Beauty trend: the London Look

Winged eyeliner, fluttery eyelashes, nude lipsticks, divisive hair-dos and Twiggy; it was called Swinging Sixties for a reason.

Fashion’s obsession with the past decades is not a new concept. Drawing inspiration from former years is a must and this trend isn’t anticipating abatement just yet. As a result of which, the flirtatious graphics and feminine silhouettes of the sixties have baited numerous designers’ upcoming collections for spring 2012.

Minimalistic classicism is now being served with an innovative and modern twist. If you haven’t checked out our detailed trend report about 1960s fashion, then follow that link to read it all. But this month, is celebrating make-up in all its glory, so it’s only fair to put the overstated eyelashes back in the limelight for maximum admiration from you.

After the break, continue reading to find out why this era’s look gained fame, how certain British brands are interpreting it, and golden how-to tips for now and into 2012.

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 burberry beauty london look
Dewy skin and defined eye sockets are the foundations of a London Look, according to Burberry Beauty.

The London Look: going back in time

Mary Quant, Jackie Kennedy and Jane Birkin were only some of the famous names that lead the way for fashion and beauty during the mod ‘60s. During their times, things were done differently. Matching hues of the makeup to the dress, curling only certain portions of the hair and, always, donning thick black eyeliner, made up for some old-fashioned tips and tricks. All British women associated themselves with Twiggy’s signature beauty look, ironically, one that was inimitable. Tailors were harassed to recreate sheath dresses and ladylike make-up was decoded at beauty counters.

But one particular store on Regent Street witnessed a stampede when the subtle whisper of the word, “cosmetics”, fluttered in the air. Iconic British brand, Rimmel London, started waving the ‘London look’ flag in 1834, and haven’t stopped since.

“Twiggy was in England. So everything about Rimmel was about England. It spoke to British women before it did to the world. It didn’t matter what trend the brand dictated, women blindly followed,” said Lauren Brown, Rimmel’s make-up artist.

rimmel beauty london look
Rimmel’s dramatic eyeshadow adds a mod twist.

And truly so, the brand celebrated British beauty like no other, and come 2011, it continues to bear the legacy. The make-up giant has launched an exclusive lipstick collection with Kate Moss who’s an epitome of British beauty. With a collaboration so apt, how could the Swinging Sixties not make a comeback?

Some key beauty looks from the 1960s

All the focus was on eye make-up and hairstyles. The lips were left nude and matte. Rimmel’s Brown says the Sixties thrived on monochromatic tones. “Everything was black and white; colour was a rare occurrence on make-up palettes. Unless you talk about Audrey Hepburn, of course.” Eyelashes on the lower lid were as prominent as their sister lashes on the upper lid. “Once again, Twiggy made this a fad and the sale of individual false lashes blew off the roof,” says Brown.

Thin and neatly curved eyebrows created an outline for the dramatic eyeliner.

The London Look: how to wear it now

Adding quintessential Britishness to make-up counters, in 2010, Burberry Beauty launched itself as a fun and easy-to-use luxurious make-up brand. Contradictory it may sound, but all of a sudden, liquid foundation looked more approachable and a hibiscus-shade lipstick didn’t cause beauty trauma among women.

Despite being spread across 45 countries, these British-born labels are staying true to their roots, comfortably cold in fancy London town. Undoubtedly, pop culture’s interpretation, notably popularised by Mad Men’s Betty Draper, has added the much-needed va-va-voom to the look. To match the sixties fashion, women are willing to experiment with the make-up as well.

Here are tips from Burberry Beauty’s colour specialist in Australia, Marie Blake, on how you can master the London look with zilch travel cost.

  • Dewy skin as base:
    The main product used in all Burberry campaigns is Fresh Glow. “It gives the skin a natural, dewy look. The base should be fresh with natural glamour,” says Blake.

burberry beauty fresh glow
Backstage with Burberry Beauty.

  • Strong eyeliner – only on the upper lid:
    Blake recommends leaving the lower lid pale. This would give a wide, round-eyed look.
    “Only on the upper lid – apply a thick and bold streak of liquid eyeliner close to the lash line.” Towards the end, remember to flick it up and out, but think cat-eyes not Cleopatra. For a colourful alternative see our bold liquid liner how-to.
  • Darken and define eye sockets:
    Blake says, “Instead of dusting the whole eyelid with a wash a colour, concentrate it in the socket line and blend the colour up towards the brows. Keep the base a husky brown, khaki or beige.
  • Experiment with colours:
    The modern Sixties beauty calls for splashes of colour. “Blueberry, peach, blush, soft pink are the top colours for spring 2012,” says Blake.
  • Always apply mascara:
    Curl lashes first with a heated curler. Apply mascara to lower lashes first, but only on outer corner. Then apply to top lashes, in a wiggle motion, going all the way toward the inner corners of the eye.
  • Neat hair:
    Create a side part, backcomb the area at the crown and softly sweep the rest of the hair across the other side.

Burberry’s iconic runway look is the perfect combination of soft lip colour, a darkened eye socket, and lashings of mascara. This look keeps things natural and modern; though to up the ‘London Look’ ante some extra eyeliner or false lashes can also be added. For a tutorial on how to get Burberry’s “iconic runway look”, hit play on the video below.

Want to know more?

For our growing bible of makeup and beauty trends, including how-to guides and tutorials, visit that link.

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