There's something vaguely Dadaist about citing a girl whose makeup look is widely panned as the beauty inspiration for a fashion show. Like the current onslaught of "man-repellent" fashion (best term ever, by the way), it emphasizes being quirky over looking pretty. These are the long-winded thoughts that raced through my mind when makeup artist Aaron De Mey told me that Taylor Momsen, aka "Panda Eyes," was the inspiration for the intense black eye makeup at L'Wren Scott's fall 2011 show. I mean, Aaron is a bonafide makeup genius, and here he is citing one of Hollywood's teen terrors as his muse. I felt like Tom Ford was telling me his latest collection was inspired by Snooki. I struggled to understand.
"L'Wren told me she wanted dangerous eyes for the show," Aaron explained to me backstage, emphasizing the word "dangerous" as he spoke (which, P.S., I should have captured on video because he has the most unusual, hypnotic voice). "And I immediately thought of Taylor Momsen. I like her look, actually. It's interesting how a teenager applies her makeup—it's super strong yet super simple."
Well yes, I can see the appeal in that. Especially after I witnessed how easy it is to do this look on yourself (whether you want to is a different story). Working with Lancôme (Aaron is their artistic director of makeup), he lined the eyes and filled in the lids with black kohl pencil, then swirled black matte shadow from the new Gris Fatale Palette (out this fall) all around the eyes until they were engulfed in a cloud of opaque black that stretched out to the temples. "We're sculpting the shadow to flatter each model's eye shape," said Aaron, adding that there was no sheen to the black to keep the look pure. He piled on loads of Hypnôse Volume Mascara on both top and bottom lashes—"It's a little clumpy, so it's great for those '60s-style lashes," he said—and kept the rest of the face bare save a little foundation and concealer where needed. To give the skin a healthy sheen, he rubbed a thick moisturizer on the tops of the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, bow of the lip, and center of the chin, then patted L’Absolu Rouge La Base clear balm on the mouth.
To complete the cool girl trifecta, hairstylist Serge Normant tousled the hair into what he dubbed "Second-day rock n'roll hair—the kind that's been slept on" by mattifying the texture with dry shampoo, dabbing oil on the ends for a piece-y finish, then teasing the crown and adding a messy deep side part. Manicurist Yuna Park toughened up the nails with one coat of Lancôme Noir 29 (out this fall), a black creme polish with a flicker of gold shimmer. "There's a sexiness to this look," said Serge, "because nothing is overworked." I guess that's about as opposite of repellent as you can get.
TOP THREE PHOTOS BY ROBERT FAIRER