Many of us have incidents from high school that, when they come back to you as visceral flashbacks, cause grimaces and shuddering: Gas in gym class. That first experiment with peach schnapps. Answering, “I love you” rather than “dramatic foreshadowing” when asked by the hot, young substitute English teacher.
None of those things happened to me, you understand. However, clicking through images of the Michael Kors Spring 2013 collection did send a wave of nostalgia and repulsion through my stomach. The sleek, 1960s inspired show was great but it was the models’ faces that stopped me in my tracks.There it was: bright blue eyeshadow.
Suddenly, I was right back in the girls’ washroom at Gulf Islands Secondary, with my Aziza eyeshadow trio and a lashline-to-brow’s worth of frosty blue on my lids. Yikes. After some deep cleansing breaths I was able to see that the makeup at Kors had little to do with my own, long-ago dabblings. It was bright and clear rather than frosty (and painted on in an exaggerated banana shape clearly meant for the runway). Blue eye shadow also showed up at Dior, Tibi, Giorgio Armani and Kate Spade, in every application from theatrical to wearable. Do I need to face this? Is blue eye shadow really back?
Spring trend: Blue eyeshadow at New York Fashion Week 2013
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I decided to beg the help of an expert. Rimmel London makeup artist Vanessa Jarman arrived at my home with her makeup kit and reassuringly showed me how to drag blue eye shadow into the present. “I like seeing all the blues. To have a nice bold statement is really nice but you just want to simplify everything else. Just have a dewy finish on your skin, a nice nude lip and maybe a slight rose on the cheeks so you’re not competing.”
She took out an array of shadow pencils and drew them on the back of my hand. From a rich navy to a neon turquoise, none of them had the silvery metallic of old. Keeping my face neutral, Jarman applied a line of Glam’Eyes HD Eyeshadow in Royal Blue from the centre of my lash line to my tear duct. And for someone like me, with hardly an upper lid, it’s a great place to apply colour. It was there but it was subtle.
I was surprised by how much I liked it. Jarman nodded, “Yes, it’s using an older trend colour but with the new technology in makeup now, the sheerness, it’s new.”
Not sure about trying blue out in shadow form? Jarman suggests a coloured mascara. “Stipple it on and vertically move your wand and separate your lashes that way. It will give you a dramatic effect.”
I was out with a group of fashion and beauty editors that night at a trendy ping-pong bar in Toronto and it took awhile for anyone to notice my new makeup look. What felt radical at home was pretty subtle out in the world. “You’re done up,” one of them noted (which is fashion magazine speak for, “About time!”). Another leaned in, “What’s going on there? Blue? Nice!” But then it was time to switch teams in our ping-pong round robin. What? Oh, no, does ping-pong take you to a bad place?
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