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Gothic glamour: how to make catwalk trend wearable

Photo of models backstage at Rodarte AW20, make-up by Nars. PA Photo/Handout.

By Katie Wright

From New York to Milan, gothic glamour was all the rage on the autumn/winter runways.

Lips were painted in deep plum tones at Rodarte, Anna Sui and Roksanda, while eyes were thickly rimmed with kohl at Valentino, and creepy black tears dripped down models’ cheeks at Gucci.

“Designers often look to create this kind of gothic glam on the runway to offset their creations, sometimes as a juxtaposition to their feminine collection, or to complement a more edgy trend,” says celebrity make-up artist Hannah Martin.

But how do you take such an edgy trend and make it work in the real world? It’s easier than you might think. Here make-up artists show you four ways to get the look…


Flawless skin

“When creating a gothic glam look, it’s key to ensure your base is totally flawless,” Martin says, so that the focus is on the eyes and lips.

After making sure your skin is well-moisturised, apply foundation “starting in the centre of the face, focusing on any areas of redness, then blend out towards the corners of the face”.

Finally, set the T-zone with powder. “I like to use a loose powder – the Hourglass Veil is amazing,” Martin says. “Using a small headed brush, stipple the powder between your brows, the centre of your forehead, your nose, front of cheeks and chin, to lock your make-up in place for the day and keep any unwanted shine at bay.”


Smoky eyes

Rather than a full-on jet-black eye, Shelley Greenham, make-up artist and co-founder of Mishel, instead recommends working with dark brown hues: “This look will complement and accentuate one’s eyes, whichever colour they are.”

Using a dark matte palette is an easy way to create a smoky eye, she says: “Begin with the lightest colour below the brow, blend in the lighter brown/grey shade in the socket, working darker towards the lash line.”

Alternatively, make it even simpler by “using just one shade of shadow and blending it really well, so you don’t see any hard edges – this will give your goth eye a more wearable, less high-fashion feel,” Martin says. “Powder shadows are great, but sometimes you get an even better effect by blending an eyeliner pencil all over the lid and blending with a brush.

Finish the look with lots of mascara, she adds: “You need your lashes to match the intensity of your eyeshadow, or they could look a bit weak.”


Plum lips

“I love a dark lip,” Martin says. “It can instantly elevate your make-up look and autumn/winter is the time to experiment.”

It’s important to prep your pout, so start by buffing off any dead skin with a toothbrush and moisturising with lip balm, then line your lips: “Find a lip pencil that is as deep as – if not deeper than – the lipstick, and start creating a lip edge, then fill in the lip.” A lip brush can help you be more precise.

“Once your lips are filled in, I recommend going back to your lip pencil and further perfecting your lip edge,” Martin adds, “then it’s time to blot with a tissue – to remove any excess – and you’re good to go.”

If the deep, dark shades seen on the AW20 catwalks are a tad too gothic for your taste, try a glossy, cool-toned ruby red instead.

“Use a sharpened lip pencil, one that’s not too thick, to create a defined shape,” says Michelle Daniels, make-up artist and co-founder of Mishel. “Fill in with iconic MAC Ruby Woo lipstick and then a touch of Mishel’s Vivid Desire gloss.”


Dark nails

No goth glam look is complete without a moody manicure, of course. At Valentino AW20, patent polish on neatly filed nails showed us the high-fashion way to do an ink black mani, but if that’s a bit too severe for your liking, try an off-black shade, such as deep burgundy or plum.

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