Runway Fantasy: 3 Epic Makeup Looks to Try This Spring

Welcome to spring, friends! My, how things have changed since this time last year. Though it’s far from the most pivotal shift we’ve seen over the last 365 days or so, it goes without saying that the way we take in all the sartorial splendor and the enviable beauty looks at fashion shows now looks quite different. Without the up-close and personal peeks we’re typically able to get via behind-the-scenes snippets from designers and the artists who help bring their shows to life, the ritual of deep-diving into backstage beauty details to identify trends for the coming season has all but ceased.

Luckily, we’re a resourceful bunch and devised the perfect work-around. We may not have had the usual bevy of IRL beauty details from September’s spring shows, but we did one better by calling in three of our all-time favorite celebrity makeup artists—William Scott, Danessa Myricks, and Jenna Kristina—to create makeup looks for their fantasy runway show. The rules? None! The possibilities? Endless! Keep scrolling to check out the fantastical looks each of these visionaries dreamed up to fill your mood boards with all the spring makeup inspiration you could need.

What was your inspiration for the look?

I have been reading a lot of sci-fi by Octavia Butler and thinking about Afrofuturism and how I could bring a bit of that future feeling to today, and I am generally yearning for flowers and greener weather, so this feels like a blend of those two spaces in my mind. 

What are three to five adjectives you’d use to describe the look?

Bright, geometric, juicy, party ready.

Do you have experience working backstage at fashion shows? If so, what is your favorite or least favorite part of creating runway looks?

Yes, I have a few years of experience working backstage at shows, and I have always loved them. Fashion month feels a lot like a tournament, wherein the artist backstage is the athlete doing their best and testing their skills and all the knowledge they have gained by working on many faces back-to-back and for days on end. It’s great practice because you can have a learning moment at any point in the day and have the opportunity to apply within a few hours. I have yet to be the key makeup artist at a fashion show, but I look forward to that next level of a challenge!

What is your favorite fashion week city? Why?

 My favorite city for fashion week might be New York City because it is my home turf, and I find that the up-and-coming designers showing there are making forward-thinking clothes that people want to wear. They dress the many and ever-progressing identities I see on the street and give us all ammunition to step up our casual. The ultimate runway inspiration is one you can take right to the street, and NY designers always deliver on that. 

What do you love about runway makeup, and what differentiates it from red carpet and editorial? 

I love runway makeup because the whole show is about encapsulating a character, a protagonist, and describing them in vivid detail. It is a wonderful collaboration between many artists. Editorial is not so different from that in ideology, just very different in execution. But red carpet makeup is all about making the individual wearing it look however they feel they should look for the event.

Step 1: Draw white eyeliner along the inner corner of the eye—from just under the tear duct, around, and up along the upper lash line to about halfway across the eye. Lift and continue the line of the lash line from the outside of the iris out to the corner of the eye socket, toward the tail of the brow. Diffuse the end of the line with a small cotton bud.

Step 2: Apply your choice of eye shadow color over the white pencil with a fine-tip brush.

Step 3: Take a deep contrasting-colored eye pencil (in my case, a deep green) and draw a tapering along the lower lash line from the outer corner to about the center of the eye, wherever is most flattering. Extend the line from the outer corner out and slightly upward toward the tail of the brow, creating a squared tail shape. 

Step 4: Press matching eye shadow over the lower liner shape. Clean edges with small cotton bud. 

Step 5: Push a peach/orange-toned shadow or blush through the central/inner half of your eye socket and slightly onto the lid. Connect this color to the front of the brow with a middle finger–sized touch of a cool-toned pink to contrast. 

Step 6: Use the same tones on your cheek—applying a fingertip-sized amount of the cool-toned pink where a cheek highlight would be—and diffuse that color with the peach/orange-toned color along the top of the cheek. 

Step 7: Perfect the skin.

Step 8: Apply lip gloss.

What was your inspiration for the look?  

I was imagining an interplanetary catwalk of the future. A runway of alien beauties!

What are three to five adjectives you’d use to describe the look?

Multidimensional, electric, otherworldly, explosive color. 

Do you have experience working backstage at fashion shows? If so, what is your favorite or least favorite part of creating runway looks?

Yes, I’ve had the experience of working fashion week, and I really enjoyed it. My least favorite part is the chaos and the frenzy. My favorite part is the rush you get from seeing the vision of the designer come to life on the runway—hearing the pulse of the music, the lights going on, and the fantasy and the storytelling beginning.

What is your favorite fashion week city? Why?

I love New York Fashion Week. New York has an unduplicatable, undeniable pulse that just feels so good, and the people you see and meet will never fail to surprise and delight!

One of my favorite fashion weeks was when I keyed a Serena Williams show alongside esteemed artist James Vincent. I did the makeup on the model opening the show. Serena is such a strong, powerful woman who is so clear on what she wants. I have so much admiration for who she is and what she has created. I remember watching her studying the makeup very intensely. Every celebrity you can imagine was both front row and fighting for position backstage, from Anna Wintour, Kim Kardashian, and more. At the end of the show, Serena graciously took photos and took the time to thank the artists involved. She gave me the biggest hug and whispered in my ear, “You are amazing.”  I’ll never forget that day!

What do you love about runway makeup, and what differentiates it from red carpet and editorial?

Although I have love for all styles of makeup, for me, there is such a different energy that comes from seeing makeup as part of a story—walking, breathing, and living right in front of you. It’s the difference between reading a fairy tale vs. living inside one! In a photograph, you can mentally transport yourself to a space in time communicated through makeup and fashion, and that can be very cool. Seeing it living and moving is such a different experience. You feel it and connect with it on a much deeper level!

This look was all about the dimensional layering of texture and color. What I love most about it is that there are so many points throughout the application that are stand-alone looks as well. I imagined a fashion show lineup where, no matter when in the process a model got pulled from the makeup chair, the look would be magic! The final, fully executed look is not only beautiful but has an epic surprise-finale moment as well!

Step 1: Laying the foundation.The foundation of the look is a beautifully crafted complexion. The face is shaped and sculpted with a radiant glow. Underpainting with glow is the key to creating this lit-from-within radiance. For this, I used my favorite go-to, Danessa Myricks Beauty’s Illuminating Veil. To naturally sculpt the face with the most undetectable contour, I applied Balm Contour with a dense, fluffy brush.

Step 2: Constructing the color story.I imagined a tapestry of vibrant color in multiple shades. I buffed and layered on a variety of bold, vivid colors in water-paint styles. I used the Waterproof Cream Vivid Palette for all of the base colors. It is on this layer that I added the surprise element, neon color at the temples and tops of the cheeks using neon yellow and orange. The magic ingredients were Colorfix in UFO and Wasabi and Cushion Color in Electric Sun and Totally Tangerine.

Step 3: Layering dimensional textures and defining the eyes. I first created a structured smoky eye using Colorfix in Wild Orchid and Lollipop. Next, I layered on explosive metallic, multichrome pigment to bring the electric element to the lids. Twin Flames in Adore U added that perfect magical, metallic touch. Next, I stippled the neon yellow neon tone through the eye and again around the temples.

Step 4: Layering reflective color. Next, using an assortment of Twin Flames shades, I stippled these metallic, dimensional pops of color throughout the lid and temples for more color intensity, with the metallic finish creating the illusion of flecks of light. I used a stippling sponge to tap on the color on the face and the body. This helps to create this multidimensional, layered effect. It creates the illusion that the color is floating.

The Finale: Although this color story can definitely live beautifully on its own, when hit with black light, the look quickly becomes otherworldly!

What was your inspiration for the look?

I pulled inspo from the S/S 20 Fendi show. I loved how approachable and fun that look was. It gave me “‘90s club kid” vibes. I love anything with a nod to the ‘90s.

What are three to five adjectives you’d use to describe the look?

Fun, approachable, joyful, sparkly, sexy.

Do you have experience working backstage at fashion shows? If so, what is your favorite or least favorite part of creating runway looks?

I actually have never done a runway show, but I do research on the most recent beauty looks from the shows and use them for inspiration for my red carpet clients.

What is your favorite fashion week city? Why?

I love NYC because I get to be with my Maybelline family, but there’s truly nothing like Paris Fashion Week. The second I land in Paris, my face is ear-to-ear smiles. I love the shows, the parties, the food. It’s a city that has beauty in every facet. There is just so much history there, so the inspiration is endless.

What do you love about runway makeup, and what differentiates it from red carpet and editorial?

I love the rawness of runway and the stories they create around the designer’s inspiration for the collection. Red carpet tends to be a little more approachable and less fantasy. But of course, everything is circumstantial.

Step 1: I started with doing my brows a little thinner than I do them on the regular.

Step 2: Another really important step was to really carve out my face, adding extra-dramatic contour using Maybelline City Bronzer ($10) in 200.

Step 3: I drew the cat eye with a pencil first, dragging the shape out to a cat eye with a small brush. I then went over it with a liquid liner so that it was super-deep black.

Step 4: Before I applied the glitter under the eye, I used Rituel de Fille cream shadow. It helped add dimension as well as creating a wet base.