The AW21 catwalks were awash with sultry smoky eyes: get the lowdown and all the kit you need to achieve the look here.

As our nights turn darker, so too do our make-up bags. And for AW21, the statement smoky eye is firmly back on the beauty radar. From grunge at Dior to graphic at Givenchy, dark and moody – with a hint of punk – was a recurring theme on the season’s catwalks. There was a full gamut of looks on show; whether you’re ready to master an angular winged liner, or amp up your party look with smoky rims, here are three looks to try this month, plus the products you need for fool-proof results.


Forget a Winehouse flick. This season it’s about colouring outside the lines and getting creative. There were negative space and upper lid doodles at Erdem and Paul Costelloe while, at Courre?ges, they flipped the look on its head and lead the wing tip down in the tear ducts, as well as outward for an eye-opening effect. If you want to play it safe with a traditional sharp graphic cat eye (as seen at Valentino), make it chunky and gloss jet black for a modern take.

Get The Look

For a fine line, try Huda’s felt tip liner. This waterproof, smudge-proof formula is seriously budge proof too, with no flaking or fading through the day. Buy it here.

If you want a chunkier nib to work with, try Charlotte Tilbury’s Feline Flick for a classic, Hollywood glam sweep. Buy it here.


Both the Dior and Chanel catwalks featured an all-encompassing smoky, matte halo; a full 360 degree sooty, smudgy and blacker-than-black grunge vibe. Either follow the lash line full circle for a 1990s feel or try diffusing the darkest hue in your palette down into both the outer and inner corners, leaving the centre bare for a hypnotic, statement look.

Get The Look

Chanel’s eyeshadow quad is great for a classic smoky eye; do use all four shades of iridescent white, pewter, silver and black for a wintery, dramatic feel. Or, just use the sooty, matte black alone along the upper and lower lash line for a minimal yet striking look. Buy it here.

Victoria Beckham Beauty’s Smoky Eye Brick in Tuxedo is another great cool, neutral edit of pans to build up into smouldering, smoky eye. For a softer look, omit the black and build your look using soft greys and charcoals instead. Buy it here.


A smoky eye doesn’t have to be monochrome. Maxmara matched its signature khakis and camels with a deep olive green smoky eye, while Vivienne Westwood went for a vintage feel, pairing a scarlet lip with a dove grey smoky lid. If you’re unsure what colour to plump for, a fail-safe flattering formula is brown tones for blue eyes, plums and purples for green eyes and green/khaki shades for brown eyes. Find a palette with two or three shades in a colour you love and play with building depth and intensity.

Get The Look

The professional grade Elemental Artistry Palette from Illamasqua features lots of dark, inky shades, from chocolate to aubergine and a classic black. Buy them here.

If you’re looking for a warm, molten metallic look for the party season, Huda palettes have a great range of terracottas and shimmering shades to choose from. Buy them here.

Don’t Forget:

A smoky eye is only as good as the primer it sits on to stop your skin’s natural oils causing slippage and a breakdown of finely milled shadows. Try Milk Make Up’s Hydro Grip Eye Primer to lock powders to your lid all day. Buy it here.

If you’re looking for colour correction in your primer too, the wallet-friendly ELF Putty Eye Primer balances tone, camouflages shadows and provides a crease-proof base to your final look. Buy it here.

By Lydia Mansi
November 2021

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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.