Double denim was spring’s big fashion story – and now it’s taking over the beauty world
It’s not that we ever stopped wearing it. But after the shrink-to-fit explosion of the Eighties, denim was never seen out in quite such force until recently. “In terms of making a fashion statement, only last year did we see denim climb to pole position on the catwalk,” says Stylist’s acting fashion editor Alexandra Fullerton. “From the retro skirts at Stella McCartney to double denim at Ralph Lauren and Chloé, denim’s definitely had a comeback.” And beauty is firmly taking over where fashion left off.
“We’ve never seen so much blue going into autumn,” says make-up artist Ashley Ward who regularly works backstage at London Fashion Week and has painted a host of famous faces, from Isabella Rossellini to Alexa Chung. “It’s definitely been inspired by fashion, but blue’s also a very optimistic colour. You can put it on and it’ll instantly lift you – it’s fresh and unexpected.”
“Denim sends such a strong message,” adds Bobbi Brown, who has a Denim Rose collection. “It’s rock ’n’ roll yet sophisticated; it’s uptown and downtown.” It’s this dual dynamic that makes denim make-up so right now.
And, there’s a shade to suit everyone. “It flatters nearly every skintone, eye and hair colour and the right blue can even brighten bloodshot eyes, perk up sallow-looking skin and neutralise under-eye circles,” says Ward. “Darker skintones tend to look best with gold-flecked blues; paler complexions suit cooler colours, like cobalt and acid-washed finishes.”
Brown also suggests bringing your blue crush to life by wearing a streak of bright blue along lids or painting inky blue liner along your lashes “for an instantly updated look”. While backstage make-up artist Mel Arter, who works with Kate Winslet and Kristin Scott Thomas, favours a pop of blue on the centre of lids. “Or cover your eyelid, but skip the mascara. It looks really modern and allows you do a pretty cheek and add some colour to lips, too.”
If you’re still not sure what suits, take a trip to the make-up counter.
“We’re used to trying on loads of jeans before finding the perfect fit – the same goes for denim make-up,” says Arter. “Try what you like the look of on your hand first. If you still like it, try it on the outer corner of – and just underneath – your eye. If it brightens everything up, it’s for you.”
“Wear smoky midnight blues for night,” says make-up artist Mel Arter, “and a line of inky blue for day.”
Nail Varnish in Poison Blue, £16.50, by Dior
Color Design Eyeshadow in Night Strass, £13, Lancôme
Eyeshadow in Midnight Star Metallic, £15, Estée Lauder
“Washed out blue looks great on pale complexions, but make sure you choose colours with grey undertones,” says Arter (otherwise you risk looking too pale). Mixing your own bleached-blue shade with a grey shadow works well, she adds. “And don’t forget to add definition to your eyes with a navy or black eyeliner.”
Precious Cells Mascara in Densifying Blue, 22, Lancôme
Ombres Contraste Duo in Bleu Tendre, £29, Chanel
Nail Polish in Colour in Blue #4, £10, Nailgirls
When denim is stonewashed, you get that iconic mid-blue, associated with everyone from James Dean to Madonna. On eyes, a denim mascara looks cool paired with a cobalt blue shadow and brown eyeliner. Or try a streak of bright blue across lids. “A denim blue mascara adds a hint of colour without it looking OTT,” adds Bobbi Brown.
Liquid Metal Eyeliner in Superior, £17, Illamasqua
Eyeshadow Pen in Blue 03, £3, Stargazer
Star Pearl Shadow in Blue Lagoon, £3, Stargazer
What to wear with denim eyes
“A dark denim eye paired with a soft pink cheek is the perfect way to ease your look into the new season,” says Bobbi Brown. “It’s casual yet pulled together and looks great on everyone.” Team your new denim wardrobe with these warm pinks and reds for a look that’s pretty as well as modern.
Denim & Rose Palette, £45, Bobbi Brown
Lipstick in Carnation, £7.99, Revlon
Blushing Blush Powder Blush in Pink Love, £18.50, Clinique