Power in Commitment: The Graphic Eye at Dries Van Noten

March 4, 2014 • Fashion

For Dries Van Noten’s Fall 2014 show, Peter Philips painted graphic blocks of black liner on the models’ eyes. By overtaking the natural shape of the eye with an unforgiving force of color, the aim was for an army. Thanks to its power, what walked was a militant march of some committed individual’s embracing mistake.

Iris: These kinds of blocked color eyes look so fun to actually do yourself — like paint it on with no effort. It has that Taylor Momsen raccoon eyes effect. I personally really love that kind of heavy eyeliner look. It reminded me of Lanvin Fall 2012, which was one of my favorite beauty looks. Pat McGrath did that show and said the eyes were pen and ink sketch, and those were also like creasy and messy on the lid — but those had a high, pointed, feline shape. 

Daniel: The roundness gives it new life, and its horizontal flatness really changes how we’re looking at what’s essentially black eyeliner. This looks soft to the touch, like someone swiped their finger over their eye and let it stop, the roundness emphasizing the imperfection of using fingertips.

Not all of the eyes are densely black; some have faded and creased, which better sells the illusion of effortlessness. When presented within a runway context, you can assume everything’s a premeditated decision and the choice to not set this eyeliner with some eye shadow to prevent any uneven texture gives it an tactile quality that makes sense within Dries’ world.

According to Style.com, Philips used MAC Chromacake in Black Black

Iris: I always wanted the perfect cat eye. Like, I literally thought it was a dream I would never achieve. I would mess up and just end up removing the whole thing and give up on it. Now that I’ve gotten over that and feel okay with the messiness, I’m actually better at lining my eye.

When I do my eyeliner now I do everything in one committed motion and I know sometimes it’s obv uneven but that doesn’t bother me as much anymore. I trust myself now. I think I’m just more comfortable with, like, imperfect makeup — like I kinda find it endearing. I know there’s no way I can ever make my cat eye perfect so I just accepted it. I’m like, Yeah [beauty guru voice], they’re sisters not twins.

Daniel: It continues on last season’s painted eye he did at Chanel. Different vibe, same approach. Also, the skin is so matte and so blank in comparison to the eye it’s this weird textural issue. Super dry. It freaks me out to look at because I’m currently obsessing about how to get my dryness to appear as glistening, gleaming, oil-producing skin. It’s got this roughness to it that feels untrained but we know it’s not. There’s no mascara and the liner doesn’t bleed into the eye in a perfect rim of black. I love that there are gaps and grooves in the texture and edges. The collection had an overall effect of Miranda Hobbes styled by Carrie Bradshaw, and examining the faces it looked like that too. Logic wrapped up in its own laziness.

Iris: Black eyeliner is kinda different from most makeup when you’re applying. IDK, like, with black eyeliner it’s sorta like you have to commit to it totally. Like, once it’s on it’s literally on and if you want to remove it, sure, yeah, go ahead, but the primer and rest of the eye makeup is smearing up with it. But with blush, if you put too much you can always lower the color with some foundation or if you mess up on lipstick you can cover that with concealer. Like, I know you can fix eyeliner but out of all the makeup choices to make, it takes the most time and patience.

Daniel: That makes so much sense in finding out like what’s going on with this look. Peter Philips told Style.com that all of the models having a the same makeup equalizes them, turns them into an anonymous army, but I don’t think it reads that way at all. Like it looks more like they’re all individuals who are just into the same aesthetics — like a hella strong, dark shape on the eye looks like a girl committed to her look and all her friends are, too.

I wouldn’t — couldn’t — ever see a group of girls making that choice for black eyeliner as anonymous. There’s a messiness and boldness that doesn’t equal anonymity.  If you look at the close-ups from the show, their faces totally affected the way the line curved or ended. Some were more straight and some were more rounded. The subtle differences depending on the makeup artist and model pairings felt introverted but important. It’s super specific, identifiable and individual while also being communal, reveling in each other’s makeup messes together.

Photos from Style.com and StyleBistro

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