Lupita Nyong’o’s entire career was built on her ability to consistently top herself — that goes for her Academy Award-winning acting projects, her luxury brand partnerships, her creative range, and, of course, her fashion and beauty choices. The star is always taking things to new heights, but no one anticipated her latest look would take that concept to a gloriously literal extreme. Lupita Nyong’o’s top knot for a Haute Couture Week show is larger than life, made from vertically-arranged, sectioned-out sections of hair that give an entirely new meaning to high fashion. The very sculptural updo is glamorous, dramatic, and undeniably artistic all at once, not unlike the always-radiant actor herself. It’s often said that the higher your hair, the closer to heaven — which makes Nyong’o and towering top knot downright angelic.
The celebrated actor’s look is filled with small but brilliant details, too, the best of which is found behind her sky-high hairstyle. The underside of Nyong’o’s top knot shows off her upswept braids and a glittering hairpiece that looks like two white flowers next to an orange wedge — undoubtedly a reference to the famous blood oranges that grow in Sicily, where the fashion show takes place. Created by celebrity hairstylist Vernon François (he regularly works with stars like Willow, Michaela Jae Rodriguez, and Jessica Williams), it’s a glorious testament to both François’s creativity and the versatility of natural hair.
Though Nyong’o’s head-turning hairstyle might be the first thing about her look that grabs attention, her delicate shade of orchid-purple lipstick, retro cat-flick eyeliner, and gleaming skin keeps the focus on her. Even Nyongo’s nail polish, a sumptuously summery poppy-red, pulls the eye with plenty of brightness and shine. Her makeup look was created by celebrity artist Nick Barose (he counts new-and-forever it-girls like Isabella Rossellini, Maya Hawke, Winona Ryder, and Zoë Kravitz as clients), who kept the colors and finishes in perfect harmony with her hair and gown. In fact, Barose shared on Instagram that captivating purple lipstick was a custom blend of Lancôme L’Absolu Rogue matte lipstick in 509 Réve Toujours and some as-yet-undisclosed others. For a star of Nyong’o’s caliber, couture cosmetics are just as common as gowns.
Fans will notice that this isn’t even close to the first time Nyong’o’s worn an impressively tall hairstyle. Earlier this year, her braid-wrapped beehive at the Oscars landed her on several best-of lists, and virtually all of her Met Gala looks incorporate tons of hair height and volume. Her 2016 Met Gala hairstyle is relatively similar to her Couture Week look above, which Nyong’o explained was inspired by sculptural hair found throughout the African continent, as well as a few legendary Nina Simone styles. Nyong’o’s acting abilities might have made her a star, but her always-excellent references and willingness to get experimental made her a beauty icon — her latest look is all the proof you need.