At this point, we’ve all seen or heard about the new unicorn trend floating around the internet, making it’s way into the fashion, beauty, hair, and even food industries. If you’ve never heard of this trend, essentially, you must be living under a rock. Unicorn themes are being seen all over Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube as well as ruling the red carpet and runways at fashion weeks. So where did this trend start, how did it grow into a phenomena, and how long will the unicorn trend be sustainable?
The first signs of the unicorn trend are seen as far back as 2012 with OG unicorners Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and Lisa Frank. Perry, a self-proclaimed unicorn, has always maintained a unicorn look with her ever-changing and multi-colored hair, but the singer can be seen upping her unicorn game since back in 2012. Around this time, Miley began wearing unicorn onesies, featuring them in her music videos and debuting a lot more colorful hairstyles as well. The ultimate unicorn look though, comes from none other than Gaga herself who transforms into one for an editorial shot by renowned photographer Steven Klein.
A collaboration between Lisa Frank and Urban Outfitters in 2012 gave a huge push on 90s nostalgia. Specifically, with colorful prints and animal themes, spawning a Lisa Frank nail art micro-trend during that time. For his Fall 2012 collection, Jeremy Scott even featured a look that was composed completely of Lisa Frank stickers. These are the beginnings of the unicorn trend that exploded into the phenomena it is today.
Unicorn love laid dormant for a few years before making it’s way to the masses and exploding into the trend we see today. This trend splashed into the faces of the public once again in spring and summer of 2016. We began to see unicorn inspired fashion on the red carpet and runway, unicorn liner, highlighter, brushes, glitter, the works! Valentino and Alexander McQueen debuted unicorn themed pieces on the runway in 2016, which were then seen styled on celebrities walking the red carpets and cruising around town. Nicole Kidman was photographed back in early 2016 on the red carpet of the American Country Music Awards wearing a colorful Alexander McQueen gown covered in unicorns and other animals. Later in the year, at the premiere of Suicide Squad, Margot Robbie was also seen in one of McQueen’s remarkable unicorn gowns. The unicorn embellishments and colors on the gowns added a whimsical and fantastical feel to the actresses’ looks. Jennifer Lopez and Emilia Clarke were also seen wearing unicorns on their ensembles in 2016, both rocking pieces from Valentino. From there, the fashion cycle commenced and the trend began to trickle down and across the fashion system amongst everyone--including both fashion leaders and followers.
The trend transcended into the beauty world with unicorn makeup, liners, highlighters, hair color, and many more products aimed at the unicorn lover in us all. Gigi Hadid debuted unicorn makeup during summer ‘16, blending iridescent blues, greens, pinks, and purples around her eyes with opalescent highlights on the cupids bow, cheek and brow bones. More recently, we’ve seen a unicorn hair trend featured many times on Chrissy Teigen and Shay Mitchell’s Instagrams. The look is a braided ponytail that resembles a unicorn horn when finished.
(To Get The Look: Place your hair in a high, tight ponytail. Spray your ponytail with Beauty For Real’s South Beach Spray to add texture and volume. Separate the ponytail into two pieces and twirl them together so they swirl and look like a horn! Now that you've transformed your pony into a horn, all that's left is makeup!)
Shay Mitchell then teamed up with makeup artist Ariel Tejada to create a unicorn inspired Coachella look on YouTube. The look consists of pink tones on the upper lid and blue tones on the lower lash line, all of which are shimmery and give a lustrous look to the eyes. Ariel finished off Shay’s look by adding small dots to her forehead which resemble a unicorn horn and she was ready for Coachella.
(Get The Look: Place Beauty For Real’s Shadow STX in All Day Latte all over the upper eyelids and blend with your fingers. Then take the Shadow STX in Ever Starstruck underneath the brow bone for a highlight. For the lower lashline and waterline, take the 24/7 I-LINE in In The Navy and smudge it under the lashes. To give the unicorn horn effect, take the I-LINE in 24 Karat and create dots which get slightly smaller as you go towards the hairline. Top it all off with a luminous highlight on the high points of the face using Blush + Glo in Coral Crush + High Beam. And that’s it! You’ve recreated Shay Mitchell’s flawless unicorn Coachella look.)
At this point, you can’t help but ask yourself, “Why unicorns?” Well, fashionistas of the 20th and 21st century aren’t the only mystic-magic-lovers around. Unicorns have been revered for their beauty and grace since ancient times. In most accounts, they represent purity and strength, while commanding respect from mankind. The funny thing about unicorns is they actually aren’t considered mythological because...well, they don’t actually appear in any myths. Unicorns are documented in natural history by ancient Greek explorers who recounted their trips to the mysterious, exotic, and far-off land of India. We can’t be sure of what these travelers actually saw, but anthropologist have their theories. So...are unicorns real, then? Nothing wrong with holding on to a little bit of hope.
Whether you love it, hate it, or have a love-hate relationship with it, the unicorn trend is here to stay awhile. It's made it's way across industries into facets of our everyday lives as this millennial obsession continues to grow. Millennials have long been known to follow a “retro-fashion” cycle by reverting back to moments of nostalgia. Trends that reflect this retro feeling ultimately do extremely well and have a strong following. As an example, just take a look at the Polaroid boom that's also going on right now. Although we have modern technology that allows us to share our photos instantly, it's become trendy to go back to using Polaroids and getting an instant printed photo. The unicorn trend brings back feelings of our colorful childhood which is why it has stuck around and will continue to grow. In the age of 80s and 90s nostalgia, the unicorn is king, bringing millennials back to the time of Lisa Frank. Unicorns have officially taken over the fashion and beauty worlds, and have now begun their big move into the food industry. With hot cocoa, and cake, and coffee, oh my….