When the vampires are played by Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie—chiseled features, haute froideur—it’s hard not to side with the bloodthirsty. The Hunger, Tony Scott’s 1983 directorial debut, opens in a New York nightclub, as Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy sings the propulsive “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” The lovers select their prey: a sunglasses-at-night guy and a redhead with slashes of eyeliner and crimson lips. She dances, unaware that she exits the film in six minutes flat.
A speed-walking cast of models made a similarly fleeting appearance at Marc Jacobs’s fall 2023 show. The designer’s ode to the ’80s manifested as bleached wigs, cropped black stockings, a striped suit fit for Beetlejuice. But it was the drained faces and brusque red mouths, together with show notes credited to OpenAI and ChatGPT, that brought The Hunger to mind—as if updating the plot for an era of vampire electronics. “We wanted a futuristic vibe, so that’s why we went for that gaunt look,” says makeup artist Diane Kendal, who hollowed models’ eye sockets with gray shadows. (Her inspiration was 1982’s Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott, Tony’s brother.) Kendal did dab highlighter on the cheekbones, nose, and tear ducts—“because you still want the girls to look beautiful, even though it’s not the most beautiful makeup.”
That impulse to veer into darkness is the order of the day, from Wednesday (slated for a poststrike return) to Olivia Rodrigo’s music video for “Vampire.” The lyrics lambast an ex (“bloodsucker, fame fucker”), and Rodrigo has bite, her oxblood lipstick offset by ethereal, glossy lids. Makeup artist Kathy Jeung wanted the pop star “to look powerful and vulnerable at the same time,” she explains. The “spidery, clumpy lashes” were Rodrigo’s idea, like tears hardened into spiky resolve.
Bakeup Beauty’s amped-up mascara, Tarantulash, creates exactly that effect. “I didn’t want it to be like ‘voluminous, feathery’ bullshit,” says cofounder and makeup artist Jo Baker, referring to the usual puffed-up marketing names. Hers is to the point. She teased it months ahead of launch, posting a photo of an orange-and-black tarantula alongside her two-tone Critics Choice makeup look for Natasha Lyonne. “This is not for the fainthearted,” Baker says of the fast-build formula that lasts. “I could be caught in the rain. I can have a full emotional meltdown, which, let’s be honest, can happen to any of us.”
That was unexpectedly the case for at least one damp-eyed guest at Rodarte’s fall 2023 show, where Tori Amos’s “Winter” accompanied the fantastically gloomy procession. (“Hair is gray and the fires are burning,” Amos soothsays from 1992.) Witchy liner, pictured above, set the mood, seen first with a suite of neo-Morticia black dresses. “We kept pushing it with early punk references and gothic fairy notes,” says James Kaliardos of the eyeliner shapes, which he sketched with a brow pencil for symmetry before inking with Nars’s Climax. “Though it’s hard to do, I know a lot of girls that want to rock this look.” Even that severe beauty statement found fanciful counterpoints: in Rodarte’s metallic fringe dresses and nearby tables set with glitter-covered feasts. The future, however uncertain, shines bright.