Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Boardroom Beauty: Barefaced chic with a 90s twist

From left to right: Alexander Wang; Proenza Schouler; Calvin Klein Collection. All S/S 13 looks, from Style.com

Sometimes, in retrospect, the 1990s looks like the ugly sister of the 80s. Music inspired much of the fashion and subcultures sprang up with their own range of aesthetics, from rave through to grunge. Although designers may be able to draw inspiration from these styles and create something beautiful now, looking back at the originals can sometimes be an exercise in visual torture.

However, in terms of beauty, mainstream 1990s fashion had a wonderful parred back aesthetic that makeup artists drew on for the looks they created for a wide variety of designers this season. Bare skin, bold brows and latte-tinged lips completed the minimalist micro trend that ended up causing quite a ruckus as beauty fans everywhere sought about ways to recreate the look.

These simple yet stunning aesthetics translate well into the working environment - although bold brows can make quite a statement, they do so in a subtle way, by framing the features and drawing attention up into the eyes. Paired with dewy, clear skin and lips in a neutral tone, the look appears fresh yet professionally sleek and allows the wearer to appear on trend in a non-threatening way.

Top: Rag and Bone; Bottom: Ralph Lauren. Both S/S 13 looks, from Style.com

To recreate the look yourself, concentrate heavily on your base to ensure you skin looks as fresh faced and natural as possible. Use a foundation that promotes radiance to achieve that sought after dewy appearance (my personal favourite is Bourjois Radiance Reveal Healthy Mix Foundation - infused with fruit extracts that help nourish the skin and the only foundation I've found that has the perfect shade to suit my "alabaster" skin tone, as it has been described) and then highlight and contour accordingly to accentuate your features. Skip blush altogether and lightly dust your T-Zone with powder to seal your makeup without taking away any of the glow you've worked so hard to achieve. Next, gently define the eye with a soft brown eyeshadow and - if you're brave enough - dodge the mascara as seen on the catwalk or apply only one coat to keep this area understated.

The most essential part of this look, of course, is the brows. If you can bear it, part ways with your tweezers and celebrate the natural shape of your brows or, alternatively, only remove stray hairs from underneath to neaten up the area. Very carefully fill in any gaps you find with either powder or a pencil (I personally use Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil as it lasts all day without smudging and has a handy brush attached to the lid to groom any unruly hairs into place), taking care to follow the natural shape on your brows to avoid an overly illustrated, cartoonish look. Finish off your fresh face with a nude lip, using a coffee coloured satin-finish lipstick to really draw on the 90s inspiration for the look a whilst tying together all of the neutral brown hues used elsewhere on the face.


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