There’s nothing more classic than a cat eye. After all, the look dates back to ancient Egypt. But this season, the timeless, sexy shape got an update, with makeup artists getting playful with their pencils, brushes, and felt tips. Here, our favorites from the fall runways.
Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz told makeup artist Pat McGrath that he wanted “something like a pen-and-ink sketch” when discussing the look for his show. “That’s why the makeup is black and white—inky black on the eyes with simple, natural skin,” said McGrath. “Like an insignia.” Greasy black cream shadow (try CoverGirl Smoky ShadowBlast in Onyx Smoke) was smeared on the lids and up over the brow bone, and erased at the edges with a Q-tip, creating a shape that almost resembled an oversize comma. (For a more toned-down version, keep the cream shadow closer to the lash line.)
The liner at Ralph Lauren was the most traditional version of the look we saw all season. Makeup artist Tom Pecheux paired his with rosy cheeks, lip balm, and brown mascara. “We wanted to keep the girl cool and not boring,” he said backstage. The effect felt effortless but polished—and oh yeah, really pretty.
At Altuzarra, Pecheux dreamed up a geometric-liner look with a futuristic twist. Using a gel formula (we love Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Gel Eyeliner in Stay Onyx) and a fine-tipped synthetic brush (M.A.C. 209 Eye Liner Brush), Pecheux drew a thin line right along the top lashes, pulling it straight past the outer corners. Then he made a second line, starting at the inner corners and creating a right angle so that when he extended it across the crease, it was parallel with the first line.
CLASSIC WITH A TWIST
At first glance, the liner look at BCBG seemed like a classic—a thin, winged line with a ’60s feel. But on closer examination, the shape was actually drawn a centimeter above the upper lash line, appearing to float across the models’ eyelids. “We wanted a graphic liner to complement the clothes, but we wanted to do it a little differently, not so literal,” said makeup artist Charlotte Willer. To create the look, Willer lined the upper lashes with Maybelline New York Lasting Drama by EyeStudio Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black using a brush, starting from the inner corners of the eyes and stopping in the middle of the lid. From there, she lifted the line up and extended it past the outer corners.
An easy way to update a traditional cat-eye shape? Go with a fun color. That’s what McGrath did at Anna Sui when she used cobalt blue theatrical paint to draw on the ’60s-inspired shape that winged out to a sharp point. (CoverGirl LiquilineBlast Eyeliner Pencil in Blue Boom and CoverGirl 1-Kit Shadow in Indigo Impact will also do the trick.) “A good way of doing this on yourself is to first draw your shape with liner and clean it up with a cotton swab. Then paint shadow over it with a dampened brush,” explained McGrath. (The dot underneath the models’ eyes added a playful touch, but it works best on the runway.)
ROCK AND ROLL/EDGY
At Versus, a sharp point and smudged edges gave the cat eye a punk-rock feel. “The smudged liner gives it a tougher, harder look,” explained McGrath. Using black pencil, she outlined the entire eye, stretching the line out into a slight wing that culminated in a sharp point, then softening the edges with a small shadow brush. To add even more definition, McGrath then brushed “loads of brown shadow” along the crease and up over the brow bone. Mascara finished off the look.
“The Kenzo girl is more sophisticated than last season,” explained makeup artist Yadim. “She is cool, sexy, and gorgeous, and found a rich boyfriend and is spending lots of money.” That translated into a look with rich red lips and winged liner, which was squared off so it didn’t feel too classic or conservative. Yadim used black gel liner, starting halfway along the upper lashes and drawing it straight outward with a brush. (One of our favorites? Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner.) Keeping the line thicker at the outer edges, he squared off the ends using a cotton swab dipped in makeup remover (try Simple Eye Makeup Remover).
At Erdem, the “line” part of the winged liner was subtracted from the equation, leaving just the wing in its place. Makeup artist Andrew Gallimore called it “floating eyeliner”: He used gel liner (we like Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner in Midnight Black) to paint a triangle on the outer corner of each eye, then angled it upward, like a classic cat eye. Sure, it sounds a little weird, but the result was surprisingly cute.