Now, admittedly, the smoky cat-eye look isn't your only option this season. There's also a more traditional, pared down, graphic version you can try; just look at the Giambattista Valli and Isabel Marant F/W 10 shows for visual guidance. And while that style is definitely worth mastering, the smoky version we're spotlighting today is decidedly more versatile. It's a strikingly complimentary look with the season's many luxurious and dressy fabrics (metallic lamÃ©, black lace, faux fur), plus you can easily dial it up or down depending on your personal style. Our most daring readers will definitely want to try one of the runway iterations, as seen at Lanvin and DSquared. The former was created by the obscenely talented Pat McGrath, who gave the models statement eyes by using a super-soft black eye pencilÂ--specifically CoverGirl's LiquiLine Blast ($9) in Black FireÂ--along their top and bottom lash lines and lids. The pencil has a creamy formula that allows for easy blending, so be sure to use the smudge tip to blend the product, which will give it that soft, hazy look you want. Additionally, McGrath used black eye shadow on the models' lids and extended it slightly beyond the natural crease to further the smoky cat-eye effect. Finally, she finished with a touch of metallic pigment on the lids and inner corners to add depth and sheen. As for the rest of the face, McGrath opted for polished skin and an understated nude lip (the exact shade was a custom blend for the show) to keep the emphasis on the eyes.
Now, we know that the runway version of the smoky cat-eye is decidedly over-the-top, but you can make it quite wearable with a few slight tweaks. If you're really ready to embrace the trend, we suggest using Mischa Barton's recent beauty look as inspiration. Earlier this fall at a Nokia event in London, Barton opted for a strong smoky cat-eye by using a combination of precise liner and dark, well-blended eye shadow. Unlike the runway examples, she kept the focus only on her upper lids, but by extending the edges of her smoky cat-eye, she ended up with a captivating and dramatic look.
If the aforementioned examples are still a wee bit bold for you, don't fretÂ--there are still subtler options! One way to achieve a softer style is to take a page from Kate Moss' beauty book and use a palette of warm neutral colors, like bronze, taupe, and walnut. Moss did just that for the launch party for Topshop's new Knightsbridge store in London when she showed up with softly smoked cat-eye liner in a rich copper hue. If Moss' look is still too much for you, we suggest studying the lovely Rachel Bilson for inspiration. At a party celebrating Roberto Cavalli's four decades in the fashion industry, Bilson went for an ultra-wearable look with dark eyeliner along her upper and lower lash line and a taupe shadow on her lids to create the extended cat-eye look. The final result is on trend without being tremendously intense! We also saw a similarly chic iteration on Jessica Szhor last month during New York Fashion Week. Like Barton, she kept the focus on her upper lash line and lids, though by picking low-contrast products, the final look is subtle and sexy.
When you're ready to try this of-the-moment look, we have all the necessary products to get you started! How you execute the smoky cat-eye is completely up to you, but we suggest starting with NARS' Soft Touch Pencil ($24) in Agile Noir. The black pencil is infused with a subtle gold shimmer, making it the perfect base for layering powder eye shadow, while its smooth, velvety texture allows for easy application and blending. For maximum impact, layer LancÃ´me's OmbrÃ© Magnetique Eyeshadow ($25) in Black Macadam over the pencil and blend the two products together to accentuate the smoky effect. Want some non-noir options? If you're looking for neutrals, don't miss CoverGirl's Smoky Shadow Blast Shadow Stick ($8.50) in Bronze Fire or Urban Decay's Naked Palette ($44), which comes with 12 essential shadows that are ideal for creating this look. Or, if you desire the ultimate shimmering smoke effect, use Bobbi Brown's Metallic Long Wear Cream Eyeshadow ($22) in Antique Gold or Brown Metal on your lids and lash line. Also, if you want the liner part of this look to really stand out, you simply must pick up MAC's Fabulous Felines Superslick Liquid Eye Liner ($17.50) in On The Hunt (or any color, really). It has a wet-look finish, almost like patent leather, which is so gorgeous and adds some dimension to an otherwise smoky eye. It's also incredibly easy to use, thanks to a super skinny felt-tip brush. It's definitely one weapon you want in your arsenal, plus its cat-referencing name makes it even more perfect for this look! But whatever products you pick, just be sure to experiment with different shades and degrees of drama to find the style that works best for you!