Beauty

Punk Beauty is Back

Spiky hair and bold liner rule the beauty scene

Photo by Michael Williams

Photo by Michael Williams

By the time you read this, punk memes—chains, piercings, destroyed seams—will be splashed across fashion magazines as lavishly as Smirnoff at a Sex Pistols show. Here’s why: A Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit, Punk: Chaos to Couture (May 9–Aug. 14) will showcase the “eff you!” subculture’s influence on fashion, from Versace’s Elizabeth Hurley–era safety pin dresses to Comme des Garçons’ slashed sweaters.

Fall runways are already pogo-ing to the punk thump—see, for example, Fendi’s fox-fur “faux hawks” and Versace’s CBGB-ready eyeliner. Ardency Inn, a cosmetics range “deeply rooted in the downtown New York music scene” and developed by former LVMH exec Giles Kortzagadarian (of Make Up For Ever et al.), launches at Sephora this fall. The opening act, Punker World’s Baddest Eyeliner, $22, a plump magic marker for Siouxsie Sioux–style lid drawing, is in stores now. Essence’s new I Heart Punk Jumbo Eyeliner pen, $3, is another chubby stick promising less wobbly application.

Essence I Heart Punk Jumbo Eyeliner Pen, $3. Ardency Inn Punker World's Baddest Eyeliner, $22. RMS Cream Eye Shadow in Karma, $32.

Essence I Heart Punk Jumbo Eyeliner Pen, $3. Ardency Inn Punker World’s Baddest Eyeliner, $22. RMS Cream Eye Shadow in Karma, $32.

But not everyone is buying. “This is a fad,” says makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift, who works with Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue Japan. She should know. The former Vancouverite was the lead singer of the ’70s band Insex, brushing (ahem) shoulders with Iggy Pop, Brian Ferry and Nick Cave when in town to play at the Commodore Ballroom. Swift showered in Guinness to give her Bride of Frankenstein hair volume, back-combed it like crazy, then sprayed in sugar water for after-hours hold.

Swift punked-out friends’ faces using fake-out safety pins and cake eyeliner. “One of the big requests was Soo Catwoman,” she recalls. The British punk icon wore sweeping black arcs in never-before ways, slamming the ’60s cat eye on its head. Her orange-black hair peaked at the sides like feline ears.

Punk icon Soo Catwoman; Photo by Rex USA

Punk icon Soo Catwoman; Photo by Rex USA

“In those days we wanted to make ourselves look kind of ugly,” says Swift, who created RMS organic cosmetics three decades later. “It was a statement.” For flattering punk eyes, she recommends light-reflecting cream shadows in kinder blacks with brown, silver or purple undertones, such as her line’s coffee-esque Cream Eye Shadow in Carma, $32. Thank to vitamin E, you can get your anti-aging antioxidants on while rocking out at Montreal’s Pouzza Fest (May 17–19).

Chanel Haute Couture Spring 2013; Photo by Vincent Lappartient

Chanel Haute Couture Spring 2013; Photo by Vincent Lappartient

Anarchy Allure

A “fragile darkness” was in the air at Chanel spring couture. Peter Philips, global creative director of Chanel makeup, used Stylo Eyeshadow in Black Stream, $36 (in stores mid-May)—a wet-effect silver noir crayon—before applying tulle and muslin leaves custom-created by the house’s fine lace atelier Maison Lemarié.

Canada’s punkette pioneers, circa ’78:

Rose-Marie Swift, the lead singer of Insex, who later founded RMS Beauty

Rose-Marie Swift, the lead singer of Insex, who later founded RMS Beauty

Victoria, B.C.'s The Dishrags, one of punk's first all-female bands; Photo by Bob Strazicich, Courtesy of Bloodied But Unbowed

Victoria, B.C.’s The Dishrags, one of punk’s first all-female bands; Photo by Bob Strazicich, Courtesy of Bloodied But Unbowed

Vancouver's Mary-Jo Kopechne of The Modernettes; Photo by Lynn McDonagh Werner, Courtesy of Bloodied But Unbowed

Vancouver’s Mary-Jo Kopechne of The Modernettes; Photo by Lynn McDonagh Werner, Courtesy of Bloodied But Unbowed

Toronto patriot Michaele Jordana of The Poles; Photo by Warwick Scales, Courtesy of The Poles

Toronto patriot Michaele Jordana of The Poles; Photo by Warwick Scales, Courtesy of The Poles

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