Eye Makeup Took a Dramatic Turn on Couture Catwalks

PARIS – Peepers looked wild and wonderful on the recent couture catwalks in Paris, for the spring 2024 season.

They took flight with feathers at Giambattista Valli and Alexis Mabille.

“We wanted a spectacular makeup, with a strong focus on the eyes, imagining a modern version of someone like Maria Callas or Mina Mazzini on stage,” said Karin Westerlund, of the looks she created for Valli.

“We wanted the makeup to feel fierce and angelic at the same time,” she continued. “The collection celebrates the beauty of the unfinished, and to tie this into the makeup, we used plain black duck feathers for the eye makeup, attached directly from the feather-branch on to the lash line, creating something in between a 3D eye shadow and oversized eyelash.”

The custom-cut lashes gave a slightly different look for each model.

“The trick to make it work is to gently bend the branch of the feather in order to apply it,” explained Westerlund. “To create separation and shape in the feather, we used fingers, a small metal comb and hairspray.” 

Alexis Mabille’s inspiration was the private ritual behind women getting their looks together before going out. That involves fashion and defining which features to accent with makeup. It might be her complexion, whimsical eye makeup or lipstick.

“Consequently, for the show there were several different iterations of Alexis’ women,” said Lloyd Simmonds. “Alexis was inspired by some vintage feathers from his atelier for the two eyeliner looks.”

The designer gave Simmonds iridescent black cock feathers, which were then stripped, trimmed and cut into two shapes.

“The first had the feathers entirely stripped, so just the shaft was left. This was trimmed, then glued under the outer corner of the eye, sweeping outwards and upwards in a thin trace,” said Simmonds. “The second had the feathers stripped on only one side of the shaft, trimmed and glued to the outer corner of the upper eyelid, resulting in a feathery 3D eyeliner that fluttered as the model moved and blinked.”

At Julie de Libran’s display, models’ eyes were ringed with a silver-like color, created with makeup artists Cami Arnaud and Isabella Kryla.

The designer called the look a “morning to evening mask,” and said it “was created by smudged silver, pale blue and gold pastel shadows from Sisley makeup on the eyes, creating a theatrical effect and highlighting the eyes.”

For Aelis, Constance Haond had in mind strong emotions and the color red, after a discussion with designer Sofia Crociani about the state of the world today. For models’ eyes, Haond opted to give a damp effect, as if they’d experienced strong emotion.

“I created the red touch on nails and eyes with pieces of special paper I tinted and texturized myself to give an impression of an old fabric to make the connection with the archives of Opéra de Paris that Sofia recycled in the new collection of Aelis couture,” said Haond, who also applied black gloss to some eyelids.

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