Fe Noel’s Spring 2023 collection showcase at NYFW was a celebration of femininity, empowerment, and creativity. Led by all-Black team, the collection “drew inspiration from the ebbs and flows of life and its ups and downs,” said Felisha Noel, the 2022 CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund recipient and designer behind the label. Throughout the three-act spectacle, viewers were treated to looks that represented “Love” (Softness), Darkness (Sadness), and “Rebirth (Joy).” In terms of clothing, these translated to pieces with softened and muted peach tones for the first act, then moving to darker, richer hues for the second, and shifting to opulent and metallic hues of green and purple for the finale.
“Our makeup looks today are all about raw emotion”, said Mali Thomas, the makeup artist on set for the showcase. The resident Bobbi Brown makeup artist used all products from the brand — such as the Extra Repair Moisture Cream for luminosity and the Skin Moisture Solution No. 86, which she used to create tears — to achieve her dreamy looks for the show. “For sadness, we’re going for a grunge smokey eye, love is giving fresh and dewy. Because we all know how we glow when we’re in that honeymoon stage. And lastly, joy is about luminous skin,” Thomas added.
When it came to the show’s hairstyling, textured water waves were the trend that esteemed celebrity hairstylist Lacy Redway focused on. “There was a repeated water element in the creative for the show, and the show itself takes us through a visual [and sonic] journey,” said Redway. “I wanted to translate the rain element into the hair. Since we can’t have the hair wet going down the runway and I wanted to mimic that drenched hair look.” Redway used TRESemmé products to craft each look, the Mega-control Gel to mold the hair flat and Keratin Smooth Serum to give bounce to the hair, and Freeze Hold hairspray to keep everything in place.
Though all parts of the show were a powerful showcase of one’s journey through the many stages of life, the finale was a complete showstopper. It was greatly thanks to the appearance of the “Dre$$,” a 16-foot gown made of faux money that represented the potential $1.6 million that women are missing out on in retirement. The gown was a collaboration with financial services firm TIAA, which has a mission of ending the retirement income gap. (On average the retirement gap between women and men is 30%.)
“I don’t do fashion week unless I have a specific message and it just so happened that what I was trying to say [aligned with] with TIAA’s message and we came together, [to make our message] even more powerful,” said the Grenadian designer, who can understand the nuances of wealth gaps due to her finance degree.