Most days, when I walk around my neighbourhood lately, I can count at least five or ten girls wearing red, yellow or mint-green jeans. (Which is why I may pass on this trend, but we’ll see.) I’m talking about colour-blocking. It’s huge this spring in fashion, and it’s all about wearing two—or more—different solid colours, preferably bright ones, in one outfit.
I suppose it was only a matter of time before people would start to talk about colour-blocking with makeup. And this is the subject I delved into yesterday at the America’s Next Top Model Live event in Toronto, where I was part of a beauty panel on the French Connection Style Stage, with Jill from 29 Secrets and Elaine from Toronto Beauty Reviews. Not surprisingly, I had a lot to say. (Too much, really. Sometimes it occurs to me just how much of my brain space is occupied by obscure beauty facts, and that it is not normal.)
Anyway, let me share—and then I wanna know what YOU think.
Colour-blocking on the runway
Funnily enough, colour-blocking actually started popping up in makeup a couple of seasons before it hit the big time (right now) in fashion. Here it is at Donna Karan in fall ’11:
As you can see, one way of doing it is with equally intense colours on the eyes and the lips. The Christian Dior show, in the same season, is another example. The models all had red lips but different shades of eyeshadow. Like yellow…
It’s a bit much, right?
Which leads me to the Jeremy Scott show. And the reason why I hesitate to recommend colour-blocking as an off-the-runway beauty look.
I mean, she looks like a clown, right? And I don’t want to be responsible for that.
But that said, even I will admit that it can be pretty with the right technique and occasion. So if I haven’t scared you off already(!), let’s talk about the right and the wrong way of executing this…
Colour-blocking dos and don’ts
DO: Try pairing two (but no more than two!) different colours on your face at once. So, this could be a hint of purple liner underneath the eyes with a bright orange lip (as one of the models wore yesterday). Or some fuchsia gloss paired with a soft wash of blue shadow over the lid. Just remember to keep it all in balance. The Donna Karan show is actually a good example of the technique, since everything looks really fresh and modern. But Dior? Way too overdone.
DON’T: Go crazy with multiple colours. I repeat: all you need is two. This is an insane eye makeup job from Roberto Cavalli—it’s not even really colour-blocking, but could you imagine if this also had a bold lip? There’s just no need for this.
DO: Skip the shimmer. (See above.) I think colour-blocking in makeup works a lot better with flat colours. It’s just more modern.
DON’T: Make it too complicated if you don’t have perfect technique. My model yesterday looked gorgeous, thanks to the makeup wizardry of Vanessa Jarman for Rimmel London—but there is simply no way any non-professional could have achieved that beautiful and complicated eyeshadow technique. At home, keep it simple with sheer washes of colour all the way around the eyes, or bright liner close to the lash line (top or bottom).
DON’T: Wear this to the office. Unless you work in a creative environment, of course. But for most peeps, this is strictly evening and weekend territory.
DO: Try colour-blocking with your nails. Even though there is a whole matchy-matchy movement starting to happen where nails and lips are painted the same shade (see: Dior spring ’12), you can also do contrasting bright colours, because that looks pretty awesome. And will not be nearly as scary as if you wore the two colours on your face. Here’s a perfect example at Milly:
DO: Try colour-blocking with cheeks and lips. Scroll back and have another look at this Milly pic. See how the model is wearing a fuchsia lip with a peach blush? Well hey now, that’s colour-blocking too! Just a more subtle version of it. You could do the opposite, too—pinky blush with orangey lip. I talked about this whole warm and cool colour thing (all at once) in this post, if you remember.
DON’T: Forget that certain colour combos just look weird. Like baby blue with baby pink—that’s a bit too ’80s for me. Or green and red. Does this say spring trend to you or holiday elf costume?
DON’T: Forget to keep your skin and brows in tip-top shape. If you’re going to wear intense colour on your face, you better have a perfect canvas, or it’s just going to draw attention to every flaw. Sorry. Oh, and on that note—the younger your skin, the better this is going to look. Again, sorry. That’s why models are usually 15 years old, after all. Everything looks good on them!
DO: Have fun with it. Even though I am boring and will probably nevah, evah try this, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t! It’s makeup. It washes off.
Some easier ways to have fun with colour
I still like brights, mind you. But I’m going to revert back to some seasons past, because I’m still stuck there when it comes to my favourite looks. I still think a bold eye is prettiest worn in the style of Oscar de la Renta spring ’11:
See? You notice the pretty eyeshadow without it fighting with something on the lips. However, you could always do a pink or peach gloss with this to colour-block, and it would be fine. The key is to keep everything super-sheer.
For lips, I have a lot of love for Fendi spring ’10:
Could this work with something more on the eyes? Sure, but I don’t think it would be nearly as flattering.
But that is because I still stand by my beauty philosophy that makeup is meant to enhance what you already have… like these Balmain girls…
…instead of encouraging people to come up to you and say “Oh, so you colour-blocked your face today!”
That is NOT a compliment. Trust.
Do you like the colour-blocking trend in fashion?
Would you ever try it on your face?
What way would YOU wear it so as to avoid looking like a clown?