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It’s that time of year, when clothes stores switch their merchandise from winter to spring/summer, when giant puffa coats make way for bathing suits and boots are replaced by sandals. But visit a beauty counter and it’s a different story. The new palette is packed with dark lipsticks and smouldering metallic eyeshadows. Make-up, it seems, has given up on seasons.
“We live in an age where tweeting, blogging and the internet are with us constantly, so we see the latest catwalk trends almost as they happen,” says Sharon Dowsett, make-up director at Maybelline. “This February we’ll be looking at the autumn/winter trends online and will want to buy into them instantly – which spells the demise of seasonality. It is really handing power back to the public.”
Now, more than ever, the customer is always right. “Over the past few seasons there has been so much development and focus on complexion products and now the customer is ready for experimentation with colour again,” says Nicky Kinnaird, founder of beauty retailer Space NK. “There was a sense of ‘anything goes’ on the catwalks but what eventually gains real-life traction for the season is down to the consumer ... it really is up to the individual.”
This trend has been in the making for some time, as social media, unpredictable weather, global travel and a spendthrift economic approach mean that the monthly colour palette is no longer easily predictable. Granted, there is plenty for those who prefer pretty, palette-cleansing colours – Dior and Lancôme have beautiful pastel collections, while Clinique has launched 16 Shades of Beige – but if you want a dark-blue eye or ruby-red lip for spring, you won’t be turned away at the beauty counter.
Savvy fashion labels are already there, with Burberry live-streaming its catwalk shows, complete with make-up shades, and cosmetics companies giving customers the options that they want by offering “anti-spring” colours alongside lighter shades.
Estée Lauder, for example, has matched its new Pure Color Envy Nail Lacquers to the darkest shades in its lip line, from deep Insolent Plum to crimson Red Ego (£14.50 each). Aveda Culture Clash is a palette of rich earthy tones including Burnished Bronze Eye Color (£12) and Berry Bud Lip Glaze (£16). Fans of the deep purple eyeshadow seen at the Rochas shows can choose from Clarins Mineral Eyeshadow in Smoky Plum (£17); the shimmering violet and taupe combination Guerlain Ecrin 2 Couleurs in 09 Two VIP (£30); or Nars Eyeshadow Duo in Kauai (£25), which pairs damson with gold. Or for the bold red lips seen at Antonio Berardi, try Chanel Lèvres Scintillantes in Sonate (£21) or Clarins Joli Rouge Brilliant Sheer Shine Lipstick in Pink Orchid (£18). Thickening up your eyeliner with a sharp, graphic shape using Maybelline Master Kajal Eyeliner in Pitch Black (£5.99) gives a nod to the Sister by Sibling show.
Illamasqua founder Alex Box has always eschewed traditional seasonal shades in favour of themed collections. The brand’s spring line-up is based around Satin Finish Glamore Lipstick (£16.50): three powerful pops of colour in glamorous shades of orange, fuchsia and raspberry. “Modern make-up should be about empowering women rather than slavishly following the fashion calendar – that’s just not the world we live in any more,” says Box. “Of course we want direction, but we also want to have our own input and inject our personality into a look, so it’s an intelligent approach that reflects how we feel as well as what’s happening around us.”
The egalitarian possibilities of social media also mean that everyone cannot only cultivate their own look, but they can beam it worldwide as well. “Everyone can now become a star, and to become a star you need to be unique,” says Tom Pecheux, creative make-up director at Estée Lauder. “Before, everyone wanted to follow the trends. But now they want to create a trend, so they are searching for more individuality, whether it’s through make-up or fashion.”
More of this week’s Style stockists