It’s no coincidence that the 80’s are making a dynamic return this year. They gave birth to uniqueness and self-expression, through placing emphasis on vibrancy and creativity in beauty. The era was specifically distinguished for introducing and experimenting with intense colours. Following the harsh political and economic climate of the 70’s, the 80’s gave way to a desire for freedom and rebellion. Individuals created new life, through the art of experimenting with makeup and vibrant colours. This editorial provides a modern twist to the period’s aura, while highlighting the notions of creativity, expression, and re-birth, through the photographed makeup looks.
Makeup in the 80’s was celebrated for its contrasting colours, bold lips, and vibrant eyeshadow. It was an essential part of a woman’s daily routine and acted as a source of self-expression. Shadows were blurred together similar to watercolours on a canvas; fiery red lips were a dominant characteristic and fuchsia blush was applied generously on the cheeks, further adding depth to the look. This creativity and heavy experimentation encouraged the adoption of the unofficial motto of the era: the brighter the better. Its ‘go big or go home’ mindset alluded to a free-spirited and open-minded approach to expressionism, imagination, and originality. Beauty in the 80’s was profoundly influenced by the emergence of the art phenomenon, Neo-Expressionism. It re-defined the existing avant-garde approach to art, conveying built up anxieties and trauma through its characterisation of intense and vivid subjectivity, as well as its contrasting colour palette. In the same manner, using the body as a canvas, makeup was used as an outlet to express inner thoughts and feelings to the outer world.
This editorial encapsulates that, with its bright-coloured palette and contrasting combinations. The eyes are the most expressive characteristics on the face and it’s no coincidence that this spread places emphasis on the eyes with the use of rich colours. Layered combinations of eyeshadow create a visually intriguing element, as purples, greens and yellows are favoured. Bright pink blush is an evident theme throughout all images while tones of red-stained lips, honour a key characteristic of 80’s makeup. A futuristic element is also added to the looks, defining bone structure; cheekbones are accentuated, while the sharpness of the jawline becomes prominent. This editorial interprets classic 80’s elements through a modern lens and intertwining of warm and cool tones.
Popular artists from that period, such as Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, were widely known for their confidence in their bold makeup looks. Like everything in the 80’s, Madonna’s makeup looks were excessive, the Queen of Pop hit the music scene with bright red lips, pink blush and dramatic eyes to accompany her iconic, wild hairstyle. Cyndi also embraced this makeup style but with a slight twist compared to Madonna. To further intensify her looks, the pop star blended her style with punk-rock elements, rocking her signature turquoise eyeshadow and accompanying that with a striking, red lip. The two pop stars acted as role models for the vast majority of the female population, who began reinventing themselves from the beginning of the decade, entering a new era of female empowerment. Creativity, through experimentation with makeup, allowed women to boost their confidence while firmly establishing their positions. Where women struggled to express their voices and assert their dominance verbally, beauty acted as an indirect outlet. Vivid colours represented a rebirth of the woman; one who was confident and ready to prosper.
Statement looks and vivid colours were also an integral part of the majority of male rock stars in the era. David Bowie acted as a prominent figure in the beauty industry at that time, challenging social norms and encouraging gender fluidity through his personal experimentation with makeup. Bowie successfully pushed boundaries and blurred the barrier between male and female, through showcasing his iconic looks. Boy George also made history for his extroverted, creative, and performative persona that was reflected through his appearance, in the 80’s. He proudly embraced and expressed his sexuality, bending gender norms, and evolving into a prominent figure of queer style in 80’s Britain. His experimental style fused bold colours and daring combinations in his makeup looks, primarily consisting of brightly coloured eyeshadow, with dominating tones of green, blue, and fuchsia, accompanied by prominent brows and ruby lips. Punks also perforated the beauty scene with their rebellious attitude, and their aesthetic feeding off of bold lips, vivid eye-makeup, and atypically coloured blush. Beauty became a reaction towards predefined societal standards, allowing the group to convey their feelings through their appearance. The editorial artfully captures this sensation, with its use of colour complimenting the models’ facial expressions. It highlights beauty’s ability to unveil inner feelings and visually represent emotion by accentuating facial expressions with the makeup.
The 80’s are making a comeback and are ready to inspire the year ahead, bringing bushy eyebrows and daring shadows back to the scene, as bright colours will offer individuals an outlet to creatively express their personalities, without constriction. Beauty, by definition, is an ever-evolving concept which, in current times, has frequently been related to unrealistic standards procured by the media. Now, the concept of ‘beauty’ acquires a new meaning through this colour palette, encouraging to view it as an art form. These modernised outlooks on makeup and beauty, motivate individuals to step outside their comfort zone and break-free from their shell. Unity is illustrated in the editorial , expressing contemporary beauty’s ability to connect individuals, surpassing notions of sex and gender. The naked body allows the eye to draw its complete attention directly towards the vibrant makeup, underlying the powerful ability of beauty to depict one’s inner self.
As 80’s inspired beauty infiltrates the coming year, individuals find themselves inspired to let loose and be bolder with their appearance. The concept of makeup has been associated with femininity and an underlying implication of vanity for generations. However, it can be an externalised depiction of a person’s inner world – a visual of their essence. This editorial aims to inspire deviation from conformity and flourishment of unrestricted creativity through bold and vibrant makeup. It encourages individuals to add colour to their arsenal, adopting a daring attitude towards beauty. Through this emphasis on colour, the editorial aims to reflect makeup’s ability to exude emotion, confidence, and vulnerability. What’s left to discover, is how the 80’s ‘go big or go home’ mindset will succeed in inspiring creativity and growth in the contemporary beauty industry.
Written by Stella Georghiou
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Photography by Eleni Poulopoulou @eleni.lepoul Make-up by Chrisa Pozantzidou @gingerafro.chrisa
Creative Direction by Konstantinos Tsagkaris @konstantinos.tsagkaris, Filippos Vogdanis @philip.vogdanis
Hair by Filippos Vogdanis @philip.vogdanis
Models Christina Smerou @xkristeena, Lexi @lexisavv, Agapi Brooks @agapapibrooks