How to Wear The Watercolour Eyeshadow Trend

Words by Medina Azaldin

Hazy hues were the make-up look du jour at couture fashion week

It’s the Rococo painting of eyeshadow looks…

A long with fanciful gowns and jaw-dropping details that are guaranteed to spark conversations (here’s looking at you, Schiaparelli), we can always count on couture fashion week to deliver some much-welcome beauty inspiration.

This week saw designers and make-up artists going down the more-is-more route with plenty of smouldering, sooty eyes and punchy lips. Our favourite looks, however, involved plenty of colours done with a clever, watercolour technique to achieve a cloud-like finish. Instead of intense, hi-def hues, the eyes at Giambattista Valli, Rahul Mishra, Alexis Mabille and Fendi were created with painterly brush strokes for a softer, ‘done-undone’ finish.

Giambattista Valli Couture SS23

Make-up artist Isamaya Ffrench sought inspiration from Giambattista Valli’s confection of macaron tones and voluminous silhouettes. “The collection was full of pastels and felt very light-hearted and hopeful with a futuristic element,” Ffrench tells Bazaar. “There were pictures of Beverly Hills from the 1950s and I was inspired by the international glamour; the elegance and chicness of that era. But I wanted to add a futuristic modern twist to it, hence the use of white.”

Rahul Mishra Couture SS23

This translates into an eyeshadow look that appears airy and floating, like little clouds suspended just underneath the brow bones. “It’s the ultimate exaggeration to shape and open the eyes, and it also complemented the dramatic earrings,” says Ffrench.

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How to create the hazy eyeshadow look

Aside from its ethereal finish, the beauty of this technique also lies in its simplicity. It doesn’t require multiple brushes or an extensive eyeshadow collection, just an eye pencil, a matching powder eyeshadow and a fluffy brush to blend it out.

Victor Virgile/Getty Images

At Giambattista Valli, Ffrench used white pencils around the inner corner of the eyes and on the brow bones, before intensifying and setting the pencil with powder. Meanwhile, a soft dusting of neutral brown added depth to the eyes, keeping a washed-out complexion at bay.

If white feels too stark, try warmer tones such as peach, terracotta or even a sheeny golden hue. Applied with a light hand and minimal product on the brush, this diffused finish makes every shade much more wearable, so don’t be afraid to experiment with pastels and shiny finishes. It’s all about a soft wash of colour rather than a perfected shape. Anchor with a touch of brown or black mascara, and fluffy, natural-looking brows.

Alexis Mabille Couture SS23

What to do with the rest of your make-up

Keep the rest of your face fresh and pared-back so eyes take centre stage. To offset the powdery matte eyeshadow at Giambattista Valli, Ffrench used plenty of lip gloss and a dewy base to bring light into the complexion. A neutral, shiny lip pulls the look together.

Giambattista Valli Couture SS23

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