18 May 2010

Illamasqua Icons: New Romantics

Inspired by the Worried About A Boy TV film that was on at the weekend on BBC I thought that I would investigate the New Romantic's movement and their use of make-up for today's blog post.

New Romantiscism was a fashion movement that began with the youth of London and peaked in the 1980s. The electro pop sounds of David Bowie and his contempories were the biggest influence and the style of these icons of the era encouraged the exploration of androgyny and individuality in the club scene. The effects of this period can still be felt in popular culture today - our office especially loves a bit of Bowie blaring through the speakers!

The term New Romantic was coined by Richard James Burgess in reference to Spandau Ballet

The key clubs were Billy's in Soho and The Blitz of Covent Garden [featured heavily in the film Worried About The Boy] which was run by Steve Strange, of the band Visage. The Blitz even had it's own posse - the Blitz Kids, who would make an effort to dress as flamboyantly as possible and drawing influence from as many sources as possible such as the English romantics, Golden Hollywood, Egyptians, Glam Rock and Science Fiction movies.

Part of the Blitz legends recalls Mick Jagger attempting to get in and being refused entry by Steve Strange!

With roots in reggae, blues, glam rock and punk, the movement was a mish mash of influences. Boy George's band Culture Club - so called due to the ethnic background of each of the bands members - and his contemporaries brought androgynous dressing to an international audience and with the likes of Dead or Alive, Adam and the Ants, Bow Wow Wow, Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet also showcasing the trend for men in make-up, the London underground music scene was dramatically altered forever.

Get The Look


The paler the better - the New Romantics were creatures of the night, after all! Prep a strong base to hold up to paparazzi lenses and the flash of Top Of The Pops such as Rich Liquid Foundation. Industrial strength Under Eye Concealer to hide the excesses of the previous night and Pressed Powder for a matt finish are essentials to this look.

To contour the cheekbones, I would suggest Powder Blusher in 'Storm' or a Pressed Powder a couple of tones darker than your natural skin colour. Use with Blusher Brush II that has a wonderful tapered edge for controlled contouring.


If shaving your eye brows off doesn't appeal [or you could try bleaching them a la Lara Stone] then using an old mascara brush to comb through Rich Liquid Foundation will do the trick. Mixing Sealing Gel with a cake eye liner [try Eye Liner Cake in 'Mislead'] and get creative with the brows! Strong brows are a key part of Alex Box's work and there is nothing that defines a face as well as a deep, dark eye brow. The Sealing Gel will withstand the night's partying and will still look fabulous if you don't get around to washing it off the next day...

Apply Powder Eye Shadow in 'Sex' all over the eye - this bright white will encourage any other colours to blend together and increase the vibrancy of bright colours. Line the eyes with the Sealing Gel/ Eye Liner Cake mixture as before, flicking up at the outer corners for a feminine cat-eye. Experiment with bright colours, a staple of the New Romantic make-up kit, but remember to keep it matt! For George's above look, I think that Powder Eye Shadow in 'Feint' is a similar pinkish chocolate tone.


A gentle pink/orange tone will compliment the look but still keep it clashing and modern! Again, reach for the matt Lipsticks, such as Ignite.


  1. Amazing! I loved the George programme, and I love him so much.

    The New Romantics is a time I wish I was around in as a 18/19 yr old. Everything looked so awesome, everyone was beautiful and glam. I just know I'd have loved it! Instead, I was in nappies!

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  3. fantastic style and very inspirational! i saw the movie last week as well haha


  4. I love blog posts like this that break iconic looks down. Thank you!

  5. I can't say boy george deserves to be compared to David Bowie, even as an 'icon'. He really just wears wacky clothing, but Bowie and other glam rockers even Mick Jagger with his outfits (maybe not make-up) really did their thing awesomely. But Bowie's a killer legendary pioneer.


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