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Lucy Mangan does Trend on Trial


Our regular columnist tries her hand at A/W 2013’s key trends with mixed results...

For someone who has only just discovered tinted lip balm (my column photo derives from three days of planning, priming and painting by professionals, who then vanished into the night), trying out these looks required me to plumb depths of personal courage I never knew existed. I’m not even sure they’re all real trends. I’ve seen Cara Delevingne so I know brows are a thing, but slicked-back hair? Yesterday’s make-up? It sounds like the beauty equivalent of an Alan Partridge TV pitch. But Stylist’s beauty and features writer Anita, who’s doing my make-up, told me if I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t get paid. So here goes.

The feral brow

No. No, no, no, no. It feels like my face is being coloured in by a mad child. It is all I can do not to grab Anita’s wrist and slam it against the table until the brow mascara, gel, brush and what I am beginning to suspect is a tin of masonry paint drop from her nerveless fingers. In fact, when I look at the results, it’s not too bad. I mean, it’s not wearable outside the home – not by me anyway – but it’s interesting. You can see how altering one feature can change your whole image. In a way, even though I think I look absurd I feel more confident. These beetling brows make me feel hard as nails. You mock me, I’ll punch your bloody lights out.

Yesterday's make-up

Due to various organisational and moral failures, this is a look I know well. After initial misgivings, I even sort of understand it. It’s a variation on tousled hair. If people were holding my cat at gunpoint and making me choose one of the looks for an evening out, I’d pick this. Artistic smudging is always more fun than agonised shading. And if you err on the side of caution to begin with, you become more on-trend as your eyes and evening blur in cocktailed lockstep. It’s a yes from me.

Slickedback hair

Look, my hair and I have a difficult enough relationship already, ’kay? It’s not blonde enough, dark enough, thick enough. I’d say we were basically delicately balanced on a razor-edge of mutual toleration. Slam it back with a palmful of Kiehl’s Strong-Hold Styling Gel (which is AMAZING. Hasn’t hair gel come on since 1987?) and that’s all over. Only those whose whole body, like Ab Fab’s Patsy, hangs off their cheekbones can get away with this. For mere mortals, one’s hair is at best one’s crowning glory and at worst an ever-present shield behind which one can hide from the world. This is stark and very unlovely. Though I’m tempted to add the eyebrows and see if children run from me in the street.


For braver souls than I, all these trends are potentially wearable – especially yesterday’s-make-up, accessorised with a knowing look. The others you’d need to tone down a touch. Me, I’m off to go crazy with some Revlon Lip Butters. Mwah.

With thanks to boothnation.com

Since Lucy became our columnist in January 2011 she’s enlightened us weekly with her views on everything from women’s rights to er… cats. She also won Columnist of the Year at the PPA Awards in June.



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