Susie Rushton: Beauty queen

Saturday 16 August 2008 00:00 BST

I'm going to write a word that is hard to compute while we're still in the month of self-tanners, sunscreens and nice, summery bright-pink pedicures: Goth. Yes, the street style that stalked the Eighties is back this autumn. Fashion is into black lace, inky tulle and governess dresses and the concomitant beauty "story" is an updated version of the pale faces and exaggerated kohl-rimmed eyes of Siouxie Sioux and her sisters.

We saw it coming, though. The moment when goth face-painting crossed over on to the mainstream beauty counter can be dated back to 2006, when Chanel launched a black nail varnish, a shade last seen poking through fingerless gloves worn by committed Fields of the Nephilim fans in 1986. Fast forward to this season (for autumn/winter begins in August, don'tcha know)and the nu-goth look has gathered pace, with girls about town Alice Dellal and Mary-Kate Olsen as its pin-ups. I doubt many of us will bother with pale faces or witchy eyebrows, but all you really need to know is how it's changed the eye-makeup technique du jour. Hold on to your liquid eyeliners, ladies, but the Winehouse swoosh has been supplanted by a smokier effect; sooty replaces sweep, if you will.

Once again Chanel are right on top of this trend (who knew there were so many Sisters of Mercy fans at 31 Rue Cambon?) and launch a collection on Monday, called Exceptionnel de Chanel, which is more or less dedicated to autumn's modern-gothic look. The black shadow looks like coal dust, glittering with tiny spikes of colour, and will be a bestseller, but to my eye the twin liner and shadow (called Ligne-Lame) looks more adaptable. The key, as ever, is to avoid heavy-handedness and keep the more dramatic effects for nighttime: sunlight, after all, is fatal to Goths.

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