Officially, the good folks at Elle originally described the following beauty trends as having “Ruled the Spring 2014 Runways.” And they’re undoubtedly right about that – at least in the sense that many of the trends described from Paris, Milan, London and New York ready-to-wear shows are the kind that stand out and occasionally overpower.

What does it say about the nature of fashion when the strongest motifs are those that come from the provinces of makeup, hair and nails? Probably something like when those same attributes outshine the dialogue in a TV show or film.

When the accent outweighs the melody, it’s certain that sexiness isn’t far behind. With a whip and a few cleverly designed chains. Do such tricks dominate? Or do they seduce?

You decide:

  1. 1.

    Going Low

    We wish this meant a downward direction to the forked highway of truth. Elle’s observations, alas, confine to the hairline. As in the length and placement of various ponytails. A concept, as illustrated by Jason Wu, not out of sync with the wished-for journey to said fork, may we add.

  2. 2.

    Crowning Glory

    Do it up carelessly and you’ve got a nest on your head. Tighten prematurely and, well, nothing ever good happens from tightening prematurely. Whatever your choice, place those hair braids low enough to suggest a crown. But not so high and tight as to scream “Wilma with a Bone”.

  3. 3.

    Ophelia Complex

    Hamlet’s former girlfriend, pushed over her mental edge when he dumped her (in prose, no less), capped off her nutzoid tailspin by twining flowers in her hair. And then drowning. Unless your date knows Shakespeare through and through/He’ll like your using flowers in your do. That last bit, we humbly point out, is written in rhyming iambic pentameter. Top that, Elle-sters!

  4. 4.

    Parting Is Such Sweet…

    Something, depending on the placement. No Widow’s Peaks here. Bangs are instead draped across the forehead, dangling just above the eyebrows. It’s officially called a “wet-look windblown effect”. Which, taken to extremes, would have your grandmother blaring, “Get your hair out of your eyes before you get run over by a car!” It’s also a look that could make its way into Hunger Games Nine. “Spare us, O auburn one, spare us.”

  5. 5.

    Catch a Wave

    Make that a ripple or twenty. Too rough and you’re into cheerleader territory. Just enough churn and you’ve got that just-showered, un-styled flavor that suggests a fair amount of extracurricular activity took place between shower and hair dryer. A great result all the way around.

  6. 6.

    Barely Natural

    The no-makeup look is the way at least one cosmetic artist says that women will venture in the future. Because beauty products will have finally gotten more expensive than a heart transplant aboard the space shuttle? Nah. It’s because technology will take care of any skin imperfections with a wink in your Google Glass.

  7. 7.

    Lion Eyes

    This involves very dark, seemingly charcoal black eyeliner. Encircling the entire eye. Both of them. You are now a lion. Or an owl. Neither of whom men fantasize about much. Might be good for a steak dinner, though. Or a mouse for your talons.

  8. 8.

    And Switch

    Repeat or vary the encircling-eye approach, this time with white liner. You are now no animal known to the natural world. You are, in fact, Date Avoidance Material. Still to be praised for the daring creative attempt.

  9. 9.

    Go Bolder

    Still fixated on the eyes, only this time in living color. With all due apologies to the talented Wayans family. Note to the intrepid soul sporting the half inch-thick fake black eyebrows, complemented by a near-temple spread of green eyeshadow: The beauty of your plainness is the only reason why such bold strokes are likely to have been assigned to your countenance.

  10. 10.

    Electric Lights

    Or lips, as the case happens to be here. Not your affair-confessing ruby reds. Dayglow orange, copied direct from a flagman’s reflective vest. It’s a cliché, but true here: Some women can get away with the look, and some would be luckier declining to try.

  11. 11.

    These Lips Were Made

    For some serious action. As enticingly depicted, deeply pigmented reds eschew the post-Clinton Era intern shine. The look could make for a close encounter of the pastiest kind. Small price to pay for what might follow.

  12. 12.

    French Nails Go Noir

    Instead of sporting nails done up in a pale color and tipped in white, models at this year’s shows went for a look that made creative use of black. Which, done sparingly, could give the unintended impression that you hit your thumb with a hammer. Or you really like working on cars and forgot to opt for the Lava Soap cleanup.

  13. 13.

    Silver Eek

    The others were navy blue and white. Nails again. Artfully attempted in some cases. Pardon our conundrum here: If three out of four fingers (‘cause who counts the thumb?) have thin silver lines in the middle of the nails, two surfaces sporting vertical and one horizontal, then what’s the deal with the plain white pinkie nail? Elle suggests that the look is “nothing short of cutting edge”? Either that, or one of those trick diagram progressions that separated the brainiacs from the high achievers on the SATs.

The edge, in all of the above, is in the seducing. Or the dominating. Or the….yes, please, you decide.

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