The ’90s pushed boundaries, aesthetically and creatively: Hip-hop artists like Biggie, Tupac, Salt-N-Pepa and TLC topped the charts; the “Big Six” supermodels ruled the runways; and beauty trends like the “Rachel” haircut, scrunchies, butterfly clips, skinny brows and dark ruby lips were all the rage. At KYE US, the beauty takes a nod from this memorable decade. “We were inspired by ’90s hip-hop style,” explains SUDZZfx lead stylist T. Cooper. “The KYE US designers make funky Korean street wear so we wanted to do something really cool that’s a throwback to the ’90s.” To craft the old-school look, Cooper first works SUDZZfx Marmalade Jazz into the models’ roots and brushes it through before sectioning the hair. “It helps to tame the fly-aways so you can get nice, clean sections, a sharp part and clean braids,” she explains. Cooper next creates a straight braid down the center of the head and then parts the models’ locks into triangular-diagonal sections, crafting three more braids on each side of the center braid. From there she spritzes tresses with SUDZZfx AirPlay Designing Spray before curling and teasing the hair to ensure long-lasting memory. An added bit of SUDZZfx RowdyPaste helps create fuzzy texture. Cooper finishes the look with another spritz of AirPlay to hold the design in place. “I used to wear my hair like this in the ’90s,” she laughs, adding, “but we put butterfly clips on top!”
Morphe lead makeup artist Dana Arcidy also looks to the ’90s for inspiration, highlighting the lip in her design. To craft the bold look, Arcidy applies Morphe 4AM Creme Lip Polish to the outer parts of the lip, leaving the middle completely bare. She then fills in the blank space with yellow eye shadow from the Morphe 35B Color Glam Palette. “We diffused the colors in a circular shape and, [when finished], went over it with a glossy effect,” she explains. Arcidy keeps the rest of the design simple. “We didn’t want the focus to be on really made-up skin so we went with dewy, clean-looking skin,” she says. Arcidy uses the Morphe Color Warm Foundation Palette to highlight skin and cover any imperfections and lightly fills in brows with Morphe Brow8 Palette.
For the nail designs, lead nail artist Mei Kawajiri looks directly to the collection for her inspiration, citing the various color fishnet stockings the models are wearing as a point of reference. To craft the netted nail art, Kawajiri paints almond-shaped nails with either red, yellow, green, white or black polish so that every finger boasts a different hue. Once the nails completely dry, she uses a thin nail art brush dipped in black polish to crisscross the fishnet design. “It’s very difficult to do thin lines, [so work] fast and light,” she suggests. And because the ’90s celebrated kitschy excess, Kawajiri uses a nail drill to punch holes in the tips of the nails where she secures uber hip K-Y-E charms. “I had originally thought about making the design 3-D but I didn’t want to miss the fishnet,” she says. “Now when the models move you can see it. It’s more fun!”
A second houndstooth-like nail art design also figures into the look (again, that ’90s kitsch), Kawajiri paints square-shaped tips with two coats of white polish and then uses a thin nail art brush and black polish to draw a jagged design. “It’s almost like a lightning bolt and it’s very cartoonish,” she explains. As for why she chose which nail shape would go with which design, Kawajiri says, “The square shape is more boyish and masculine while the almond shape is more feminine and sexy—and, charms work better on longer tips!”