80s makingupthemagic.com
Posted in The Look

The Return of Fierce

Decades seem to be flashbacking. Is fashion going so fast that we can’t find new ideas? And the 80’s just peaked their shoulder pads right around the runway corner, and gaining speed. One of the most mis-quoted fashion and beauty periods is coming back for another review. So here’s my little guide to understanding the 8o’s!

The sixties were about freedom, and the seventies were about sexual liberation. In the 90’s it was rebellion and anti-fashion. But in the 80’s, it was all about power and success! Living large–and loving it! It seems that we’re still working on getting our full freedom, our power, and our sexual liberation… and let’s not forget success. It seems we’re stuck in a fashion groundhog day because we haven’t fully graduated from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

But let’s get back to the 80’s. Back then, I was a tween, and it was all about women coming into their power in the workplace, and in society. Although feminism emerged in the 70’s, it was only a topic of discussion, a polite dinner party theory. In reality, the workplace was a jungle, women needed to look powerful, or what editors now call: Power Dressing. There was also a big appropriation of masculine traits, to create the female equivalent of the business man: Superwoman. Jackets, sweaters and coats got outfitted with big shoulder pads as a symbol of strength. Brows got big and boyish, and lot’s of big hair, teased into a lion’s mane! It was about taking up space, and not being a demure lady, but a powerful woman!

Although the concept of the Femme Fatale was around since the thirties, fashion decided to re-invent her smoldering attitude. A lot of designers were taking a big page from the film noir screen sirens that pulled out guns out of their purses, and had no qualms about getting what they wanted (that’s also where those shoulder pads came from). There is often that dangerous, edgy look to women in fashion magazine editorials.

With her big shoulder pads and balsy attitude Joan Crawford was an 80's inspiration.
Her big shoulder pads, and ballsy attitude, made Joan Crawford a big 80’s inspo.

Androgyny was also  having a big moment, from Prince, and Boy George, to Michael Jackson and Annie Lennox (Eurythmics), they were all having fierce fun with makeup. But it wasn’t about shock tactics, it was more about blurring the lines and leveling the field, and having a lot of fun. It was the first time gender dynamics were explored, and feminist theory was put to the test–in the real world!

Boyish looks and a Pricesss, Stephanie de Monaco in the 80s
Boyish and a Princess, Stephanie de Monaco was a poster child of the 80’s look.

Some of the classic movies of that decade are Working Gil, starring Melanie Griffith. Griffith plays a woman who wants to get to the top of the American corporate dream, and get her man, too, and that’s no other than Harrisson Ford (Indiana Jones). The actual makeup and hair still look great today, and so is the message: stay classy, but sassy!

Another fave movie is Flashdance. The dancing sequences are still inspirational! The styling, the makeup, and the hair, all give you an idea of what cool women actually looked like back then.  You could still take a lot of  those looks and put them on the streets, without any one batting a lash. Check out this dance sequence – it’s still slaying!

Casual dressing in the 80's by Flash Dance stars.
Casual dressing in the 80’s by Flashdance star Jennifer Beal.

The 80’s will always be remembered for being very colorful! Neon, bold hues were a huge trend… But sort of the way that people will look back to this time, and think that everyone was a contoured, highlighted and bronzed glam goddess (not)! It was the first time that makeup became such an individual statement, and it was bold, it was assertive, and in your face! You know that moment when you just discover how to contour, and you pack it on to see how far you can go?! Makeup artist were trying to see how many colours they could put on, and it got really garish! But there were also amazing artists like Way Bandy, who  defined many of the iconic 80’s looks for the covers of Vogue and … Cosmo who was the city girl’s handbook on surviving the jungle!

One of these looks, was the high-class vamp; big power shoulder, big belt, big dark smoky, and big blood-red lips. She made an appearance on Hedi Slimane’s fall 2016 parting collection at Saint Laurent. There was also a more youthful interpretation of 80’s style captured by Isabel Marant, who was looking back to her own teenage years. I liked the subtle punk undertones she gave to her clothes.


Photography Cesar Ochoa

Cesar, the photographer I work with, wanted to switch a few thing around. He wanted to work with colored gels on his studio lights, it added so many amazing tones to the makeup and it helped to create a night-time vibe.

I just love her wild curly hair, but she also has a very angelic quality about her, which makes for an interesting contrast. For the eye makeup, I wanted to match the bright forest green coat from Zara. I used a limited edition green kohl liner by Clarins, darkened with some of their Ombre Matte eyeshadow in Carbon. On the inner corners and above the liner I applied Kat Von D liner in pale Blue. I also used a lavender lipstick from CoverGirl on her cheeks, as blush, and on her brow bone–to create a transition colour (lavender is soooo 80’s). And to get the wild brow, I got the trick from PixieWoo, I used soap applied with a mascara wand, and some Anastasia Beverly Hills pomade to create the boyish, elongated hair strokes. The finishing touch was a hoop earring from Forever XXI.

80s makingupthemagic.com

For the second look I put her in a vintage hounds-tooth tunic that I found at Bazr de Ville, and we just let her hair loose and wind. Cesar put in a bit more light, so we could see the details of the eye makeup.

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Milly is another great model, we shot her for the Denis Gagnon SS2016 campaign, and ever since, I was obsessing to shoot her again for a beauty project. I love Afro-Punk, it has a very 80’s attitude, and I thought the style would suit her. On a side note: I don’t know why everyone just keeps going back to Grace Jones! There is a smorgasbord of amazing African-American women to choose from.

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I clashed a leopard-print coat from Zara with mesh shorts and sports bra from Forever XXI, and topped it off with glam hair and makeup courtesy of glittery Pink Reflects pigment by MAC, and a dark magenta lipstick from Revlon.

80s makingupthemagic.com

For the second look, Milly came up with this crazy mohawk hairstyle. I topped it with a bold orange cream stick pigment from Make Up For Ever on her lips to clash with the wild print top (from Zara) and a punk inspired liner.

That same Sunday we shot Anne-Marie. She was more in line with my Jerry Hall inspiration. Hall is one of the most iconic late-seventies/eighties fashion models. I liked the combination of blonde hair and cool tones, which is the quintessential 80’s palette!

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I started with a monochromatic smoky (inspired by the last days of disco) but I did it in grayish/mauve tones, all matte, to compliment her green eyes and match the dress (Forever XXI). I used a few limited edition palettes to create that fade to grey (wink, wink), but you can do it in any color that suits your eyes. Lips were coated with a nude gloss.

80s makingupthemagic.com

For the second look, I put on her these Chloé glasses I got from Antoine Laoun, a local eye-wear company that has a lot of designer frames. I removed the top part of the smoky and just kept the soft liner near the lashes. I mixed a Maybelline Blooming lipstick with a Dior gloss for the lips. I finished by waving her hair with a flat-iron. We asked Anne-Marie to keep flipping her locks to give the whole look that strong and sexy vibe.

80s makingupthemagic.com

Anne-Marie’s third look was sort of a fluke. I brought this see-through tunic from Zara, and I was hoping it would work on Milly, but it hadn’t. Cesar wanted to try it on Anne-Marie. He took one snap, and we all agreed: gorgeous! It’s the softest look of the editorial, yet it still worked. I added a swath of baby-blue in her crease, and we kept the same lips and hair. We added also some wind, it made it look very dreamy, soft focus-like, without the Vaseline!

All of the girls had amazing skin, so I chose not to put any foundation, and went in with some light concealer to keep everything looking fresh. I did some highlighting and contouring on Anne-Marie to keep in line with the disco look, mostly with orange and peach toned blushes.

Get a fresh looking contour : Use blush on your cheek, then place a highlight on the jaw-bone, blending it up into the hollow of cheek. This will make the hollow appear darker without using a contour. It’s more flattering on paler-complexions and those of us who have lighter coloured hair.