Fashion week has decamped from NYC to London, but we’re still reeling from a whirlwind week spent in the big apple. In seven days, we saw eight shows, ate six bagels, drank 19265 Starbucks, slept four hours, caught 15 Ubers, and spent 40+ hours on set shooting. NFYW chews you up and spits you out, but it’s always, always worth it. To document our exclusive NYFW experience, GRAZIA headed backstage with a Polaroid camera to capture the storm before the calm – moments of chaos before each show started. More often than not, backstage is a warehouse clouded with hairspray, yelling, and plumes of e-cigarette smoke. But it’s also a place of legends, with artists like Pat McGrath (for Marc Jacobs) Tom Pecheux (for MAC Cosmetics at Oscar de la Renta and Brandon Maxwell) Guido Palau (for Redken at Marc Jacobs) and Kabuki (for MAC Cosmetics at Jeremy Scott) creating legendary work that we were lucky enough to witness firsthand.

For all the magic, madness, and mayhem that happened, see our photo diary and show notes below.

Backstage Marc Jacobs SS20 with Redken at New York Fashion Week. Image credits: Emily Algar

Makeup directors are doing the most, and it’s INCREDIBLE

From sunset eyes at Oscar de la Renta, graphic shapes at Jeremy Scott, smoke-show eyes at Tom Ford, swirly contour at Dion Lee and hand-crafted crystal eyeliner at Marc Jacobs, this year’s shows were a display of bright bold makeup looks and an ode to having fun with different products. MAC’s heavily pigmented Paint Sticks were a firm favourite, along with loose glitter, crystals, glosses and lashes.

Backstage Oscar de la Renta SS20 with MAC Cosmetics at New York Fashion Week. Image credits: Emily Algar

French skincare suits everyone

Look at literally any makeup artist’s kit and you’re sure to find at least one of the following: Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentre, Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water, or Avene Thermal Water Mist. The reason being is that because French skincare is so gentle, it won’t irritate a model who has had her makeup done and removed three times that day. Take a makeup artists word for it: If you’re stuck on what skincare product or brands to spend your money on, you really can’t go with with le François.

Backstage Tom Ford SS20 at New York Fashion Week. Image credits: Emily Algar

Backstage snacks are varied

Whether it’s eaten or not, backstage catering is no joke. A running list of everything we saw this fashion week: Joe’s takeaway pizza (we see you, Bella Hadid), Shake Shack burgers (thank you, Brandon Maxwell), fruit platters, Cha Cha Matcha cookies, Flaming Hot Cheetoes, Sakara Life chia pudding (or was it bircher muesli?), sandwiches, salads, and a lot of coffee. Oh, and Juuling – everyone Juuls.

Backstage Zimmerman SS20 with Bella and GHD at New York Fashion Week. Image credits: Emily Algar

The big-time models have their own call time

While not impossible, it can de difficult to catch Bella, Gigi, Kaia, Irina and crew backstage because they’re often escorted in later than others. It’s partly special treatment due to a high level of *fame*, but also to accomodate for their relentless fashion week schedules – often shows are back to back. Bells and Gigi even spent the second last night at a fitting until 3 a.m. It’s not all Champagne and parties, people…

Backstage Jeremy Scott SS20 with MAC Cosmetics at New York Fashion Week. Image credits: Emily Algar

Great Skin Is achieved with minimal product

Surprisingly, all-over foundation is typically a no-go for fashion shows. Instead, artists go for a high-coverage, matte stick formula like MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix Soft Matte Stick Foundation, or Tom Ford Traceless Stick Foundation. For natural-looking coverage, use a tiny brush to spot conceal around the nose, mouth, eyes, and on any blemishes. If discolouration is an issue, colour-correct first with a palette like Mac Cosmetics Studio Conceal and Correct Palette.

Backstage Brandon Maxwell SS20 with MAC Cosmetics at New York Fashion Week. Image credits: Emily Algar