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Style file: Reign in purple make-up

Lilac and lavender have become the make-up staples for the season, writes Holly Swayne

Purple eye shadow conjures up memories of our first teenage experiments with make-up – those garish, glittery eye palettes that were the proud dividend of scrupulously saved pocket money. But lavender and lilac have been given a modern-day makeover this season, thanks to the likes of Prabal Gurung, Rochas and Peter Pilotto. But how do you take the look from schoolgirl to sophisticate?

For the lilac-lidded eyes at Holly  Fulton, MAC make-up maestro Andrew Gallimore was inspired by somewhat-obscure Seventies music icon Noosha Fox. Leaving the lash line bare for a modern spin, Gallimore washed a watercolour purple like MAC’s Parfait Amour across the upper eyelid.

Worn with frosted lips and side-swept curls, the look mixed old school glamour with a fresh femininity.


Purple eyes were also a favourite at London label PPQ, where the Poison Ivy theme was anything but girlish. To  create the look, Maybelline make-up  artist Karina Constantine complemented the label’s vampish designs with a vivid violet shade over the entire eyelid, pairing it with lashings of sultry black liner and a deep plum lip.

It wasn’t just eyes that were given the plum treatment this season, as lip colour was given a new lease of life – whether Lucia Pica’s matte flash of pastel purple at Peter Pilotto or the more outré option of bright lavender lips at Prabal Gurung. For a less intense take, Lipstick Queen’s “Let them eat cake” leaves a flattering pastel frosting, with rose gold pigments to lift the cool lavender tones.

If you’re still not convinced, the most subtle way to wear the trend is to follow in the footsteps of Revlon manicurist Jin Soon Choi, who created lavender nails for Marchesa’s New York show.

Whether you wear it on your lips, eyes or nails – and it should never be all three at once – it’s time to forget what you thought about purple pigments and wear them with pride.