(Source, left: Maurizio; middle: Walter Van Beirendonck; right: Dries Van Noten)

At the Fall 2022 men’s fashion week shows, as in the previous season, some designers opted for masks over makeup, continuing to explore ideas of anonymity. There was also a noticeable emphasis on dark, tired eyes and grey hair — things many of us are familiar with after two years of pandemic-related stress. Still, it was refreshing to see those two looks, which many consider antithetical to beauty, actually embraced.

Beauty as disguise

(Source: a-cold-wall.com)

At a number of shows, models’ faces were clad in anonymizing masks that fully cloaked their identities. It might seem like cheating to consider this a grooming hack, but in the truest sense of the term, it really is one: it transforms one’s appearance and offers a clean slate, so to speak.

These aren’t the masks that we’ve gotten used to, though they might be a byproduct of the frustration of wearing them daily or perhaps a celebration of the obscurity they can offer. A-Cold-Wall’s Samuel Ross said as much about his head shrouds, which covered models’ faces.

At Doublet, Masayuki Ino presented a collection that aimed to serve all, regardless of size, gender or ability. In an apparent effort to keep up that neutrality, all of the models were clad in identical face masks and neon pink bobs.

At Walter Van Beirendonck, some masks were designed to look as if they had cutouts exposing the eyes or mouth, only for one to realize that those details were, in fact, printed onto the masks.

This is, of course, not an entirely new trend. In recent months, both Ye and Demna have taken to wearing masks that entirely obscure or alter their faces.

Shaggy, understyled hair

Just go with the flow. That was, apparently, one of the messages from the world’s leading hair stylists, who sent a barrage of models with shaggy bed-head down the runway. 

Neil Barrett’s models in Milan were the shaggiest of them all, with their array of mid-length, unkempt, wavy-on-its-way-to-curly styles. Also in Milan, the models at Fendi sported hair that had that same wavy but not quite curly quality, albeit in shorter cuts that seemed a bit more manicured. Still, there was definitely an emphasis on effortlessness — or least the perception thereof. 

Wooyoungmi was one of the last shows on the Paris schedule, and the shaggy, elegantly tousled bobs and chic faux-mullets served as a reminder that slightly longer locks are definitely in the cards for Fall 2022. 

A touch of pink on top

(Source: hermes.com)

(Source: moschino.com)

If grey was the colour of the season when it came to clothes, pink seems to be the colour for hair — which is fitting: grey and pink are an incredible colour combination.

At Magliano, in Milan, one model sported braids accented with strands of pink fabric that matched the garment being shown, and at first glance, looked like pink highlights. Marcelo Burlon County of Milan’s lookbook featured a model with pinkish-purple hair, which was highlighted in one of the handful of photo-in-photo details. In the Moschino lookbook, one model was coiffed with slicked, wavy hair dyed mainly pink, with hints of purple and grey, which fit for a collection with a retro vision of the future that drew on Blade Runner, A Clockwork Orange and Sgt. Pepper’s. 

The Doublet show in Paris featured models clad in the aforementioned masks crowned with neon pink bobs. Yet perhaps even more striking was the use of pink hair at Hermès. The luxury maison sent model Sebastian Kent down the runway in an all-black ensemble with his hair turned pink. That the rest of the Hermès cast sported more sombre hairdos — and that Kent had walked the Y/Project show three days earlier and fronted the OAMC lookbook with his bleached-blond locks — made it leave a mark all the more.

Smoky, tired eyes

The menswear shows have, in recent seasons, been notable for the relative dearth of makeup. This season, however, there was an uptick in eyeshadow. Paired with the shaggy hair, perhaps designers, hair stylists and makeup artists were attempting to portray a picture of how everybody is feeling at the moment: tired.

Many of Dries Van Noten’s models’ eyes looked to be exaggeratedly sunken, though there were a few looks that featured a more upbeat, vibrant and colourful touch, with, notably, a metallic green smoky eye on one model.

At Undercover, the models either sported sunglasses or heavily black-lined eyes — a smoky eye so overdone that it had a definite performative flourish about it. 

The makeup artists at Yohji Yamamoto achieved the same effect through different means, contrasting eyeshadow with lighter makeup on the face, for a result that, though striking, gave the impression of gaunt, exhausted faces.

Going grey

(Source: casablancaparis.com)

In Milan, grey-haired models opened and closed the Prada show — with the honours going to celebs Kyle MacLachlan and Jeff Goldblum respectively — and were also interspersed throughout. Presenting digitally, but also part of the Milan schedule, one A-Cold-Wall model received a metallic silver hair makeover.

In Paris, the models at Yohji Yamamoto had tufts of hair tinged whitish grey — a streak here, a half head of hair there. Casablanca showed a retro-futurist collection that included grey-bearded British model Richard Biedul, who gave the young, hip brand a more mature touch. Who said going grey was going out of style? 

Marc Richardson is a Montreal-based writer and photographer. His work focuses on fashion, culture and the intersection between the two. He’s spent the better part of the last decade observing and cataloguing menswear from New York and London to Florence and Paris. You can follow him on Twitter @quicklongread and Instagram @shooting.people.

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