On the Runway: Inclusivity is the New Black

Styled by Sebastian Professional, many of the models at Christian Siriano reflected individual beauty and a better representation of actual American women.

One size fits all is so passé. “We’ve entered a new phase of beauty, a really inclusive one,” confirms Guido, Global Creative Director for Redken and a mainstay backstage each season at the chicest trendsetting shows. Fall 2017’s catwalks made great strides toward diversity and inclusivity, with presentations featuring models of different sizes, ages, races and gender identities. With plus-size models and transgender models, to models over the age of 70, this inclusivity is far more representative of the salon-going population, where stylists see a wide variety of hair types, textures and styles on a daily basis. There’s still a long way to go to truly reflect the diverse makeup of our world—after all, this was only the first season in which at least one model of color walked in every New York show—but it’s a promising start. Guido believes the fashion industry is waking up to that fact. “It’s about telling the story of each and every person who exists in this world,” he says. “You can really be who you are and you can embrace who you are.”

Christian Siriano

1. Realistic Women

Styled by Sebastian Professional, many of the models at Christian Siriano reflected individual beauty and a better representation of actual American women. 

Prabal Gurung

2. Embracing Feminism

Feminism comes in all shapes, sizes and colors—a theme common to many of this season’s shows. Nowhere was it so literally spelled out than on the runway at Prabal Gurung, which was styled by Wella ProfessionalsAnthony Turner. The Nepalese-American designer ended his show with a parade of models wearing T-shirts emblazoned with empowering messages of inclusivity and women’s rights.

Cushnie et Ochs

3. Natural Texture

The Moroccanoil team, led by Antonio Corral Calero, showcased models’ natural hair texture at Cushnie et Ochs. From long waves to short coils, styles were tailored to the individual’s own tress type. “There’s been a lot less emphasis on creating one look for a show,” shares Guido, who estimates nearly 80 percent of designers opt for the more personalized approach to runway beauty.

Simone Rocha

4. Ageless Beauty

Models Jan de Villeneuve (pictured left) and Benedetta Barzini, 72 and 73 respectively, prove that age is nothing but a number. Both walked for Simone Rocha, a show that featured several mature models in addition to the younger set, all coiffed by Oribe’s James Pecis. Designer Rocha expressed a desire to reflect her average customer in the casting, and she wasn’t the only one. Several catwalks, including Tome, styled by Aveda’s Antoinette Beenders, and Creatures of the Wind, dressed by Bumble and bumble’s Holli Smith, included models over the age of 50.

Alexander Wang

5. Short Hair

Traditionally, for models at Fashion Week, the longer and straighter the hair, the better. At Alexander Wang, Guido drastically chopped models Cat McNeil (pictured) and Irina Kravchenko. “Before, a radical cut might have canceled you out of most jobs, but now designers are looking for more diverse looks,” says the stylist. More and more, women on the catwalks—and sidewalks—are embracing the shears and going shorter.

Marc Jacobs

6. Gender Fluidity

At Marc Jacobs—one of the most inclusive runways at NYFW this season—all but two of the models wore tall, rounded hats, lending an air of gender fluidity to the presentation. Hair lead Guido coiffed model Dara, one of three trans models in the show, with a sideswept half-updo that had height and volume to seamlessly blend in with the hats.

Photography: Getty Images