Don’t call it heroin chic. The return of the ’90s beauty trend

As fashion continues excavating the'90s it was only a matter of time before stylists and make-up artists unearthed the most controversial trend of the decade. Heroin chic captivated the media,when a wave of flat-chested waifs with limp locks and wide dark eyes took over from relatively athletic supermodels such as Naomi Campbell,Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford.

The gritty glamour of Kate Moss,Jodie Kidd and Australian model Emma Balfour,celebrated in the photographs of Nan Goldin and Corrine Day,in 1997 prompted US President Bill Clinton to say:“Fashion photos in the last few years have made heroin addiction seem glamorous and sexy and cool.”

The ’90s take hold at Australian Fashion Week,inspiring beauty looks at Michael Lo Sordo,Auteur and Bec&Bridge.

The ’90s take hold at Australian Fashion Week,inspiring beauty looks at Michael Lo Sordo,Auteur and Bec& Bridge.Supplied,Lucas Dawson

That divisive brand of sexy glamour returned to the runway at Australian Fashion Week this month in shows from Bec&Bridge,Michael Lo Sordo and Auteur,with a healthy injection of vitamin B12 and moisturiser.

“Now the emphasis is on chic rather than the heroin,” says Redken hair director Diane Gorgievski,who worked on the Bec&Bridge show. “For the show we were heavily influenced by the television seriesEuphoriawhich takes plenty of references from the'90s.”

Bec&Bridge co-founders Becky Cooper and Bridget Yorston recaptured their party days on the runway to celebrate the 21st anniversary of their label,sending out low-waisted trousers,grunge plaids and halter tops. Gorgievski matched the early hours club kid mood with hairstyles that suggested marathon dance floor sessions.

“It’s that sheeny,straight but with body from a'90s blow-dry that gives texture away from the face. Along with the wet look you get sweaty,lived-in vibes.”

Bec&Bridge Backstage at Australian Fashion Week. Hair by Diane Gorgievski from Redken and make-up from Lara Srokowski at Lancôme.

Bec& Bridge Backstage at Australian Fashion Week. Hair by Diane Gorgievski from Redken and make-up from Lara Srokowski at Lancôme.Lucas Dawson

With khaki,bronze and cobalt blue brushes in hand Lara Srokowski,Lancôme’s beauty director in Australia,reinforced theEuphoria-filtered'90s looks.

“We decided to make the looks even grungier by applying gloss on the eye before the models took to the runway,” Srokowski says. “It needed to have that look,as though it could have been slept in from the night before.”

“Where it differs from the'90s is that the skin is a lot healthier. We focused on it being deeply moisturised and sent some models out without using foundation,just pinpointing where concealer was required.”

At Michael Lo Sordo’s show held in a penthouse apartment at Crown in Sydney,hair stylist Madison Voloshin from Davroe was also paying attention to the ’90s and ’00s.

Hair director Madison Voloshin aimed for structure at the Michael Lo Sordo show with make-up artist Victoria Baron drawing directly from Kate Moss’s unique ’90s glamour.

Hair director Madison Voloshin aimed for structure at the Michael Lo Sordo show with make-up artist Victoria Baron drawing directly from Kate Moss’s unique ’90s glamour.Oscar Colman/SMH

“But don’t call it heroin chic,it’s just chic,” Voloshin says. “There was a lot of slick back hair on the runway at fashion week,but we updated it with a middle part,tendrils at the side and pieces tucked behind the ears. We gave it structure to match the structure of Michael’s clothes.”

It’s a style that Valloshin says can be worn to events off the runway and even taken to the gym in a low ponytail.

“We painted the hair with the Davroe gel to the roots,” he says. “It’s water-soluble,so we were able to wash it out in the penthouse showers. Some models kept it in and appeared in the next show with the same style.”

For the stand-out eyes at the Michael Lo Sordo show make-up artist Victoria Baron drew directly from the cool girl appeal of Kate Moss in the'90s to create an effortless effect using a Model Co grey eye pencil.

The OGs. Kate Moss at the VHA Awards,Jodie Kidd wearing John Rochas at London Fashion Week,and Emma Balfour at Australian Fashion Week in Zimmermann - all in 1997.

The OGs. Kate Moss at the VHA Awards,Jodie Kidd wearing John Rochas at London Fashion Week,and Emma Balfour at Australian Fashion Week in Zimmermann - all in 1997.Getty,Supplied

“Michael’s clothes had the sexiness of a'90s slip dress and I wanted to capture that with eyes that had an elevated grunge element,” Baron says. “It’s very lived-in and easy to apply. There’s not twenty steps or a giant palette.”

Along with Model Co Magic Balm applied at high points around the eye,Baron used grey pencil close to the lash line before blending it out with a brush and fingers.

“It’s not a one size fits all approach to the eyes. Cool girls did things their own way in the'90s.”

The'90s blow dry by Diane Gorgievski,Redken

  1. Prep with One United leave-in conditioner then apply Big Blowout cream.
  2. Smooth down the hair with a blow-dryer and create volume at the roots,leaving it clean on the ends without being completely straight.
  3. Go in with Oil For All and apply through the roots to create sheen and help create that sweaty feeling.
  4. Apply Shine Flash on the ends to create weightless shine and that ’90s sheen with a piece-y look.

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Damien Woolnough is the acting National Fashion Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

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