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Make Sense | Le Smoking

When Yves Saint Laurent created the iconic Le Smoking tux in 1966, he empowered women to break free from the stereotype of skirts and dresses as formal wear. Inspired by YSL’s fashion collections, the Beauté line speaks of using colours to evoke passion, seduction, emotion, desire and pleasure. Every season, YSL’s Beauté rolls out a bold key look that represents these values.

Some say that Clara Bow started the “Smoky Eye” trend in 1920’s, others suggest 1960’s Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra and Twiggy; similar to its appearance, the origins of the “Smoky Eye” remains hazy. What is notable is that the “Smoky Eye” are still prominent to this day. The trend has seen unending endurance as a preferred look for evening cocktails, formal dinners and chic parties.

In an industry where change is constant, brands have no choice but to re-invent, re-interpret and evolve. This technique is apparent when brands like YSL’s Beauté are able to successfully create 3 different looks in the same vein over a short period of 6 months.

YSL Smoky look for Summer 2011

The ever popular and recurring “Smoky Eye” works by drawing attention to the eyes, framing them with an ambient and aesthetic mystery. Dark hues of eye shadow blend into the contours of the eyes, mimicking the effect of smoke, from which its name is assumed to be derived. Artists view the “Smoky Eye” as a technique to create deep set eyes that are well defined and almond shaped. With this in mind, the colour palette is not restricted to the monochromatic shades of black and grey, despite the common misconception, and the possible colour combinations are virtually limitless.

A few tips on creating the “Smoky Eye”:

1. Use a similarly coloured dense and opaque cream colour as a base before applying the eye shadow. Eyeliner pencils and crayons are super easy to draw on!

2. Apply around the eye socket bone for a more accurate contour profile.

3. Invest time in blending the edges smoothly but take care not to sweep away too much of the eye shadow.

It may not be the best look for everyone but it can most certainly be made to work. All it takes is a good understanding of the bone structure around the eye, eye shape, height and depth of eyelids proportionate to the brows. For Asians, there are soft smoky looks for single eyelids, or hard intense looks for those with naturally deep set eyes. With a delicate hand in blending the colours and achieving perfect symmetry, an alluring “Smoky Eye” look needs merely a confident face to work it.

– Rowene Law

Image credit: YSL Beauté, Jeffrey Mayer/wireimage

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