The Best Beauty Looks From the Spring Couture Shows

At the couture shows, one expects flair and drama. Beauty is an important part of any runway show, but it's taken to a different level in couture. It's either masterfully understated to let the clothes shine, or a literal extension of the couture pieces themselves. The Spring 2011 couture shows delivered flair in abundance. Yes, there were quiet and pretty moments, like at Elie Saab and Valentino. And Jean Paul Gaultier was kind of a hot mess, mixing Marcel waves, braids, and mohawks--though he did a magnificent elongated cat eye, so we’ll forgive him for the hair. A few trends emerged as well--some things to watch for in the upcoming A/W 2011 shows, perhaps? -Asian models: Givenchy used all Asian girls, as befitted the Japanese theme (though many weren’t Japanese). Elie Saab used three, all in a row and all dressed in red. Does two make a trend? We’ll see. -High blush to the temples: Chanel and Valentino both put blush in unnatural places (coincidentally not unlike Justin Bieber did at the Golden Globes). Start at the high cheek bone and blend to the lower orbital bone, then continue right up to the temples. Instant couture glow. -Cat eye with a twist: Chanel did a thick cat eye that cut up towards the brow rather than out horizontally. Dior did a double cat eye, with wings extending from both the upper and lower lids. Jean Paul Gaultier’s was a traditional shape, but exaggerated almost out to the hairline. So what were our favorite looks at the shows? Click through to find out.
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At the couture shows, one expects flair and drama. Beauty is an important part of any runway show, but it's taken to a different level in couture. It's either masterfully understated to let the clothes shine, or a literal extension of the couture pieces themselves. The Spring 2011 couture shows delivered flair in abundance. Yes, there were quiet and pretty moments, like at Elie Saab and Valentino. And Jean Paul Gaultier was kind of a hot mess, mixing Marcel waves, braids, and mohawks--though he did a magnificent elongated cat eye, so we’ll forgive him for the hair. A few trends emerged as well--some things to watch for in the upcoming A/W 2011 shows, perhaps? -Asian models: Givenchy used all Asian girls, as befitted the Japanese theme (though many weren’t Japanese). Elie Saab used three, all in a row and all dressed in red. Does two make a trend? We’ll see. -High blush to the temples: Chanel and Valentino both put blush in unnatural places (coincidentally not unlike Justin Bieber did at the Golden Globes). Start at the high cheek bone and blend to the lower orbital bone, then continue right up to the temples. Instant couture glow. -Cat eye with a twist: Chanel did a thick cat eye that cut up towards the brow rather than out horizontally. Dior did a double cat eye, with wings extending from both the upper and lower lids. Jean Paul Gaultier’s was a traditional shape, but exaggerated almost out to the hairline. So what were our favorite looks at the shows? Click through to find out.
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At the couture shows, one expects flair and drama. Beauty is an important part of any runway show, but it's taken to a different level in couture. It's either masterfully understated to let the clothes shine, or a literal extension of the couture pieces themselves.

The Spring 2011 couture shows delivered flair in abundance. Yes, there were quiet and pretty moments, like at Elie Saab and

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Alexis Mabille: The long shiny princess braids intertwined with vines and roses sounds very twee, but it looked stunning with the simple makeup and ethereal gowns. (Hair by Odile Gilbert.)

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Christian Dior: The hair and makeup at

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Armani Privé: You couldn’t even see the models’ hair and eyes thanks to Philip Treacy’s saucer hats, so that left lips front and center.

Now, I’ve been on record saying I hate purple. Perhaps a change of heart is in order. Linda Cantello painted lips a vibrant purple, then topped it all off by affixing a blue violet gem to one edge of the lower lip. You can do this look in real life. Really.

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Franck Sorbier: Dreadlocks usually have an ick factor, but they were elevated to couture status at Sorbier’s show. The models’ dreads were rolled into cinnamon bun updos and half-up-half-down hair. Traditional formal hair styles done with a big nasty twist. It worked.

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Maurizio Galante: A prime example of the makeup becoming one with the clothes. Each model at Galante had colorful washes applied to her face and legs to coordinate with the clothes, or geometric prints or zigzags painted onto her bare legs and torso. Model as canvas.