This feature originally appeared in the December issue of InStyle. For more stories like this, subscribe to the magazine now.
No need to binge on YouTube tutorials to master the season's coolest looks. We were backstage and got all the tricks straight from the runway pros. From graphic aqua eyeliner to all-gold everything, these six statements will transform your outfit into instant click-bait.
1. Ribbon-Tied Ponies
Who: Guido Palau
Where: Oscar de la Renta
What you need to know: It may sound like a ready-for-school-picture-day move, but when you wrap a ribbon around a simple, shiny ponytail, it's far more sophisticated than sophomoric. "It elevates the hair and makes it quite special," says Redken global creative director Palau, who snipped strips of grosgrain (less saccharine than satin) at Dior and Oscar de la Renta. Give strands sheen with a blow-dry and a glossing of frizz-smoothing oil. If you tie a bow, yank out one of the loops to tone down the teacher's-pet vibe.
2. Orchid Lips
Who: Gucci Westman
What you need to know: If red lipstick is the LBD of the beauty world, this electric fuchsia is the leather jacket. "The color is feminine yet edgy," says Westman, who worked with four hues, from magenta to violet. (Remember, you're going for a bold contrast.) She layered a matte fluid formula under a cream lipstick for a vibrant, long-wearing finish and made lips the focus by pairing them with clean, ultra-highlighted skin. Get glowing with a moisturizing mask before applying concealer; a hydrating mist and dab of MAC Strobe Cream ($33; maccosmetics.com) complete the illuminated effect.
Shop the look: MAC Cosmetics Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Personal Statement and To Matte with Love ($20 each; maccosmetics.com) and Lipstick in Girl About Town and Flat Out Fabulous ($17 each; maccosmetics.com). SK-II Mid-Day Essence, $80; sephora.com.
3. Heavy-Metal Nails
Who: Jin Soon Choi
Where: Marc Jacobs
What you need to know: Committed to the party-girl inspiration for the season, Choi gave models the sort of mani you might do at home after a shot of Fireball. "I did three to four coats of glitter polish to get a chunky, raised effect," she says, adding that imperfection was the goal. "Sometimes it's good to be a little outrageous." To up the shine, Choi painted on three layers of glossy topcoat. The silver lacquer here (one of four shades she used) was a showstopper: It created a disco-ball glimmer on the runway. Whether you're heading to the club or Whole Foods, "a metallic sheen gives a rich flair to your entire look," she says.
Also spotted at Alice + Olivia, Kenzo
Shop the look: Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer in 148 Glinda, $18; sephora.com.
4. Cotton-Candy Shadow
Who: Peter Philips
What you need to know: No, allergy-chic isn't suddenly a thing—these pink eyes are actually ... pretty. "I used a really soft tone," says Philips, Dior's creative and image director of makeup. To achieve a "beautiful, brightening aura" around eyes, he applied a sheer, light berry shadow along models' creases and lids before blending a pale pastel blush on top. For women with dark skin tones, he mixed a dash of taupe into the shadow. "If the eyes were isolated pink, they could appear infectious," he says. "So I brought the color into the whole complexion, lips to cheeks." The finished look is so gorgeous, we predict an outbreak.
5. Aquatic Eyes
Who: Val Garland
Where: Monique Lhuillier
What you need to know: Like a few drops of Visine, a stroke of blue instantly revitalizes dull, tired eyes. Garland gave Monique Lhuillier's models a bolt of thick, squared-off cerulean liner, which she deems flattering on every skin tone. To keep the color from sliding south, she used a gel formula from MAC that "takes about 15 seconds to set, then it ain't moving. You could even swim in it!" That's a claim we'll happily test.
Shop the look: MAC Cosmetics Chromaline in Hi-Def Cyan, $20; maccosmetics.com.
6. Midas Touches
Who: Odile Gilbert
What you need to know: Backstage areas were veritable gold mines this season: The precious metal popped up on lids, lips, and hair accessories, such as the antique-looking flower pins at Rodarte. "Pieces like this give such a rich sophistication to the hair," says Gilbert, who roughed up models' strands with texturizing dry shampoo before placing barrettes randomly throughout. "Some girls wore them like a crown, others near the parts," she says, noting that putting pins in unexpected places makes them feel new and cool.
Shop the look: Rodarte Antique Honey Brass Rose Hair Clip, $414; at Curve N.Y.C. and Curve L.A. Kérastase Powder Bluff, $37; kerastase-usa.com.