Beauty Queen

"What a shame the boy got the long eyelashes." This withering remark, comparing my younger brother's impressive lashes with my own average set, was delivered by a family friend in my early teens. Fortunately, around 16 years later there is no more need to be an inferior hostage to nature, as false eyelashes have become bigger, better and a bona-fide trend.

Eyelure has reported a 300 per cent rise in sales of false eyelashes over the past four years, and they are continuing to rise, while Harrods has also reported a revival, and provide numerous eyelash services at their Glamour to Go bar. Their popularity is partly due to versions that are easier to wear – such as those that come pre-glued – but the real trend, one that has gone stratospheric in the past six months or so and is set to soar over the party season (even Princess Beatrice has been spotted in a pink pair), is for extravagant, carnivalesque lashes. They were a big hit at the summer festivals, which provide a crucible for trends, and appeared on the catwalk at Dior and Galliano.

Eyelure spokesperson Claire Garner describes the look as, "where fashion meets beauty", and accordingly, their Vivid Lashes range is as much about making a trend statement as enhancing one's natural appearance. The collection includes peacock-feather- and tiger-inspired styles, which convey a wide-eyed, bambi-takes-a-trip kind of escapism.

This season's most cultish style comes courtesy of Shu Uemura's achingly directional lace lashes, however. The brand's Tokyo lash-bar collections were instrumental in creating the false-lash trend, which began in Japan with the Harajuku girls. One of my colleagues attests that fakes are easy to apply, having done so in the loo of a club, but I would recommend greater caution, in the form of pre-party practice, or professional application. Shu Uemura has just set up a pop-up lash station at Selfridges in London, and all their counters offer a service where you can buy the lashes, have them trimmed to fit and applied, then return to have them re-applied as many times as you like for glamour in the blink of an eye.