8 Most Iconic Runway Makeup Looks Of All Time

Runway makeup looks that nailed it over the years

On the fashion runway, the spotlight doesn’t solely shine on the garments or the meticulously crafted sets on fashion. Every year, one of the most anticipated discussions revolves around the runway makeup looks. While makeup may not always take centre stage on the catwalk, its significance is undeniable. 

Runway makeup serves as a powerful complement to a fashion show’s overarching narrative. Each season brings a new wave of creativity, setting trends and pushing boundaries in the realm of beauty. Let’s delve into the iconic runway makeup looks that have captivated audiences and left a lasting impression on the fashion industry.


Take a look at the most iconic runway beauty moments:


Jean Paul Gaultier Spring 2007 Couture

For the religious-themed Jean Paul Gaultier 2007 Couture Show, the makeup was inspired by the “tears of the Virgin Mary”. In order to create a different effect, teardrops was one of the most prominent details depending on each model’s outfit. The eye makeup was done in shades of red, pink, peach, and gold, with large smudges to make the eyes appear more deep. Having a clear base made the eye makeup look more colourful, and with gradient lips, well-defined lashes, and natural eyeliner, it emphasised the “Virgin Mary” touches, which complemented the clothes worn by the models. Each model in the show also wore a holy halo, and with their makeup, they looked like goddesses from religious frescoes walking into the world.

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John Galliano Fall 2009 Ready to Wear

John Galliano Fall 2009 RTW was inspired by Balkan folklore, with the theme of “Zombie Ukraine Bridge”, creating a cool and mysterious image of an exotic zombie bride, whether it is the model’s make-up or the garment’s ghostly vision. The models’ gothic, bloodless and white makeup base, smokey eyes with large smudges and white mascara create the effect of frozen eyelashes, along with under-eye highlights and gradient lips as the zombie queen who sings and dances nightly in the ancient fortress city, creating a romantic, spooky and mysterious look.


Maison Margiela Spring 2024 Couture

The makeup for the Maison Margiela Spring 2024 Couture show mimicked the makeup of antique porcelain dolls. A thin layer of silicone was applied to the model’s face to create a porcelain glow, and a neutral tone was used to create a thin arched eyebrow. Next up, jewel-tone eye makeup easily resembles an oil painting as the blush on the cheeks creates a doll-like blush glow, and the lips are painted in an impactful bright red or black, with clear lip gloss layered on top to create a porcelain lip look. Along with the clothing and the eerie pace of the models walking on the runway, a mysterious and romantic story of old Paris was revealed.


Alexander McQueen Fall 2009 Ready to Wear

The Alexander McQueen Fall 2009 Ready-to-Wear show was the designer’s take on the fashion industry’s trend overload. The theme “The Horn of Penalty” is the location of the last victim of the serial killer “Jack the Ripper”, using the term to convey that “snackable” design is a disaster for the fashion industry. The make-up artist drew on “clown makeup” to create exaggerated painted lips, bleached eyebrows, white mascara lashes, and white foundation base, which combined with the clothes and accessories worn by the models to convey the anger and contempt expressed in the show.

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John Galliano Fall 2007 Ready to Wear

John Galliano brought the French Boudoir Dolls to the show, creating an eerie but eye-catching vintage movie show filled of mid-century gothic, vintage and dark elements. Models wore white foundation, purple or black eyeshadow around the eyes and gold or blue highlights to complete the eye makeup. Also, a blush that was close to a purple hue on the cheeks, wavy eyebrows that curved like earthworms, and purple schemes lipstick. The models wore headdresses made of pleated tulle and dried flowers, or French net headdresses with black feathers, together with the garments they wore, which resembled puppet dolls, making the whole show filled with a mysterious and bewitching atmosphere.


Christian Dior Fall 2004 Couture

Christian Dior Fall 2004 Couture was inspired by the 18th century European nobility. The luxurious clothes and makeup reflect the gorgeous and extravagant nobility style. The model’s makeup mimicked the 18th-century makeup style, with the popular black moles (also known as beauty patches) under the eyes, white foundation to create a pale look, large blush on the cheeks, white mascara for eyelashes, light purple or light blue eye shadows, thin arched eyebrows, and pink or orange colour lipstick. With exaggerated accessories and saturated clothing, the desire for luxury and power was perfectly interpreted in this show.

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Givenchy Fall 2012 Ready to Wear

Givenchy Fall 2012 Ready to Wear was filled with gothic style. The makeup was all about giving attention to the eyebrows and eyes as well as lips. Dark eyebrows were straight and uplifted, with a sense of heroism and power, while the eyeshadow was in dark colours such as orange-brown or orange-red with high saturation to create a smokey look, and the brown lipstick made the model look more retro-modern. The gloomy and cold makeup style made the models look like vampire queens, exuding a dangerous seductive power. The show seemed to be an otherworldly world shrouded in darkness, filled with the mystery of the vampire family.


Valentino Spring 2019 Couture

Valentino Spring 2019 Couture Show circulates around the “Flower” theme, focusing on bright colours and floral elements throughout the collection. Coloured feathers were used as false eyelashes, which were clearly attached around the model’s eyes like a blossoming flower, along with black eyeliner and bleached eyebrows. Painted petals and diamond-adorned petal eye makeup were also accented with red eyeshadow. Both looks featured natural-toned lip glazes, and the model’s long, flowing, floral-patterned gowns were as beautiful and whimsical.