Lashes Are the New Brows When It Comes to Standout Runway Makeup

So says legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath herself.
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The beauty look from the Brandon Maxwell Fall 2019 show. Photo: Imaxtree

The beauty look from the Brandon Maxwell Fall 2019 show. Photo: Imaxtree

For years, bold eyebrows — brushed, groomed and enhanced with multiple products to achieve a look akin to that of Cara Delevingne — were a runway mainstay for makeup artists. Then the brow fixation evolved, and bleached brows became common thanks to designers like Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs, Prada and Givenchy; the scent of ammonia joined those of hairspray and nail polish backstage as models transformed into avant-garde, boundary-pushing versions of themselves. For Fall 2019, we've seen a lot less of that, as the focus has been on a feature just an inch or so south: the lashes.

Exaggerated, over-the-top mega eyelashes have emerged as a backstage beauty trend, while brows seem to be receding from the runway limelight. Like many runway beauty trends over the past few decades, we have pretty much one person to thank for that: Pat McGrath.

"I'd say brows have taken a back seat a little bit, yes — it's all about the lashes," said McGrath in an interview backstage at Anna Sui on Monday evening. "We started last season at Prada, and then with feather lashes at Valentino couture, and now we're going into a 'ready-to-wear' lash." It's worth noting that McGrath recently added a new volumizing mascara to her Pat McGrath Labs makeup line, conveniently launching on Feb. 14. Leave it to McGrath to set a trend — and then create the exact products to pull it off herself.

The Anna Sui Fall 2019 beauty look, which also included neon wigs and purple and turquoise eye shadow, was intended to be a "nod to the pre-hippie '60s," according to McGrath. She noted that the "eyebrows were taken down a little," adding that the look was decidedly "not about super-strong eyebrows." 

The legendary makeup artist was also behind the lash-heavy beauty look at Tomo Koizumi's Fall 2019 show, where most of the models wore fairly minimal makeup besides loads of mascara (though some did receive glow-y pink eye shadow from McGrath and her team). A '60s, vaguely Twiggy-esque vibe accompanied the voluminous lash look, but the overall effect was not overtly vintage.

For Longchamp's Fall 2019 show, McGrath presented bold lashes that harkened to a different era entirely, bringing in elements of '80s and '90s grunge with tightly lined eyes beneath multiple layers of mascara. Still, the lashes stole the makeup show.

But McGrath isn't the only artist to turn her attention to lashes of late. At Brandon Maxwell, Tom Pecheux drew inspiration from Twiggy for the slightly clumpy look. Using a combination of false lashes and plenty of mascara, the effect he created was slightly fuzzy and messy, with fluttery lashes of various lengths curled and clustered together, almost as if the strands were wet. He also exaggerated the bottom lashes by drawing downward strokes of eyeliner on the lower lid, further exaggerating the doe-eyed effect.

The beauty look from the Brandon Maxwell Fall 2019 show. Photo: Imaxtree

The beauty look from the Brandon Maxwell Fall 2019 show. Photo: Imaxtree

Click through the gallery below to see more lash-focused looks from the Fall 2019 runways.

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