Runway Review: Spring 2011 Make-up Trends
Runway Review: Spring 2011 Make-up Trends
ABOVE: Photo courtesy of Estēe Lauder LEFT: Photo courtesy of Maybelline
ABOVE: Tom Pecheux creating bright eyes for the Derek Lam show. LEFT: A model for Zac Posen's collection.


By Kevin James Bennett

So there I was, prepared for Spring 2011 fashion shows to offer yet another year of make-up boredom. Sorry, I take that back—not boredom, just a lack of innovation. Spring runway make-up is notoriously natural (or neutral) and accented with soft, pastel colors. (Yawn.)

So imagine my shock when face after face revealed make-up looks inspired by everything from pin-up girls to Pop Art to '80s glam. Saturated colors and textures usually reserved for fall collections were showing up everywhere. Of course, a few designers maintained the status quo, but they were the exception, not the rule. 

When it came to the eye shadow palettes it seemed as though the make-up designers had dived into a crayon box and were definitely not playing with the safe colors. The purple/blue family was represented strongly, with lids lined or covered in everything from lilac to iris to violet. These looks showed up at Jason Wu, Monique Lhuillier, Michael Kors and Rag & Bone. There were pops of lime green, magenta, saffron and countless variations of orange, defined by Tom Pecheux using a bright coral lipstick as eye shadow for the Derek Lam show. Eye shadow and eyeliner applications favored strong architectural lines and graphic shapes.

My picks to get the look: 


Speaking of orange, it showed up on lips everywhere. So did extremely bright, saturated reds and potent, glowing pinks. Tommy Hilfiger, DVF, Lela Rose and Alice + Olivia featured these lips. But here's the kick: the majority were matte lip colors. Spring is a season we normally associate with softly tinted glossy lips. For 2011, the lack of lip shine was evident. Relax, all you matte-o-phobes—the finish was softer and more forgiving than the old-school hard, dry mattes we remember. It reminded me of velvet: rich and lusciously plush, but definitely not shiny like satin.

My picks to get the look:
There was also a strong showing of metallic eye make-up, from silver glitter to shimmering gold, at shows like Anna Sui and Donna Karan. Rodarte featured gilded bronze lips, eyes and false eyelashes.

My picks to get the look:

 
The biggest surprise was a surge of retro '80s eyes (think Dynasty and Knots Landing) defined with inky blacks and purples from shimmer to gloss. François Nars created a perfect example of this über-glam look for the Marc Jacobs show. The insanely dark and sultry eyes evoked memories of vintage Yves Saint Laurent. (Remember the original Opium fragrance ads?)

To sum it up, Spring 2011 make-up was very unlike the typical soft and safe looks we've seen replayed year after year. So let's give a big shout-out to the ingenious make-up artists who brought such excitement and diversity to what could have been a pretty typical New York Fashion Week.

For more Spring 2011 New York Fashion Week coverage, see Issue 87 of Make-Up Artist magazine.