Painting your face can be synonymous with overdone makeup, but at some Fall 2015 fashion week shows, the term had a whole new meaning. Instead of using the fine-point tip of an eye liner to create a dramatic eye, designer make up teams used chalky pen edges to trace designs across models' cheekbones and foreheads. From face tattoos to floral appliqués to eye-catching optical illusions, the face was an open canvas for designers.
Just have a look at this week's Jacquemus collection: rather than models' faces being beat to capacity, the ladies were reportedly made up to look like "children who raid their mothers’ dressing tables". Crude face drawings in eyeliner and lipstick adorned their cheeks, making the models look, well, two-faced. The #surrealistbeautygoals Jacquemus was achieving were hardly in line with the heavily done-up conturing trend that is sweeping across make-up counters these days.
But there's more: As Fashionista reported, there were too-delicate-to-be-menacing face tattoos at the Giamba fashion show just last week. Small designs of stars, crosses, and rams horns were applied to the freshly scrubbed cheeks of the show's models — the edgy etchings playing against the carefree floral designs of the collection.
Meanwhile, punk doyenne Vivienne Westwood literally smeared strokes of red and black paint across the faces of her models in London just last week. Westwood has long been bending and flouting the rules of fashion and beauty, though: last season she splashed graffiti across the bare mugs of her models, so this is kind of within her wheelhouse.
The whimsical floral appliqués at Simone Rocha — nimbly placed across cheeks and foreheads — seemed like a fun deviation from all-over concealer.
The Ziggy Stardust face paint and bubble lettering face doodles at Mary Benson were one part '70s glam rock and one part in-class sketches.
Or how about the Midas Touch that Rick Owens brushed across the faces of his Fall 2015 models? Gilding the 14 ladies in gold leaf, the process reportedly took an hour and a half to apply, hardening the skin to a point where models couldn't even crack a smile.
And don't forget the war paint Gareth Pugh splashed across the army of models he sent trudging along his catwalk. Hardly subtle, it's not necessarily the stand-in for rouge that the modern woman is looking for to complete her lewk.
Speaking of war paint, singer FKA Twigs has been brazenly embellishing her face with linear designs to help take on performances and get into character, explaining to Style.com, "When I went on stage, I felt like I craved war paint so I could stomp through my shows." Creating a "tribal warrior/punk chic" look, Twigs' delicate sketches of lines, stripes, and dots across her chin and forehead make a strong of a statement. In fact, as the article suggests, the faint strokes could be inspiration for Saturday night going out beauty.
Of course, whether regular, non-runway walking women are up for face doodles, tattoos, and floral appliqués as part of our daily make up routine has yet to be determined. But I like the idea that conturing isn't the only beauty game in town.
Images via Getty.
Marjon Carlos is a style and culture writer for Fusion who boasts a strong turtleneck game and opinions on the subjects of fashion, gender, race, pop culture, and men's footwear.