Year in review: top 10 beauty and grooming features of 2023, selected by Wallpaper’s Hannah Tindle

Our top 10 beauty and grooming features of 2023 span from Prada’s make-up debut to Japanese hair styling and the secrets of Björk’s nail artist

Prada Beauty campaign – the brand's beauty debut makes Hannah Tindle’s top 10 beauty and grooming features of 2023
(Image credit: Courtesy of Prada)

Take a look back at Wallpaper’s top 10 beauty and grooming features of 2023, as selected by beauty & grooming editor Hannah Tindle – from interviews with Hermès nose Christine Nagel and Björk’s nail artist Sojin Oh, to insider looks into Santa Maria Novella and Prada’s make-up debut.

Top 10 beauty and grooming features of 2023

01. Prada introduces ‘ugly beautiful’ debut beauty line

Prada beauty

(Image credit: Prada)

Scottish make-up artist Lynsey Alexander is one of the fashion industry’s most esteemed creative talents. She had previously collaborated with Prada’s co-creative director Raf Simons, and was a natural appointment as global creative make-up partner to oversee the launch of the brand’s debut beauty and skincare offering in 2023.

Wallpaper* took one of the first insider looks at the collection, speaking with Alexander about the inspiration behind it, the products offered, and the unique smart technology used to develop them. ‘There’s a juxtaposition of ugly and beautiful, coming together to create something quite extraordinary,’ Alexander explained. A fitting message for Prada, of course.


02. Santa Maria Novella: a medieval brand enters the modern age

Santa Maria Novella interiors

(Image credit: Santa Maria Novella)

Florentine beauty brand Santa Maria Novella was founded by Dominican friars in 1221, producing medicinal concoctions with herbs and plants cultivated in their gardens, making it the oldest beauty house in the world. With the hire of CEO Gian Luca Perris in 2020, it ushered in a modern era, launching four eau de parfums: L’Iris, Bizzarria, Gelsomino, and Magnolia.

Three years after his appointment, Wallpaper’s Mary Cleary travelled out to Italy to speak with him about his future vision. ‘It is important to create innovations, while still keeping in mind the roots that allowed this company to last until now,’ he said. ‘The monks were great innovators – they were researching new ingredients, making new formulas, working with the Medici family to invest in chemistry and in pharmaceuticals; so we need to keep that in mind, but we also need to go back from time to time and reboot things from the archive.’ We look forward to seeing how this promise holds up in 2024.


03. Björk’s nail artist Sojin Oh on creating some of the most surreal talons in the business

Sojin Oh nail design

(Image credit: Sojin Oh)

‘I think we share a fearlessness toward being expressive and emotional women artists. I really respect how vulnerable she is in her music, because it captures the power that emotionality and feeling have relative to logic,’ nail artist Sojin Oh told Wallpaper* in February 2023. She was, of course, referring to her work with Björk, and the surreally sculptural talons she creates for the musician.

In combining found materials such as enamel, fish bones, baby shark teeth, caracol shell, oyster shell, and sea glass with builder gel, she crafts nails that sit between the beautiful and the grotesque, recalling organic forms held in terrariums. With recent red-carpet collaborations with actor Hari Nef, and magazine editorials with Grimes, her career keeps on growing.


04. Hermès perfume Un Jardin à Cythère is a cinematic exploration of a Greek garden

Portrait of Hermes perfumer Christine Nagel

Perfumer Christine Nagel 

(Image credit: Denis Boulze)

Hermès launched a new fragrance in October 2023. To mark the occasion, Wallpaper’s Mary Cleary spoke with the maison’s nose Christine Nagel about the perfume, called Terre d’Hermès Eau Givrée, which is inspired by a Greek garden, containing notes of juniper, cedrat (a citrus fruit reminiscent of lemon and bergamot) and Timur pepper.

Nagel also revealed how she started her career in the fragrance industry after coming from an atypical background as a chemist, and the barriers she overcame. (Perfumery is a typically male-dominated field, with generations of knowledge passed down through families). ‘The first reason [that barriers were there],’ Nagel explains, ‘is because I’m a woman and perfumery is traditionally a masculine job. On top of that, I am not from the south of France, I am not the daughter of a perfumer and, coming from chemistry, I don’t have the typical background.’ Nagel proves that innate talent and a willingness to learn is a potent combination.


05. Japanese hair art: Yumeko Yume’s retro Osaka salon

Osaka Hair Salon Yumeya

(Image credit: Prissilya Junewin)

Wallpaper* ran a series on the tradition and innovation behind Japanese hair art, including an examination of geiko wig-making, and a look inside hairstylist Yumeko Yume’s niche salon, called Yumeya, in Shinsaibashi. Specialising in hairstyles that reference the 1960s and 1970s, and with interiors designed to match, the salon was captured in all its retro glory by photographer Prissilya Junewin.

‘I was interested in the music and manga of the [1960s and 1970s], but most of all, I loved the fashion scene,’ Yume told writer Makoto Kikuchi. ‘I didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so I used to buy all kinds of retro-looking second-hand clothes, like patterned shirts and bell-bottoms.’ If you find yourself in Kyoto over the upcoming year, head to the salon and experience Yumeya for yourself.


06. How Tom Ford changed the beauty industry

Max Motta and Mariana Braga, shot by Tom Ford for the 2011 ‘Neroli Portofino’ campaign

(Image credit: Tom Ford)

In July 2023, Tom Ford announced that he would be stepping down from the helm of his namesake brand, and that Peter Hawkins, a long-time friend of the label, would take over. This followed the sale of the business in 2022 (which included fashion, eyewear and beauty) to Estée Lauder for a casual $2.8 billion.

To mark Ford’s departure, Mary Cleary reflected on his impact on the beauty industry, in the August 2023 issue of Wallpaper*. ‘Eroticism has always been inherent to Tom Ford Beauty, as has a playfulness around notions of femininity and masculinity, whether it’s in a range of primarily unisex fragrances (a trend Ford could be credited with starting) or a range of lipsticks named after the men in his life,’ she wrote. ‘Ford has always had a preternatural ability to give people what they want even before they knew they wanted it, and it is this that makes him a true pioneer of 21st-century luxury in beauty and beyond.’


07. Kelly Lee Owens and Haeckels recreate the feeling of music through a fragrance

Musician Kelly Lee Owens

(Image credit: Courtesy of Haeckles)

Margate-based brand Haeckels and Welsh electronic musician Kelly Lee Owens explored the phenomenon of synesthesia in a new collaborative fragrance called Scent 08. ‘Owens has crafted a fragrance as atmospheric as her music, specifically designed to trigger, through scent, the same immersive and transportive experience of the best electronic compositions,’ wrote Mary Cleary, in a piece where she interviewed the artist about how the scent was made.

Owens translated eight distinct memories into the perfume, including the smell of fresh rain on tarmac (which Haeckels has previously explored in the fragrance Pluviophile), and the recreation of Cafe Poggi 1919 in Venice. ‘This fragrance is something close to my heart,’ Owens told Cleary. ‘What initially started out as creating a scent to accompany an album has gone way beyond that. The fragrance I created has eight notes that combine to uplift, energise, and then ultimately ground the wearer. This is therapy in a bottle.’ 


08. At-home exercises from ‘punk ballerina’ Karole Armitage

Pale grey background, side view of a girl with straight black hair falling forward, bending over to touch her bare feet, black leggings, red long sleeve leotard

(Image credit: Illustration by Lucie Birant)

Marking International Yoga Day 2023, we revisited a feature in collaboration with American choreographer Karole Armitage, who was described as a ‘punk ballerina’ after she shook up the downtown New York scene in the 1980s, combining classical dance with vogueing, and switching up ballet shoes for towering high heels. (She has also collaborated with the likes of Jeff Koons, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Marc Jacobs.)

For Wallpaper*, Armitage created a simple guide to stretching your body in the comfort of your own home, which was illustrated by Paris-based artist Lucie Birant. With tips and tricks for working the body from head to toe, this instruction manual is one to keep in your arsenal for that ‘new year, new you’ regime.


09. Meet Nan Goldin and Bella Hadid’s go-to hairstylist, Evanie Frausto

Personal project by Evanie Fausto

(Image credit: Evanie Fausto)

‘I go into every project with an open mind,’ Evanie Frausto told Wallpaper* in April 2023. ‘I try to find beauty in everything, which leaves me open to so many ideas about what is beautiful.’ The New York-based hairstylist is responsible for taking care Nan Goldin and Bella Hadid’s locks, alongside working with brands such as Fendi and Heaven by Marc Jacobs. His style nods to grunge and turn-of-the-millennium trends: think hair dye in every shade imaginable, and plenty of embellishment.

Frausto shared stories from his days assisting Jimmy Paul and Cesar Ramirez, and discussed the time when he lived in a house of drag queens, one of whom gave him his first-ever experience doing hair on a photoshoot. ‘I was taken in by a house of drag queens in Williamsburg,’ he said, ‘one of whom was a make-up artist and I wasn’t a make-up artist, but I begged him to take me on set.’ And the rest is history, with Frausto now lauded as one of the fashion industry’s most promising talents.


10. Byredo holiday collection nods to Wim Wenders and Georgia O’Keefe

The Byredo holiday collection by Lucia Pica

(Image credit: Courtesy of Byredo)

To end this list on a festive note, it’s worth mentioning the recent Wallpaper* feature on Byredo’s new holiday collection. Called Self Illusion, and dreamt up by the brand’s creative image director Lucia Pica, the range of four products draws unexpected references from Wim Wenders, Georgia O’Keefe, and more, with tones of gunmetal grey, washed denim blue, pearlescent silver, deep mustard and chestnut brown, and terracotta red.

‘Byredo is a luxury brand but it also has a cool, modern side to it, a vibrating energy,’ says Pica in the article. ‘So there has to be that something a little off or maybe a little unexpected, but at the same time there’s such a sophistication to the brand that that interesting aspect looks elevated.’ Which is exactly why we continue to be obsessed with everything that Byredo does.


Beauty & Grooming Editor at Wallpaper*

Hannah Tindle is Beauty & Grooming Editor at Wallpaper*. With ten years of experience working for media titles and brands across the luxury and culture sectors, she brings a breadth of knowledge to the magazine’s beauty vertical, which closely intersects with fashion, art, design, and technology.