LUCY COFFEY looks at re-interpreting the quintessentially scary this Halloween
In many ways October is a month of 180 degree angles. The weather suddenly kicks from mild to freezing, you go from having minimal work to masses of midterms, and for one night you find yourself unwrapping the warm jumpers you’ve just begun to don, to traipse through town in nylon bodysuits stretched to breaking point. Indeed, Halloween is the one night when people actively work at finding that perfect wardrobe balance between Elle Woods and Vivian Kensington, instead of being most firmly one or the other. However, in recent years many people have been opting for the third alternative which is neither sexy nor silly: actually scary. In this spirit, OTwo has looked at how make-up artists put spins on classical and sexy looks.
One of the oldest and all-enduring looks to rise through the years has been the Vampire. A staple for Halloween goers, the ghastly white pallor, bloody red lips and soul absorbing eyes are recreated on Jessica with one all-deciding change. Instead of making her face chalky, foundation and white face paint were blended together on her skin to add a luminescence that draws attention to the sharpness of her cheekbones as well as making her eyes more distinct. Purple eyeshadow, applied in a banded technique reminiscent of the Chanel 2015 walk at PFW, draws attention to the dusky plum-coloured cat eye built around her lid and contrasts the bloody streaks falling from her waterline to the apples of her cheeks.
The supreme vampire element, the blood red lip, has been deepened with an alluring purple hue – perfect for snapping up any prey you might come across. The key change that strays from the typical vampire look is the softness of Jessica’s foundation. It allows the rest of her features to stand bright and strong – one thing the usual stark white face paint look doesn’t permit. By keeping your base subtle but fair you allow yourself a lot more freedom to play up your truly startling features.
Similarly, when dealing with one of the other most popular guises, the Mermaid, we looked at how you can blend the surreal and the actual to make a stunning contrast. As the quote goes, ‘Rainbows and mermaids are proof that imagination and beauty go hand in hand’. In the spirit of this we’ve taken aspects of Aquarian colour and supernatural visage and combined them into a cool contrast that serves to both update and revitalise a somewhat tired look. Valerie wears a lightly applied base but her cheeks have been contoured with a light blue powder and accented with purple in a fishnet pattern. This breaks up the look into individual scales that pop and blend together in a bright shimmer. This technique was repeated in a soft triangle on her forehead which extends from the base of her hairline to just above her eyebrows. This binds the look together and gives symmetry to her features, while a slightly deeper blue serves to set her eyes apart and adds depth to the overall look. The key change in this look is the lip colour. Many would opt for a blue or green as a lip-finish but instead a soft pink was chosen and then a gold sheen was spread over the bow and centre of the lip. This adds a warmth and subtle sexiness to a look and is especially vital, as blue or green has the capacity to sometimes make the wearer look bloated instead of brilliant. It’s through the use of subtle shimmer that the look communicates an oceanic and fairy-tale vibe without making the wearer look two-dimensional.
The final look re-imagined for this series was the Pierrot or Clown look. Inspired by John Caglione’s imagining of the Joker in The Dark Knight, we looked at erasing the hilarity usually associated with the look and instead concentrated on the scary underside of the smile. Completely eradicating the lines of his face, Dan was painted an alabaster white from his jawline to forehead with his eyebrows whited out to separate any indicators of emotion. Black paint and powder was then worked into the hollows of his eyes and blurred at the edges to create void that would provide a startle point on his eyes. The grand finish was the application of a bloody Glasgow smile over the edges of Dan’s beard to give an uneven and sinister end to a truly terrifying look. The key change from Heath Ledger’s look lies not in the make-up but rather in the set of the hair. It looks at both the modern version of the Joker and older applications of the Joker’s look, as can be seen in the asymmetrical sit of the hair – one side appears to have been attempted to be flattened while the rest is buoyed up with gel and grease. This adds to the instability of the look as well as questioning the character of the wearer.
Truly terrifying, there is far too much of a gap between Dan’s look and the happy-go-lucky clowns of yore to make any real comparison. In fact, the ingenuity of makeup artists worldwide has caused more than a resurgence of scary in recent Halloweens. It has created a gap that puts the tacky and silly looks of the past so far behind that we can no longer see them as having any real relevance in a world of vampire queens, mermaid seductresses and dark clowns. The bump in the dark is back and the question is no longer ‘What will I be?’ but rather, ‘How will I be?’