Erdem's Gender-Blurring SS19 Show Reinvented Victorian Beauty As We Know It

Suddenly we only want forest green eyes and tight braids.

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Fanny and Stella were the inspirations behind the Erdem SS19 collection; two Victorian gay Men, who dressed as women to avoid suspicion about living in the same house, strictly forbidden in 1870. 

So, just like that rebellious pair, make-up artist Val Garland broke the rules on Victoriana beauty.


‘We assume that Victorians were always so strict within society but they were actually quite Bohemian behind closed doors’ says Garland. This was reflected in the simple natural skin, paired with NARS' acid yellow Single Eyeshadow in Duoro and emerald green Eyeshadow Quad in Moskova.


To get the vivid colours, Garland coloured in models' eyelids with brightly coloured eyeliner pencils to create a waxy base, before ditching the eyeshadow brushes for cotton wool and applying matching shadow, ‘cotton wool means you can get a lot more product on the eyelids and by pressing the powder in, it creates a velvet texture packed with pigment’ explains Garland.


In place of mascara, Garland coloured in a fan brush with the appropriate eyeliner and swept it across the models' lashes so any eyeshadow fallout applied afterwards caught on them and stuck, creating a painterly effect reflective of Erdem's Bloomsbury crowd inspiration.

Bright eyes were paired with flushed lips - Val placed loose powder over the top to create a dusty pink effect. The same make-up was applied on the male models to fit seamlessly with the women, just as Fanny and Stella did.


Hairstylist Anthony Turner created the kind of braids that enter the highest echelons of Fashion Week Hair. Turner created a centre parting, then braided the two sections of hair, starting behind the ears and following the back of the hairline, to meet in the middle and finished off with L’Oreal Professionnel Infinium Pure Hairspray, launching in October.

The strong middle part perfects the combination of masculinity in the front and femininity in the back.

The seemingly traditional beauty elements paired with dashes of bold bright colours, echoed the print designs of the dresses and the overall theme of the collection: that not everything is not what it seems at first glance.

This story first appeared on ELLEUK.com.

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