It’s pretty safe to say that Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is this year’s most anticipated movie – and I can assure you that we won’t be seeing the end of Flapper-inspired beauty trends anytime soon. So, you might want to stock up on Daisy Buchanan’s (aka Carey Mulligan) makeup bag to see you through the season.
Quite a riot, isn’t it? After all, 1920s was the decade in which our beauty culture was born. With powders, blushes, shadows and lipsticks hitting the mainstream for the first time, women turned to cosmetics to play up their femininity. And it was just in time, with the men returned home from World War I and the women beginning to enter the workplace. Could there be a better excuse for OTT make up?
Baz Luhrmann certainly agrees: “Two years earlier, women would have had dresses down to their ankles. And suddenly they’re wearing their underwear as a frock out on the street. They’re liberated. They’re smart, they’re educated. They’re meeting in speakeasies, they’re drinking alcohol. The big party has begun. And it hasn’t stopped.”
In short, the Great Gatsby-era women had a lot of fun with make up! So, why not take inspiration from their excesses and live it up a little – albeit in 21st century style?
The Great Gatsby Complexion
Forget the fake tan: the roaring 20s were all about a peaches-and-cream complexion, fuelled by the invention of the compact, which allowed for on-the-go touchups. To ensure you’re the fairest of them all, choose a foundation and concealer (like Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation and Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat) that match your skin, then set with a translucent powder (Burberry Beauty Luminous Pressed Powder) to remove any sheen. Skip the bronzer. Instead, opt for a pale pink blush (L’Orèal Paris Visible Lift Color Lift Blush in Rose Gold) to liven up your creamy matte complexion.
Evening time? Go brighter with a red creme blush applied to the apples of your cheeks and blended upwards, towards the temples. But remember: the Great Gatsby women are all about a matte look, so keep shimmer away from the center of the face. Keep it for the cheekbones and just under the brow bone.
Think super-smoky! King Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered in the early ’20s and the world went crazy for everything Egyptian, including Cleopatra’s famed kohl eyes. And even before mascara came into the market, the Great Gatsby women were satisfying their desire for dramatic lashes using petroleum jelly mixed with soot – after using the era’s indispensable lash curler, of course.
Thankfully, we have it easier. To recreate the ’20s sooty effect, apply a charcoal grey eyeshadow (Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow) from the lash line to the brow line, sweeping it horizontally from one corner of your eye to the other. Then extend a black liner (Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Sabbath) slightly up and outward from the outer corner of your eye. Finish by curling your lashes and applying heavy mascara (Lancôme Hypnose Black Mascara). And for the final glam-Gatsby twist, press a tiny amount of fine glitter (Make Up For Ever) on top of the eyeshadow with your finger. Voila!
Prefer a softer eye look? Swap charcoal grey eyeshadow for a softer metallic grey or pastel. Simply apply the shade to the entire lid and underneath the lower lash line.
As for the eyebrows… think very high, thin, arched and drawn in with pencil. “The eyebrows were the most important part of the face because they represented the fashion of the time,” says Maurizio Silvi, The Great Gatsby’s makeup designer. “We plucked all the eyebrows into a 1920s shape.” Want to steal the look? Darken and turn eyebrows slightly downward with a pencil that is darker than your natural color (NARS Eyebrow Pencil).
Finish off your Great Gatsby makeup with the iconic 1920s cupid bow lip. This style, popular among the era’s leading beauties, gave the lip an exaggerated feminine look just in time to lure troops coming home from the war.
To get that cupid bow, start by tracing your lip with a liner, creating dramatic arcs to emphasize the bend in your upper lip. Fill in the area you’ve outlined with a rich, flat lipstick shade, such as deep reds, wines and plums – all the better to emphasize a fair complexion.
Unless, of course, you are Daisy Buchanan. Then you go with a light pinky nude shade from Chanel (Chanel Rouge Allure in Seduisante) on your lips. Because, as Silvi puts it, “We decided that red lipstick didn’t fit her personality”. Add just a dot of gloss (Benefit Ultra Plush Lip Gloss in Lollibop) and you are done!
This is the fun part! Pick a spot on your face for a beauty mark and with the tip of a brown or black eyeliner, push it into the skin. Then spritz on some Chanel No. 5, tuck that Vintage Style Scalloped Bag from Monsoon Accessorize under your arm and be ready to paaaaaarty!!!!
The Great Gatsby Hair
The bob and finger wave were high fashion in the 1920s, and have become a current favorite of everybody from Charlize Theron to Marion Cotillard and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Kerry Warn, The Great Gatsby’s hairstylist, cut Mulligan’s hair into a modern version of the 1920s style: “…based on the semi-shingle, a layered bob with a masculine shape in the back”.
But you can achieve the Great Gatsby hairstyle even without resorting to scissors. Start by combing a texturising cream (Aerin Beach Cream for Hair and Body) through damp strands. Then part your wet hair, place your middle finger next to the part and drag the teeth of your comb along the length of your finger. Use your index finger to hold the wave firmly in place, then pull the comb back through your hair in the opposite direction to create the finger wave’s signature ridge. Continue doing this until you have the desired number of waves.
Can’t quite get that finger wave right? Add flair to your hair with a decorative headpiece like the ones Carey Mulligan wears throughout the Great Gatsby. Bejeweled hairpins, feathered headbands, pretty scarves (Liberty London Orange Heron Print Silk Chiffon Scarf) and sequined headpieces (Bridal mini hat by Fine and Fleurie) were a favorite accessory of Flapper-era women. And they continue to be trendy even today. Easy!
Accessories are a must to creating The Great Gatsby effect! Women in the 1920s were celebrating the end of the war and a new period of economic growth. Needless to say, they wore extravagant jewelry to signify their newfound wealth. Sleek, smooth diamond pieces, geometric patterns, pearls, feathers and colorful accent stones are all hallmarks of 1920s jewelry.
There are lots of ways to get the 1920s accessory style. One of the era’s signature looks is stacked smooth diamond bracelets. You can add instant Art Deco charm to your fashion by wearing an oversized cocktail ring with a sapphire or emerald square-cut stone (Tiffany Ziegfeld collection ring). Or you can go the ultra-feminine route and layer long pearl necklaces (Fallon Jewelry classique long faux pearl necklace).
The ultimate in glittering decadence, of course, is the $200,000 Tiffany hair band worn in The Great Gatsby. In fact, most of the pieces worn by Daisy Buchanan are duplicates of original ’20s pieces from the Tiffany archives. However, for those hoping to get their glittering Gatsby fix, there’s the Tiffany Ziegfeld collection, which is a more affordable (relatively speaking) take on the early 1920s. There are a host of daisy-motif pieces, including heart-shaped sterling silver lockets ($650) and monogrammed cufflinks for men ($350).
And then there is the Champagne. Moët & Chandon is one of the movie’s official partners and the Champagne major has delved into its archives to ensure that all the bubbly being poured on the silver screen is from bottles bearing historically accurate 192os labels. So, keep one of these lovely fizzy bottles on hand and get ready to channel your inner Daisy Buchanan!