Guest beauty writer Lauren Phillips muses on the classic cat-eye…
Funny how one of beauty’s most iconic looks is notoriously one of the hardest to master. Frustrating really, given the transformative, eye-widening magic a single sweep of cat-eye liner can wield. Cleopatra knew it, Brigitte Bardot knew it, even Adele on *that * cover of The Gentlewoman knew it.
even Adele on *that * cover of The Gentlewoman knew it.
It’s the bright, young things of the 1950s and 60s that cemented the cat-eye’s place in the beauty pantheon, though. Bold, modern and undeniably sexy, it was a look that defined an era. Poster girls of the time, like Anna Karina, Sophia Loren and Francoise Hardy made the cat-eye their signature, and with it, confirmed their status as beauty pin-ups for generations to come.
By the 1970s – as bare-faced bohemia and later, Studio 54 glamour took hold – the cat-eye took a back seat. Glitter, super-sized blowdries and swathes of bronzer was the look du jour, but like any good thing, the cat-eye made its comeback. In the 1990s, post-punk girls payed homage to French New Wave with off-centre berets and flicks of black kohl. More recently, self-confessed It Girl Alexa Chung’s signature winged eyeliner has garnered an army of fans and even lead to her own range with cult liner brand, Eyeko. “I’m an avid wearer of eyeliner – I would say I’m wearing it 90 percent of the time,” she told Into The Gloss.
New, innovative twists on the cat-eye are regular mainstays on the runway, too. At NYFW, make-up artist Aaron de Mey for NARS opted for dramatic winged looks as part of Creature of the Wind’s SS16 collection. Inspired by inimitable punk-goddess Siouxsie Sioux, Mey created extreme, graphic flicks using Black Moon pencil and Via Veneto Larger Than Life eyeliner. ‘The look is very eclectic with a lot of layering which plays off the layering in the collection. It’s punk, tough looking. I loved the richness of the gold against the toughness of the black. It’s an updated, modernised take on eyeliner.’
Over at Jeremy Scott, industry legend Kabuki turned out a gang of Go-Go girls inspired by “East Village party girls of the 80s who love playing dress-up in 60s vintage.” He used MAC’s Fluidline in Blacktrack and Superslick Liquid Eyeliner in On The Hunt, both above and below the eye, to create the ultimate babydoll look.
Whether you opt for an elegant feline flick, or a bolder, more graphic take, cat-eye liner will never fail to make an impact. Still wondering how to master yours? Head to our How To Guide for everything you need.
Lauren Phillips is a Manchester-based copywriter and Food Editor at The Skinny magazine. She likes Netflix, pina coladas and her bulldog, Sadie.