen Elizabeth at London Fashion Week, and all-around monarchy mania thanks to Netflix’s The Crown, regal sensibilities are primed for a full-scale renaissance. Further proof: McKnight’s revamped take on Princess Margaret’s iconic 1960s hairstyle at Ryan Lo made the case for unabashed prettiness and a timeless feline flick of black eyeliner.

Photo: Luca Tombolini /

Rule #6: When It Comes to Color-Coordinated Separates, Start With Your Hair and Your Sunglasses

At Ashish, a cheeky mix of rainbow prints, quirk, and consumerist commentary conspired in the show’s opening beauty look: a Kool-Aid-bright, brushed-up pixie, matched perfectly to a set of red-lensed aviators, that closed out the week on a high note.

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