the best beauty looks from couture

From frothy quiffs to glitter-coated foreheads, subtlety is officially dead.

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24 January 2019, 8:00am

Chanel and Christian Dior, via Instagram

As per usual, the couture shows have been a (sometimes literal) circus of over-the-top frivolity and lavishness, and that was just the clothes. But while we wait for the payrise that will permit investments such as Chanel’s jewel-encrusted bodysuits, Dior’s circus-inspired organza dresses or Clare Waight Keller’s metallic gowns at Givenchy, we’ll have to settle for recreating the equally theatrical -- but way, way cheaper -- hair and make-up looks instead. Here’s five of the most extravagant beauty looks from the couture shows.

Chanel
Chanel’s set might have transported us to a dreamy Mediterranean villa in the height of summer, but with a backcomb brush in his hand, Sam McKnight’s mind wandered elsewhere. His vision? To blend “19th century romance and Bowie’s Blitz Kids”, and boy did he deliver. He coiffed hair into triple-height quiffs that had a level of froth and majesty Marie Antoinette would have been proud of, but with the edge and attitude synonymous with the early 80s club scene.

Christian Dior
Thankfully, Dior’s clowns were the stuff of dreams, not nightmares. Inspired by the get-up of old-school harlequins, make-up artist Peter Philips sketched diamond-shaped drops under the eyes in slightly smoky kohl pencil. If it wasn’t for the pomp and grandeur of the big tent overhead, as well as the sparkly bonnets and face nets, the look totally could have passed for something out of punk’s heyday.

Givenchy
We knew we could count on make-up visionary Pat McGrath to raise the beauty stakes when she got her hands on the models at Givenchy. Less valiant artists might have simply patted on a little glitter eyeshadow and been done with it, but not our Pat. She encircled model Cara Taylor's eyes and coated her forehead in silver paint before covering it in a load of holographic (and biodegradable, we would hope) glitter.

Maison Margiela
Styling hair that will stand out against a fluorescent, graffiti-covered runway is no mean feat, but as always, hairstylist Eugene Souleiman knew what to do: painting strands in a coordinating spectrum of rainbow shades before absolutely drenching them in salt spray. Over on make-up, genius Pat McGrath struck again, as she chose to cover the eye area in a thick white band, which, with its 3D frayed edges, looked like she’d plastered on and then ripped off bits of paper.

Giambattista Valli
If you’ve spent the last few years perfecting tiny, neat eyeliner wings, quit it now. As per make-up artist Val Garland’s instruction, it’s time to go bold. At Giambattista Valli, she extended razor-sharp flicks right up into the temples, as well as drawing the liner towards the bridge of the nose too. But without Garland’s eye and steady hand, how will I get my flicks even, you ask? Perhaps don’t even bother trying. Wonky eyeliner works too.