Trend on Trial: Graphic Eyeliner for AW11

liz jones' scary liner

Seeing Liz Jones' letterbox liner on Mary Queen of Frocks recently reminded me that sweeps of statement black eyeliner are, like, so hot this season.

inspiration from anna sui and jean paul gaultier

A comparatively simple flicky outy cat's eye isn't what we're talking about here, by the way. Models at Jean Paul Gaultier wore an exaggerated, elongated slash of liner beneath their lower lids (think Johnny on last Saturday's X Factor) while the make-up at Anna Sui looked back to the '60s for inspiration, where Pat McGrath subtly enhanced upper and lower lashlines and then used an upside down banana of liner in the crease of the eyelid to achieve a doe-eyed look reminiscent of the iconic mod photos of the era. And sure no AW11 liner line-up would be complete without at least giving Dior's stick-ons a passing nod of a mention.

As Liz proved, though, making statement liner work in the wild is no easy feat. Done right, it's edgy, graphic, and quite editorial, but it's all too easy to wind up looking like a two-year-old with no artistic bent has scribbled your make-up on with a Sharpie.

lynnie tries liner looks


Which is pretty much what happened me when I had a go of it. I LOVE black liner so I tried both looks, one on each eye, to find my favourite: I felt like I was missing a face-full of Geisha girl make-up to go along with the Jean Paul Gaultier liner and that the Anna Sui version looked clownish, so I took a few photos and then took the lot off.

If you fancy having a crack at statement liner, you'll need a flawless base to pull this off (or, y'know, fake it with foundation and concealer where needed), cotton buds and make-up remover for tidy up jobs, and a steady hand for total control.

  • To DIY the Jean Paul Gaultier look: Use liquid liner for a crisp, defined line. Ensure that your nib or brush isn't overloaded with product, and work from underneath the inner corner of the eye outwards to create a tapered flick that thins towards the outer edge.
  • To DIY the Anna Sui look: Prime oily lids with a product like Too Faced Shadow Insurance or Urban Decay Primer Potion, allow to dry, and apply eyeshadow if desired. To form the upside down banana, trace a smudgeproof black eyeliner pencil along the underside of the orbital bone so that it sits above rather than directly along the crease of the lid (otherwise it won't be visible when your eyes are open!) You may find it easier to outline the banana shape with dots of liner initially and join them up rather than trying to do it all in one foul swoop; for a more defined line, use liquid or gel liner. Tightline the upper lashline and define the lower with black liner.
  • Beginners: Not sure about all this graphic black liner malarkey? Take inspiration from Armani and just try a double flick, where liner simply extends a little past the outer edge of the eye on both the upper and lower lashline. (There's a little refresher course on eyeliner flicksĀ here if you need it.) Oh and don't worry about trying to get the two to join up, because there should be a gap between them.

Catwalk shots:

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