If you scroll through Instagram for all of five minutes, you're likely to be bombarded by images of expertly painted cut creases, painstakingly defined eyelashes and eyeliner sharp enough to do some damage.
But makeup artists at London Fashion Week SS19, including Val Garland, Isamaya Ffrench and Lauren Parsons, made a bold move away from picture-perfect eye makeup, instead embracing haphazard application, lively shades and unusual techniques.
For Erdem, makeup artist Val Garland told R29 that she garnered inspiration from the story of Fanny and Stella, two young Victorian men who dressed as women to quell the suspicion that they were living under the same roof. The theme of the collection was gender neutrality, so Garland wanted this to be reflected in the makeup by NARS. "It's painterly and the colour is more intense, rather like velvet," she said, before explaining that she pencilled the eyes first to give them a waxy base, so that the powder pigment would adhere to the skin.
Garland ditched fingers and even brushes for a ball of cotton wool, which she plunged into the pigment and pressed onto the eye area, almost like a powder puff, so that the colour swathed the lids, lashes and undereyes. "It's actually a gimmick I thought up on the spot," Garland explained. "You get a maximum amount of colour onto the wool and can then easily transfer it onto the eye. Little drops of colour are meant to fall below the eyes and to be dispersed throughout the lashes, too." The blue eye look was created using NARS' Eyeshadow in Baby Jane, £16, but yellow (eyeshadow in Douro, £16), pink (Gaiety Blush, £24), white (Pandora Duo Eyeshadow, £25) and green (the Moskova Eyeshadow Quad, £39.60) also beamed from the catwalk.
At Ashish, makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench wanted the eye makeup to look like it had been sweated off at an all-night rave. She mixed MAC's Lipglass Clear, £15.50, with various shades of MAC's Chromacake, £22.50, a water-activated pigment, and used her fingertips to hand-paint the glossy formula into the corners of the eyes and a third of the way onto the lids. It took seconds to achieve the look – the key is to go with the messy, slippery vibe and to keep skin minimal, so that the lively shades do most of the talking.
The eye makeup at Peter Pilotto was a little less reckless, yet nowhere near perfect. Makeup artist Lauren Parsons created "painterly eyes" against glowing "pre-Raphaelite skin" by using MAC powder pigments in rose gold, peach or mint, depending on the model's skin tone, to create "flashes of colour" across lids. The final look wasn't too blended or rounded and brush marks or smudges were still visible at the inner and outer corners of the eyes when models took to the catwalk.
When it comes to haphazard eyeshadow, there's more or less no rulebook and zero skill involved (lazy girls, rejoice), but the trick to nailing it is to keep the rest of your makeup as muted as possible. At Erdem, Garland dressed models' lips in a slick of nude lipstick – NARS' Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Roman Holiday, £21 – but at Ashish and Peter Pilotto, lips were kept bare, save for a touch of clear gloss. After the eyes, the second focus was on skin. Either a daub of concealer or foundation was applied to areas that needed it, such as around the nose and under the eyes, to cancel out any red, green or purple tones and any highlighter was used sparingly, concentrated to the top of cheekbones only. Brows weren't defined, just groomed using either a spoolie brush or a swipe of brow gel.