Couture SS16: Dramatic, Classical Beauty

Blood stained lips, eyes lined like the ancients and flowing braids are all aspects of 2016’s spring couture season, which posed dramatic beauty looks that beguiled and enticed. Though some visages looked ethereal while others had a wanton air, and all were done by the world’s top professional makeup artists, they were surprisingly adaptable to homespun interpretations. Read below to see how our favorite trends were created and become inspired by classical beauty.

Highlighting at Valentino – Pat McGrath’s beauty at Valentino is stunning, a look that requires patience (and perhaps practice) but appears effortless when done right. With precise placement of highlighting cream and bronzer, she focused cheekbones and recessed eyes for a dreamy, goddess-apres-repose effect. An earth-tone, cream-based shadow surrounding the eye is a good place to start. Brush brows for a naturally-groomed look. Use highlighter on the bridge of your nose, the bows of your lips, corners of your eyes, chin and center of your forehead. Peach lips and bronzed blush finish the composition.Try Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow, Suede and Nars Illuminator, Copacabana,


Braids at Valentino – Little is easier than naturally tousled plaits, and it’s a look that can last more than one day. Feel free to pin your hair in a top bun overnight for a natural, textured wave. Next morning, make one braid at each temple, pin together in the center back of your crown, and use extra pins to secure them on each side. Golden snake headpiece optional.


Eyes at Chanel – The cat eye is notoriously difficult to execute flawlessly. One needs a steady hand and close vision to know when and where to stop, and how much to fill in. This dramatic eye at Chanel is somewhat easier, though at first glance looks more complex. You need only to follow the general shape of the eye underneath the brow, forgoing the complication of folded lids or calligraphy-thin perfection. A similar line below the bottom lid, and you’re finished. No wonder the ancient Egyptians adopted the style on a day-to-day basis.  Use: Ciate London Chisel Liner High Definition Tip


Lips at Dior – Layering lipstick colors for dual-shaded highlights has become a favorite of professional artists at editorial shoots. It’s not surprising to see it at couture week. And this version is so good. A true red (like Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Rouge Rock) is given depth with a dab of burgundy at the center. Only matte textures will suffice. Use classic application techniques for lining and the base shade. Forgo highlighting lip edges with concealer, for subtle bleed effect. Use a sponge or fingertip to apply the second, darker shade.

Glossy Nude at Versace – Versace is always our beacon of alluring glamor, and this season was no different. Classic vamp looks were on parade with smoky eyes and a subtle twist on a downplayed lip. Rather than attempt to make them disappear altogether, to bring focus to the eyes, Pat McGrath used a satin nude on lips (like Givenchy Rouge Interdit Satin Lipstick)

Ribbons at Ralph & Russo – We loved the simple, pink ribbon at Ralph & Russo, a ballerina inspired look is never out of style, always elegant. Feel free to tease your crown for the medium-thick ribbon you’ll wrap around and tie in a bow at the nape of your neck.

About the Author

Marisa has penned articles and features in over a dozen online and print publications. She's worked as fashion critic and creative director for, been the managing editor for Caribbean-based Ocean Style Magazine, and worked with Set Magazine, a luxury lifestyle publication based in Zurich, as a contributing editor. Based in New York, she is a freelance fashion and cultural copywriter, editor and reporter. You can find out more at her site and follow her on Twitter @mraswan.