In Jordan Peele’s new film, Us, Lupita Nyong’o tackles her first horror role with gusto, delivering more than a few scares. The actress is currently garnering raves for her performance, and at last night’s London premiere she brought a vampiric sensibility to the red carpet with a dramatic beauty look. Nyong’o’s smoky eyes, bold blush, and black lips were complimented by a pièce de résistance: bright red contact lenses.
Done incorrectly, the combination could have seemed like a costume, but makeup artist Nick Barose gave the otherworldly look sophistication by drawing from ’80s risk takers. “We wanted to avoid pretty red carpet looks and be more experimental, taking wicked beauty ideas from fierce women in 80’s music videos who really played with makeup that echoed their strong powerful attitude,” Barose shared via email, citing Annie Lennox, Grace Jones, and Irving Penn’s iconic Vogue beauty shots as sources of inspiration.
To achieve the stark black lips, Barose skipped lipstick and went straight for the eye crayons, using Lancome’s Hypnose Stylo Eyeshadow crayon in Onyx followed by a layer of the plummy L’Absolu Gloss in Not Afraid. The striking red blush (Lancome Le Monochromatique in Haute Couture) was applied to the very tops of cheekbones instead of on the apples for what Barose called “a fun way to add colorful drama.” Outside the box in every way, the makeup was complimented by voluminous curls crafted by hair stylist Vernon Francois and a crimson dress by Attico.
Nyong’o and her team seem committed to moving the needle; after Francois turned duckbill clips into a Snoop Dogg-inspired crown during SXSW and Barose unleashed her inner demon, the only question is what they’ll come up with next.