model backstage at Chanel SS21
model backstage at Chanel SS21

Spring beauty is all about classic make-up with a modern twist

Make-up artists tell Katie Wright why we’re seeing a return to timeless techniques.

Katie Wright
Friday 12 March 2021 09:30

Often, backstage beauty at the four major fashion weeks is all about pushing boundaries and letting make-up artists’ creative juices flow, with bold, daring looks.

But at the spring 2021 shows, the overall mood was somewhat more subdued, which isn’t surprising when you think about it.

“I believe there’s a return to classic looks on the runway right now, that is translating to the streets because we tend to gravitate to what’s familiar during a time of crisis,” says make-up artist Kimberly Crawford.

That’s why there was an abundance of black eyeliner and lipstick in classic red and pink shades on the catwalks.

History repeats itself, plain and simple,” says make-up artist Jon Gregory. “Marilyn Monroe with her iconic red lip, beauty mark, and jet black liner. It’s a look that worked for her, so why would it not work for someone else? If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

Here, our beauty gurus explain how to achieve the modern classic look for spring.

Black eyes

model backstage at Chanel SS21

As seen at Chanel Dior, Chloe, Valentino and many more, sharp feline flicks and smoky black shadow looks dominated at the SS21 shows.

“The focus is on the eyes more than ever, with modern shapes to a wing or smoky eye,” says Crawford. “I’m seeing people making more graphic or even rounder shapes with the liner, and paring it with cuts in the brows or fluffy brows.”

Make-up artist Summer Miller says: “The great thing about these classic looks is that they still allow us to add some twists to them. For instance, a crisp black liner can easily be modernised by adding a coloured liner in the bottom lash line.”

Chanel Les 4 Ombres Multi Effect Quadra Eyeshadow Blurry Grey

Chanel Les 4 Ombres Multi Effect Quadra Eyeshadow in Blurry Grey, £47

Red lips

model backstage at Rodarte SS21

From slashes of scarlet at Balmain and Hermes to darker hues at Rodarte and Roksanda, there was a glut of matte red lippie looks.

“The beauty industry is always changing, and today’s beauty world is all about inclusion,” says Gregory. “Marilyn may be known for the classic red lip, but that look can be created on any and every skin tone.”

You don’t have to stick to one shade, either, he says: “To amp up a classic red lip, I line the lips with a deeper cool-toned red. Then in the centre, I reach for an orange/red shade. Blend them together and you have a perfect red lip with dimension.”

Miller adds: “A bold red lip can be transformed by popping some glitter on top. The possibilities are endless.”

Nars Audacious Lipstick Bette

Nars Audacious Lipstick in Bette, £26

MAC Powder Kiss Lipstick Devoted to Chili

MAC Powder Kiss Lipstick in Devoted to Chili, £19

Hot pink lips

woman with bright pink lipstick

The Tom Ford show always offers a fabulous beauty look and this season, it centred around glossy fuchsia lips, a shade also seen at Versace and Bora Aksu.

“The nude matte lip is finally giving way to a red or pink lip, because women, when they are in a situation where they can remove their face masks, want a bold lip,” says Crawford.

What makes the look modern this season? “The edges are softer and not so sharp,” she continues. “And it’s paired with glowing skin with minimal coverage and concealer where needed.”

Bobbi Brown Crushed Sine Jelly Stick Tahiti

Bobbi Brown Crushed Shine Jelly Stick in Tahiti, £25

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Rebellious Rose

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Rebellious Rose, £27.50