Designers took many different routes when it came to makeup in New York last week, but were unified by often striking and avant-garde Ford

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to break free from the clutches of the makeup-free makeup craze, then you’re in luck. Quite apart from the garments parading down the runway, New York Fashion Week saw an influx of gloriously bold and bright beauty looks.

Eyes, eyes, eyes. In New York last week it was all about the eyes. Some shows stuck with the pared-down natural look, others added some flair to reflect their vibrant shows: models at Jeremy Scott took to the catwalk with a classic cat-eye and a splash of colour, to match their neon and silver glam-rocker outfits.

Above all though, the focus on unique flair, all-out glitz and throwbacks to styles gone by were the stand-out, so here are some of my top picks from the runway, and tips on how to do the looks yourself.

Mod Eye at Philip Lim


Diane Kendall created arguably one of the boldest beauty moments of the week for Philip Lim’s collection, with a dark and dramatic block eyeliner, reminiscent of the heavy-lidded and alluring eyeliner of the 60s. This bold, thumbprint liner perfectly contrasted with Lim’s flowing drapery, bright monochrome outfits and block colours.

Beyond the runway, though, it’s a fantastically distinctive and simple way to bring a bit of striking aestheticism to your everyday. Take inspiration from Kendall and paint in pitch black or a navy tone, or push the boat out with a brown or dark green to bring some subtlety or reflect a garment.

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…for versatility: Kajal Crayon, MAC, £17.50,

Go back to basics with MAC’s kohl eyeliner. It can be used for soft and wide lining, and be smudged too, making it a versatile tool for travel or to keep in a bag.

…for the beauty innovator: they’re Real! Push Up Liner, Benefit, £17,

Benefit’s “innovative” tool is another of the new eyeliner applicators storming the market. Like few of its competitors, this one seems to have real promise, with some excellent reviews in terms of usability and longevity, making it perfect for all-or-nothing looks like this one.

…for ease: Fat Liquid Eyeliner, Eyeko London, £16,

As someone who is utterly hopeless at accurate application, I find there to be something unendingly appealing about a felt-tip eyeliner. Broad coverage and big smudge-proof lines? Sign me up.

…for the pro: Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, Bobbi Brown, £20,

If you’re a dab hand with an angled brush, then grab Bobbi Brown’s gel liner for great control and colour options that will last all day.

Metallic magic at Pyer Moss


Over at Pyer Moss, Haitian-American designer Kerby Jean-Raymond stepped up the glam with makeup artist Daniel Sallstrom, creating gorgeous metallic highlights to top off his collection of sartorially cut satins, velvets and vibrant print patterns. As well as shimmering eyelids, in red, petrol blue and gold, Sallstrom topped it all off with a galactically bright golden highlight, and faces studded with glittering jewels.

These perhaps won’t be staples of your everyday makeup, but they can certainly be used to pack a punch when you want to, for a simple night-out statement look.

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...for on the go: Water Eyeshadow, KIKO, £8.99,

For an unbeatable single eyeshadow, KIKO hits the nail on the head. With many shades and a gorgeous shimmer, it’s perfect for a quick burst of colour and light.

…for at home: Eye Ecstasy, Pat McGrath Labs, £22,

The legendary makeup artist curated this collection of glitter shadows. It is, of course, hardly a cheap option, but offers a wonderful selection of colours to play with.

…for the highlighter lover: Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter, Fenty Beauty, £28,

It’s hard to find a stronger contender for best highlighter than this lustrous beauty from Rihanna’s cult makeup brand, which boasts an extensive range of shades for all skin tones and a lovely creamy formula.

…for those on a budget: Fine Glitter Dust, Barry M, £4.99,

Barry M’s offering of metallic makeup is a real bargain for the price point – a fine and highly pigmented shimmer that packs well onto eyelids and cheekbones for an otherworldly glow.

…for all-out crystalline glam: Opaque Rainbow Skin Gems, Claire’s, £4.20,

Claire’s might not seem like a premium make-up brand, but their jewels are economical and versatile.

Graphic 80s liner at Gypsy Sport


Senior artist at MAC Fatima Thomas created these shock rock and 80s-inspired looks, painting the models with careful strokes of eyeliner and flashes of vivid primary colours. Gypsy Sport, renowned for their ground-breakingly inclusive shows, combined avant-garde outfits with animal print, corsetry and thick netting at a surreal rooftop venue. If you’re looking for makeup that will let draw attention to your face in spite of your incredibly extra outfit, this is the one for you.

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…for a vivid twist: Off Tropic Shadow Palette, NYX Cosmetics, £16,

For your perfect psychedelic Hawaiian shirt moment, grab this versatile palette in a variety of finishes.

...for precise lining needs: Matte Liquid Liner, NYX Cosmetics, £7,

An absolute staple of any makeup kit – affordable and reliable, and perfect for anything from simple waterlines to complex graphic creations.

...if you’ve got cash to burn: Eye Defining Pen, Tom Ford, £46,

The price tag on this one is painfully steep, but it’s garnered rave reviews and it seems if you’re willing and able to shell out, there’s really no beating it for reliability and precision.

Neon at Oscar de la Renta, Helmut Lang and Jonathan Cohen

instagram/thepoweroffashun, helmutlang, jonathancohenstudio

Bursting out on runways left, right and centre was this season’s most used and abused beauty trend – neon. It came in many forms, from the messy splattering at Jonathan Cohen, to the clean-cut futurist wedge at Helmut Lang, and the lovechild of the two: a freeform swipe of neon at Oscar de la Renta. Often paired with a nude or muted lip, this is the perfect spark to top off a formal look or revive a lacklustre everyday.

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…for colour options: Sketch Marker Liquid Art, Too Faced, £17,

Another favourite of beauty bloggers and magazines that performs well under pressure and comes in a wide variety of shades, including a particularly bold yellow and pink.

…for bargain luxury beauty: Baeside Vivid Liquid Eyeliner Trio, Fenty Beauty, £18.90,

A pretty good steal at it’s current sale price, this is a great starter for using neon eyeliner. Scroll through Instagram for some inspiration and get to work with the vibrant primary colours of your dreams.

Eyelid calligraphy at Anna Sui


Anna Sui’s collection was entitled VICTORIANNA and made a great many allusions to the Victorian era, but this didn’t stop it from bringing innovative aesthetics to the floor at the hands of the queen of makeup, Pat McGrath.

While here too the neon trend got its fair share of coverage, the standout for me was the delicately decorated eyelids of the models that brought to mind a gentle, almost childlike, sketching. Use it to add a kitschy, graphic twist to a neutral or earth tone dominated outfit.

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…for if you’re feeling fancy: Cake Pencil Eyeliner, Kat Von D, £17,

Thinking of splashing out? This creamy and 100% vegan eyeliner from one of the most reputable manufacturers out there is a perfect tool to create intricate patterns without compromising on longevity or pigmentation.

…for if you’re not: Slide On Pencil, NYX Cosmetics, £6,

This eyeliner, at a high street price, brings an incredibly smooth and bright formulation with an amazing selection of vibrant colours. Their soft composition also makes them perfect for buffing out into a blended and subtle eyeshadow.

Sultry smokey eye at Tom Ford


Set in the subway, Tom Ford set the stage for a show of grit and glam, and the beauty choices were no different. Heavy and dark, sultry eyes brought a grunge-y edge we haven’t seen on the runway in a hot minute, and that sat well with the models messy hair and beautifully draped and tailored looks.

It’s a intensely dramatic style, but one that can highlight anyone’s eyes. With looks like these, and I personally think a return to the 90s is beyond overdue.

Shop the look…

…for versatility: Eye Duo Smoker, Yves Saint Laurent, £26.50,

If you’re looking for compact smoky charm on-the-go, then YSL has the answer – a creamy solid eyeshadow that’s easily bendable and offers a dark matte and a soft shimmer in one.

…for the beginner: The Nudes Eyeshadow Palette, Maybelline, £11.99,

If you’re looking to get into smoky or more natural looks, this palette offers a solid foundation with a broad range of shades and finishes, ready to build anything from a heavy black smoke to a softer brown shadow.

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