Designer Impostor: A High Fashion Look from the Marc Jacobs Runway

Published in: Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To

Today EV of Almost Daily Inspiration shares a wild runway look inspired by Francois Nars.

Hi, folks! I thought I’d try something a little different for you all and offer up a tutorial for my version of a wild runway look created by Francois Nars. It’s not exactly what you’d call “work appropriate,” but as Nars himself said, “You want to play with makeup.” So let’s have some fun, shall we?


First, a little background. Allow me to take you back to February’s Fall 2009 New York Fashion Week. Sure, most of the clothes were boring (thanks, recession-inspired conservatism!), but the makeup was consistently incredible: gray lips, fierce smoky eyes, and splashes of neon all made an appearance. And the absolute biggest, juiciest beauty story of the week was Francois Nars’ return to the runway after 10 years. He was lured back by none other than the wildly creative Marc Jacobs (he of the blue hair and the man skirts and the in-your-face attitude) and his collection of ’80s club-kid clothes. Nars was so inspired, in fact, that he took on the challenge of designing individual looks for all 60 models in the show. Wow.

Each look started with a bold black eye shape, which was then paired with a splash of whatever color he felt would best bring out the model’s features. Check it out:

pic-1-1, photo by Greg Kessler

Such simple shapes and colors yet with a major impact. While purusing the show’s gallery on (which I highly recommend doing, by the way), I found myself totally fixated on this red, orange, and black exaggerated cat eye.

pic-2-1, photo by Greg Kessler

Of course I had to try it on, so this is the basic look we’ll be working from for the tutorial.

Products used

  • Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • MAC Paint Pot in Painterly (nude tan)
  • Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner pencil in Zero (black)
  • MAC eye shadow in Firespot (vivid orange with gold and red undertones)
  • Aromaleigh loose pigment in Helterskelter (rich red with a little sparkle)
  • Fyrinnae loose pigment in Fool’s Gold (true gold with sparkle)
  • Urban Decay eye shadow in Zero (shimmering black)
  • DuWop Payoff Eyeshadow Intensifier
  • Dior Iconic Mascara
  • CARGO The Reverse lip liner (fair-nude skin tone)
  • MAC lipstick in Dubonnet (deep claret red)
  • MAC lipstick in Ladybug (bright true red)

Tools used

  • Posh smudger brush (sponge tip smudger)
  • MAC 239 (firm bristled eye shader brush)
  • MAC 219 (firm bristled pencil brush)
  • MAC 224 (soft tapered blending brush)
  • MAC 266 (small angle brush)
  • MAC 187 (duo fiber “skunk” brush)
  • Sephora retractable lip brush

Let’s start with the basics

I apply a thin layer of Urban Decay Primer Potion with my fingers, and let it dry. Now, the secret to doing crazy exaggerrated looks like this one is giving yourself a map to follow.

Break down the individual components of the look, and pay attention to where the lines begin, end, and curve. I like to cheat a little and play connect the dots: I use my Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Zero to place small marks at the outside points of the wing I want to create. This way, I can make sure I’m happy with the placement before I go and smear ten pounds of black paint on my face. Here is the basic layout of my wing:


I want this black to be intense, so I’m going to apply a base layer of color by using Zero to shade in the whole shape. You could also use Blackground Paint Pot or even a shadestick for this step, but I prefer the Urban Decay pencils as bases because they’re easy to control and blend for precise work like this. With my weapon of choice, I carefully connect the dots to outline the shape of the wing, and then use the side of the pencil to shade in one patch at a time. I use my Posh smudger brush to blend the shaded patches together. It now looks like this:


You don’t need to be concerned about uneven color saturation or perfect lines at this point; we’ll go over it again later. Think of this as your rough draft wing.

Now for the color!

First, I use my finger to apply MAC Paint Pot in Painterly from my crease, up to my browbone, and out to my temple to even out any discoloration and provide a sticky base for the shadows. With the 239 shader brush, I apply MAC Firespot eye shadow starting at my crease (where the black wing ends) and extending a little above my eyebrow and out to my temple, following the curves of the wing. You want to build the color slowly, and blend out your edges so the color fades in to your skin.


Aromaleigh’s Helterskelter is really an amazing color, and I highly recommend picking it up! The technique for using loose mineral shadows is the same as for pigments: use a dense, firm brush (like the 239 or 252), and “pack” or “dab” the shadow on to your eye rather than swiping it. Work slowly and gently, and you won’t have any fallout to clean up.

Using my 239 brush, I pat Helterskelter on top of Firespot, concentrating on the inner and outer corners of the shape I’ve created with the orange. Then, I pat a tiny bit of Fyrinnae Fool’s Gold on top of Firespot in the center of each browbone, just to brighten up the look a bit. I blend the three colors and all the outer edges with the 224 blender brush. Use a very light hand here because you don’t want to make the color disappear!


Now let’s go back and clean up the black

I add a drop of Duwop Payoff to my Urban Decay Zero eye shadow pan, and let the liquid sink in. (Payoff is a great product for getting the wet application look but with much better staying power!) Using my 219 pencil brush and working slowly, I shade in the black wing and clean up my edges. I wanted to leave it a bit smokey, but you could go over the outer edges with a black gel or pencil liner if you prefer a sharper look.

I black out my brows…

…with my 266 angled brush and the Urban Decay Zero shadow. You want to exaggerate your brow shape a little bit, but without making it look too fake. The trick is to focus on drawing a sharp line at the bottom of your brows from the inner to the outer corner, then flick and blend the color up through your brows with your brush.

Dior Iconic Mascara

Last step is some Dior Iconic Mascara, and we’re done with the eyes! This photo is taken with flash to better show off the colors.


Finishing the look

The rest of the face is pretty basic. I do a verrrry light sweep of Helterskelter across my cheekbones with the 187 and blend well. For the lips, I’ve mixed two red MAC lipsticks to get a glossy, deep red pout. Using the Sephora lip brush, I first apply Dubonnet, then gently dab Ladybug on top. When wearing lipstick, I like to sharpen up my lip line by applying a quick swipe of CARGO’s The Reverse lip liner all around the edges, and then blending it in. It isn’t necessary, but it helps my red lips “pop.”

Here’s the finished look! This is my best disaffected model vacant stare:



Okay, Miss Tyra would totally yell at me for losing my neck, but you have to admit that’s a pretty fierce cat eye!

Sure, this is in no way an everday look, but I still encourage all of you to break out the most colorful shadows in your makeup kits and try it out! It doesn’t really matter if you just wear it around the living room and practice your runway strut for your cats; just think about how badass you’ll feel with a fearless splash of color on your lids.

On that note, I’d like to leave you with one of my favorite warm and fuzzy quotes about beauty, which just happens to be from Francois Nars: “Follow your instinct. Wear whatever makes you happy. Mix and blend and mix some more.” That may as well be my makeup mantra. You don’t need to be a master of blending or own 387 colors of eye shadow; you just need instinct and attitude and colors that make you happy!

This post was written by EV, who blogs about makeup and makeup artistry at Almost Daily Inspiration. When she isn’t finding killer deals on the interwebz, she’s working as a research assistant at a breast cancer clinic, drooling over Urban Decay and MAC, or playing with her two kitty kids.


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So far, 21 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Janeve Yeh says:

    WOW! I love these bold looks (though my mother would probably say that i look more like a freak than anything else!) these looks just pop out even more when you don’t see it everyday…it is truly a work of art!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janeve Yeh,

      I agree! I love really arty looks — I wish I had the guts to wear ’em out in public.

      Hope you’re having a nice weekend so far. 🙂

  2. Solé says:

    Ooh, this is fun! I can see myself doing this for Halloween or some other occasion where I get to dress up all crazy-like. I might add some wild false eyelashes for even more drama. I’m wondering if the black leaves any pigment behind even if you use primer. You have beautiful skin, by the way. 🙂

  3. EV says:

    Aww, thanks ladies!! **blush**

    Sole: Some black and red false lashes would totally rock! The black was a pain to get off–I think I used like four cotton balls soaked with my L’Oreal makeup remover–but it doesn’t leave any pigment behind the next day as long as you’re careful.

    EV´s last blog post..i’m internet famous!

  4. Elle says:

    This is an awesome look. Thanks for sharing! I’ve always wanted to know how to do something like this!

  5. Jenna says:

    That IS awesome! You look like a superhero!!!

  6. Michele says:

    Hey- Michele chiming in. i just wanted to say i read some interesing stuff about
    Shu Eumura (sp is wrong I know). He was the only male in his make-up school class. He did Shirley MacLaine’s make-up in the moveie “My Geisha”. The head makeup artist became ill, he took over and the rest is history.
    He started his co. in Japan, died in 1998. If you go to the website, you can read all about him.
    I find things like that intersing. i never even knew he was a man,
    Think great thoughts- and wear lipstick everyday!
    Happy Sunday!

  7. EV says:

    Hey Michele! I’m a big fan of Shu Uemura’s life story too 🙂 I read that he used to do actual stage shows of putting makeup on model’s faces, definitely one of the first people to take makeup artistry that far in the “artistry” direction!

    EV´s last blog post..i’m internet famous!

  8. heyhey says:

    Siouxsie Sue, is that you?

    That’s awesome. I wish I had occassion to rock this look.

  9. Nicole15 says:

    Absolute art EV! You really have an amazing talent. I love this look & really hope to get the chance to try it out myself. My pop of color may be purple or teal as I love both these colors on my eyes. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nicole15,

      That’s a fantastic idea! I can see EV’s look with a ton of fab colors. I want to try it with a bright yellow or neon green.

  10. DanielleO says:

    Drawing a map – connecting the dots – great tips, and a great look! Thanks!

  11. Stef says:

    Killer look Ev, nice job! I wish I had somewhere to rock this too. Maybe groceries tomorrow? That will give the bitties in my town something to talk about!

    Stef´s last blog post..Whole lot of web love – Sexy People

  12. EV says:

    Hey all! Thanks so much for all the sweet comments 🙂 And I very much encourage wearing crazy eyes to the grocery store!

    EV´s last blog post..the lazy red lip

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