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The light blue eye shadow in the movies

From cult indie "Buffalo '66" to David Lynch's iconic "Blue Velvet"

The light blue eye shadow in the movies From cult indie Buffalo '66 to David Lynch's iconic Blue Velvet

Light blue eyeshadow, in all its nuances, from the most ethereal to deep blue, has a long history. The first to wear it regularly were the men and women of ancient Egypt. As Elisabeth Taylor also teaches in the kolossal Cleopatra. When Barbie made her debut in 1959, she sported an ice version, a shade similar to the one used shortly after by the hippies of the sixties. From being the ultimate symbol of expression and freedom, it became a real must-have in the '90s and early 2000s, chosen by iconic rock stars like PJ Harvey, but also by pop stars like Christina Aguilera and it-girls like Carrie Bradshaw. Today it's a sort of make-up statement used to give a stronger twist to your look, as celebrities and influencers teach us. From Kim Kardashian to Dua Lipa, from the Hadid sisters to Emrata, everyone has chosen this bold shade of eyeshadow at least once. Even the cast of Euphoria, famous for the coolness of its beauty, has graced the scene by declining it in different versions, decorating it with small stones, choosing metallic or glittery, finishing it off with a dramatic cat eye or with graphic lines.

But the real world in which blue eyeshadow has played a decisive role, often paired with red lipstick, is the world of cinema. Here are the movies (and one iconic TV series) in which blue eyeshadow has been the star.


Layla in "Buffalo ‘66" (1998)

Vincent Gallo writes, directs, produces and takes care of every detail, from the acting to the soundtrack, of a film that has become cult. Buffalo '66 is an ambitious, painful, fragile, hallucinatory, redundant, yet beautiful project. Everything about this wacky tale of an ex-con who kidnaps a girl outside and forces her to pose as his wife in front of her parents is memorable. Even the outfits of the protagonists: Gallo in his tight leather jacket, striped t-shirt and red ankle boots; Christina Ricci in her white cardigan, pastel blue dress, paired with light blue tights and a sparkling pair of Mary Jane's. A look that in 1998 the famous film critic Roger Ebert described as "like a Barbie dressed like a hooker", but which is still iconic in every detail. Starting from the make-up with lip gloss and blue glitter eye shadow spread over the entire eyelid and completed by a thin line of the same color on the lower lash line.  Gucci Westman, who handled the beauty for the film, explained in an interview that he made that choice because he wanted Ricci's character to suggest not only "a dreamy innocence," but also the idea of a girl who was "in her own world," whose eyes could "offer a way out."


Suzy Bishop in "Moonrise Kingdom" (2012)

Even a grumpy teenager on a romantic run with a misunderstood orphan dressed in a scout uniform can be a fashion icon. The credit goes to the always super eye-catching aesthetics of Wes Anderson, but also to costume designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone who, perhaps inspired by Lolita and Françoise Hardy, dresses Suzy Bishop in full sixties style: salmon pink minidress with round collar, matching cape, white knee socks and two-tone lace-up shoes. The cottagecore mood is completed by a light blue eye shadow contrasting with the coppery red of actress Kara Hayward's hair.


Elaine Parks in "The love witch" (2016)

The Love Witch is visual heaven made of saturated colors, little sixties dresses an pendant with the elements of the set design. That's why the film directed by Anna Biller, with its mix of macabre humor, eroticism, esotericism and psychedelia, is constantly cited by fashionistas and beauty addicts. Everything about the charming Elaine Parks, a witch who, in search of perfect love, leaves behind a trail of blood and death, is memorable. Not only the pastel-colored minidresses, the sexy underwear, the maxi rings, the long dark hair or the blood-red lacquered nails, but also the makeup. Emma Willis changes the witch's blue eyeshadow (by Shiseido), sometimes turning it towards green, sometimes towards purple, depending on her mood and what happens to her. For example, it's turquoise when she's at the tea room, turns green when she's creating potions and dark purple when her romances go wrong.


Dorothy Vallens in "Blue Velvet" (1986)

A nightclub, a red curtain in the background, a piano and a charming singer, played by Isabella Rossellini, who comes out of the half-light singing the notes of Blue Velvet by Bobby Vinton. Dorothy Vallens, the melancholy chanteuse, has become part of the cinema iconography with her sparkling dress, vaporous curls, and saturated makeup. Jeff Goodwin, make-up artist for the film said that to get that deep blue she mixed two Lancôme eye shadows and one from La Femme, while for the lips she combined two different lipsticks, one of which was a Bob Kelly fire red, the deepest red she could find at the time.


Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

The quintessential colossal: four hours in length, a budget of $44 million (about $300 million today), a star-studded cast that includes Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (great love of the actress and twice her ex-husband), sixty-five costume changes for the protagonist, twenty-six thousand total costumes and eight thousand pairs of shoes created by Renie Conley and Irene Sharaff. Although when it was released at the box office in 1963 the film proved to be a flop, it remains memorable especially for Taylor's acting and visual interpretation of Cleopatra. A fun fact? The makeup was created by Italian Alberto De Rossi, but due to health problems, it was Liz Taylor who did her own makeup on set under the guidance of the make-up artist.


Tonya in "Tonya" (2017)

Despite her great performance and nomination, Margot Robbie didn't win the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her role as Tonya Harding. Perhaps someone must have thought that to get into the shoes of the famous skater all it took was a handful of leotards and acetate jumpsuits, twisting her hair into a bun, covering herself in glitter and doing two pirouettes. In reality, it was much more complex, even when it came to beauty. To tone down Margot's supermodel beauty, Deborah La Mia Denaver called upon her every make-up artist skill and used only drugstore-bought products, including the pale blue eyeshadow that the Australian actress sports along with an outfit of the same shade.


The Red Queen in "Alice in Wonderland" (2010)

Red Queen played by Helena Bonham Carter is one of the most iconic characters from the Alice in Wonderland beauty perspective. To recreate this cartoonish version, Valli O'Reilly relied on Tim Burton's sketches and directions, drawing inspiration from Bette Davis' 1939 version of Queen Elizabeth, with red hair, a very high forehead and shaved eyebrows. The blue eyeshadow from the 2010 film was created by mixing Makeup Forever and Yves Saint Laurent.


Ginger McKenna in "Casinò" (1995)

Ginger McKenna aka Sharon Stone in Casino has always been one of Adele's favorite beauty references. And it's no coincidence, because the look of the actress in Scorsese's film is as stunning and opulent as Las Vegas, the city where it is set. Her outfits are made of big brands, glitter, furs and accompanied by a shower of jewels. The hot blond hair, fluffy and back-combed are super chic, as well as the makeup that plays everything on smokey eyes even in the tone of blue and brick lipsticks.


Divine in "Pink Flamingos" (1972)

For John Waters, Divine was "the most beautiful woman in the world, almost". The two had conceived the look of the iconic Pink Flamingos star together, deciding to shave her hairline and apply exaggerated blue eye makeup almost up to her eyebrows. To amplify the camp effect, they chose hyper-tight and feminine clothes, creating a deliberately artificial style, but which has the great merit of continuing to teach us that each of us can redesign our own image to show what we really are or want to be.


Ursula in "The Little Marmaid" (1989) 

After so many years, we can even admit it: the most iconic protagonist of Disney's version of The Little Mermaid is not Ariel, but Ursula. As is often the case, the antagonist has charm to spare, a more nuanced personality and even the most interesting make-up. The sea witch sports a flashy deep blue eyeshadow spread over the entire eyelid and surrounded by a gray crescent moon, combined with a cherry red lipstick that applies by passing the pigment of small fish on the lips.


Madame Sin in "Madame Sin" (1972)

A little bit Cruella De Ville a little bit Moira Orfei. The legendary Bette Davis with black wig, dark clothes, exotic jewelry, blue eye shadow and red lipstick plays the role of the head of a criminal organization who kidnaps a CIA agent to help her seize an atomic submarine. In the original concept it was supposed to be a sort of female version of Fu Manchu's character (the protagonist of a series of novels by British writer Sax Rohmer), but the result was not the best, as Madame Sin, a TV movie that was supposed to be a test for a possible TV series, was also a failure. Coincidentally, Davis wore similar make-up with blue eyeshadow as the focus in Luigi Comencini's Lo scopone scientifico.


Kate Libby in "Hackers" (1995)

Okay, maybe Hackers isn't the best movie in the history of cinema, but even though it was released in theaters in the 90s, the looks of the protagonists are still somehow up to date. Especially Angelina Jolie's outfits. Take a look at the vests, harnesses, cargo pants, oversized leather jackets, cropped t-shirts or manga-style minidresses. Don't they look like something stolen from the Off-White, Y/Project or Alyx collections? Equally cool are her haircut, a very short pixie, and the make-up that focuses on a light blue eye shadow (almost Very Peri) spread over the entire eyelid and the lower lash line, defined by a graphic black eyeliner and completed by a plum almost metallic lipstick.


Angela in "Une femme est une femme" (1961)

A messy chignon, a thick line of eyeliner and pastel blue eyeshadow. Anna Karina in Une Femme est une femme is the perfect embodiment of the French girl. A fun fact: the Danish actress was discovered by Coco Chanel while in a café. The stylist asked her for her name, which was Anne Karine, and suggested her to change her surname into Karina. A few months later, Jean-Luc Godard noticed her in a Palmolive commercial and instantly fell in love with her. He wanted her to star in many of his films, married her and made her an icon of French cinema's New Wave.


Kirsten Liosis in "Never Been Kissed" (1999)

Have you ever dreamed of going back to high school and, instead of being awkward, clumsy and invisible, being popular and full of friends? That's what happens to Drew Barrymore aka Josie Geller in this late 90's rom com. A movie to watch to spend a couple of carefree hours, full of looks to copy if you have Y2K nostalgia. Starting with the light blue eye shadow, paired with a metallic lipstick worn by Jessica Alba aka Kirsten Liosis.


Endora in "Bewitched" (1964-1972)

Ok, Samantha can do magic just by moving her nose, but the real wow effect of this sitcom comes from Endora, her multicolored outfits and, above all, her make-up. Her secrets? A bit of blush to accentuate the cheekbones, a graphic cat eye and a vibrant blue eye shadow smeared all over the eyelid, as explained by @perrinebeautyaddict in a TikTok video.