This is a piece I wrote for i-D Magazine. It's always a thrill when I get to write for them, as I grew up reading those glossy pages. It now seems like a serious error in judgement not to have Lauren Bacall or even Marilyn or Audrey in this list, but I can dedicate a whole other piece to those sirens of the screen another time.
In films the way a character looks informs, supports or sometimes even challenges the way we perceive them. Make-up becomes a signifier for the character's inner life - that shade of lipstick, those earrings, all reveal an extra layer of personality, and it's very rewarding to analyse and dissect the idea behind them. We can learn a lot from them – I often look to films for style and beauty inspiration. Here are my top five favourite female beauty looks from film.
UMA THURMAN IN PULP FICTION
Mia Wallace knows what works. Her pale skin is dusted with powder; her sleek black bob is striking and shiny. Her eyeliner, blood red lipstick and matching nail lacquer – Chanel's Vamp - are in wonderful contrast to her bright white shirt. This look is crisp, razor sharp, controlled. Which just makes her OD later on even more dramatic.
FAYE DUNAWAY IN BONNIE AND CLYDE
Dunaway is a 30s beauty reimagined by a 60s make-up artist. Soft peach lips, strong brows, pale eyeshadow finished with a flick of black eyeliner and rows of fake lashes. Her hair is worn loose or clipped on one side with a 30s style curl coaxed onto her cheek. Her skin is golden, glowing from days on the run in the heat of summer. A beautiful badass.
ALICIA SILVERSTONE IN CLUELESS
Is there a teenage girl more loved than Cher Horowitz? She's an American icon; beautiful and smart, superficial and spoilt. The classic LA babe, she flicks her blonde blow-dry as she walks through the quad, sports fuchsia lipstick and sparkly eye-shadow on a date, and has the confidence to wear yellow tartan.
JULIA ROBERTS IN MYSTIC PIZZA
Before Pretty Woman and Notting Hill, heck, even before Hook, Roberts played a small town girl who fell for a rich guy. She's boisterous, sassy and sweetly vulnerable. Sure, her hair is in huge 1980s curls that threaten to swallow her face, and her eyebrows are brushed up and filled in. But she's undone and natural and it's perfect.
SHARON STONE IN CASINO
This wife of a mob boss doesn't use makeup, she uses war paint. Ginger is a natural beauty but she accentuates and exploits every feature on her face, and then back combs her hair. Bronzer, smoky eye-shadow, glossy pink lips and chunky jewellery are all locked and loaded in her arsenal, and the result is breath-taking polished gorgeousness.