Backstage beauty: 4 ways to amp up your make-up look inspired by the catwalks

Perusing the faces of models on the autumn/winter catwalks, it feels like the make-up perfectly reflects the mood of the season right now – and don’t forget, these shows took place some seven months ago.

As our social lives get back on track, and sales of colour cosmetics rebound after the lockdown slump, the overarching AW21 theme of wearable glamour suits the sense of cautious optimism so many of us are feeling at the moment.

This season’s key make-up trends don’t reinvent the wheel. Instead, they offer a modern, sophisticated take on timeless classics…

1. Feline flick

Valentino AW21 (Pat McGrath/PA)

Black winged eyeliner was everywhere during fashion month. Razor-sharp feline flicks were painted with precision at Chanel, Schiaparelli, Valentino, Erdem and more. The only question is: how dramatic do you want to go?

To create a major feline moment, you’ll need a jet black liquid liner – and a steady hand. For a more subtle alternative, use a sharp liner pencil to add a flick at the outer corner of the eye – this look helps to elongate small or round eyes.


Chanel Le Liner de Chanel Noir Profond

(Pat McGrath Labs/PA)

Pat McGrath Labs PermaGel Ultra Glide Eye Pencil Xtreme Black

2. Bold lips

Bibhu Mohapatra AW21 (Nars/PA)

Scarlet lips never go out of style, of course. But this season, why not try a darker berry hue inspired by the saturated shades seen at Molly Goddard, Bibhu Mohapatra and Erdem.

Matte cherry red, burgundy or merlot tones look beautiful with a dewy complexion, nude eye make-up and lots of black mascara.


Nars Powermatte Lip Pigment Spin Me, Boots

(Jimmy Choo/PA)

Jimmy Choo Seduction Collection Matte Lip Colour

3. Smoky eyes

Dior AW21 (Dior/PA)

When we talk about ‘smoky eye’ make-up, we usually mean a variety of eyeshadow shades blended together. But this season’s most stunning eye looks, as seen at Dior and Chanel, are literally smoke coloured.

Black eyeshadow might be a bit daunting, but the beauty of a charcoal hue is it suits all eye colours; you just need to tailor the application (if you have small eyes don’t go too heavy), blend it out so there are no heavy lines, and finish with volumising mascara (or false lashes).


Dior Mono Couleur Couture High-colour Eyeshadow 098 Black Bow

(Urban Decay/PA)

Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeshadow Mono Moondust Blackout, Cult Beauty

4. Cool shimmer

Mark Fast AW21 (Davide Cossu/PA)

Metallic eye make-up was another big trend, and while the two-tone, glittering gold and silver look at Prada (meaning one colour on each eyelid) might not be for everyone, the subtle shimmer at Mark Fast feels fresh and flattering.

How to find your perfect metallic match? Choose a soft eyeliner or liquid shadow in a cool tone (like icy pastel blue, frosted pink or mint) that contrasts with your eye colour.


Ciate Eye Lustre Ice


Illamasqua Colouring Eye Pencil Foil


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