Looking at the makeup on the models walking the autumn/winter runways, you could have been forgiven for thinking that you were seeing a show from the wrong season. Pops of blue, flashes of orange and pink, dustings of yellow, green and lilac… the painterly palettes chosen by makeup artists backstage at shows such as Dries Van Noten, Gucci, Maison Margiela and Missoni were decidedly springlike. And so, too, was their application, which was as important as the spectrum of colour itself. Sheer watercolour washes gave the look a very accessible appeal.
“Transparency automatically makes colour more beautifying on the face,” explains Terry Barber, director of makeup artistry for MAC Cosmetics. “It takes away the fear of looking garish or retro, and it’s those fresh, plump washes of colour that allow you to be more playful.” Be it a halo around the eye, a new or unusual experimentation in lip colour, or a gentle tonal clash on both eyes and lips, using products in this way gives an end result that is much softer – and this is, according to Barber, the easiest and most flattering in-road to exploring technicolour choices. “Veils of colour that bring out the features rather than enclose them are the unsung heroes of makeup,” he says.
So what to make of this more romantic approach? “It’s a good time to break the seasonal rules and not resort to the classic earthiness of autumnal beauty,” says Barber. “Instead celebrate the colours of optimism and freshness. Can we say spring/summer is the new autumn/winter?” It’s a resounding yes.
When it comes to creating the ultimate feline flick, look no further than Hollywood legend Audrey Hepburn. “Her almond eyes were synonymous with the winged eyeliner that adorned them, and the perfectly defined lashes that fluttered as she gazed through the window of Tiffany & Co, eating a croissant,” says Vogue make-up artist, Celia Burton. “When Alberto de Rossi died, Hepburn’s make-up artist of 25 years, she was said to have declared she’d rather not work again. A perfect tribute to the enormous role that make-up — and the man applying it — had played in her career. Legend has it that de Rossi would apply mascara and then separate each individual eyelash with a safety pin to emphasise her doe eyes.”
Indeed, famed for her feminine brows and signature cat-eye, Hepburn’s was a beauty that surpassed all others. And one that will be under the spotlight once more thanks to a new documentary on the Breakfast at Tiffany’s star. Masterminded by the same BAFTA-nominated team behind 2018’s McQueen, a film about Alexander McQueen, Audrey takes an intimate look at one of cinema’s iconic actresses, featuring never-seen-before footage as well as interviews with her son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, Givenchy’s former artistic director Clare Waight Keller, and Tiffany & Co design director emeritus John Loring. Though the film promises to uncover the woman behind the red-carpet glitz and glamour, focusing on the psychological effects of her difficult upbringing, it will no doubt bring some of her iconic beauty looks back into focus, too.
To mark the occasion, Vogue make-up artist Celia Burton breaks down the steps to recreating Audrey Hepburn’s signature cat-eye flick.
Step 1: use liquid eyeliner to mark the position
Look straight into a mirror, with your chin lowered. Consider your eye shape, and use a liquid liner — my favourites are Glossier Pro Tip or Voyeur Waterproof Liquid Liner by Hourglass — to mark out with a dot or dash where you want the ‘flick’ to finish. For the Hepburn effect, I recommend a sharp, squat flick, angled upwards and outwards from the end of the lash line at 45 degrees.
Step 2: drag the eyeliner across the eye
Tip your head back, so now you’re looking down at the mirror, and drag the liner across the eye from the inner corner, staying as close to the lash line as possible. Always have a cotton bud and oil-free make-up remover to hand, to neaten as you go.
Step 3: connect the dots and thicken up
Stop when you reach the end of the lash line, return to looking straight into the mirror, and join the dots from the marked spot to the main event. You can leave this skinny, as a subtle flick, or thicken it out at the wing — just make sure to keep the 45-degree angle.
If you prefer your liner soft or blurred, use a gel-liner pencil in the same way — my favourites are Charlotte Tilbury Rock ’N’ Kohl pencils or Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayons — and smudge it along the lash line with a brush or finger before it sets, then tidy up the bottom of the flick with a cotton bud and oil-free make-up remover.