07 July 2011

Which is more powerful in directing make-up trends: The street or the catwalk?

When designers send their collections down the runway they have a complete vision of how they want their show to be portrayed.  All of the elements that make a catwalk show; lighting, sound, hair and make-up are key to conveying the designer’s vision.  Because of this, make-up on the catwalk is often used for theatrical effect.  Certain looks are aspirational and it is not to everyone’s liking to copy the looks down to every last detail. We can use these looks as inspiration and take certain aspects from the make-up.  This could be a coloured lip, highlighted cheeks or a shimmering eye rather than the whole look itself.  Designers will often envision looks that are extremely avant-garde so as to create as much attention as possible.  However, they may also do the complete opposite and keep the make-up extremely minimal to maintain focus simply on the clothes.

Vivienne Westwood Red Label show for A/W 2011-12 created by Illamasqua’s Creative Director Alex Box.  

Make-up trends are often seasonal and this month’s festival season is a perfect example of make-up having a trickle-up effect from the streets.  Festivals have always encouraged free spirits to join together in a carefree environment and are therefore the ideal locations for sub-cultures to embrace their refusal of ordinary life.  Sub-cultures are groups of people who diverge from normality.  These groups of people influence one and other, developing their own sense of identity, which includes everything in excess and exaggeration, especially make-up.  Sub-cultures were once seen as outsiders, using make-up as a form of self-expression and empowerment.  Glitter, sequins, neon colours and face paint were all elements which were once frowned upon by anyone from more mainstream cultures. These have now been adopted and embraced by the masses, showing how the evolution of sub-cultures from the streets has had a massive influence on trend direction.

Florence Welch from Florence and the machine with glitter streaming down her face as she performs.  Try Illamasqua’s Pure Pigment in Ore for a similar look.

The influential world of blogging has also had an enormous impact in the way trends are communicated: more and more people are becoming involved in street styling, which involves taking photographs of ‘normal’ men and women on the streets in their everyday lives. For example on The Sartorialist blog, a documentation of everyday street style.

Image from The Sartorialist - London

London is a hugely cosmopolitan city – people are not afraid to show who they really are and they use make-up and fashion to express their personalities and the catwalk is where make-up is used to create an ideal.

By Arianne Constantinou

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