I tend to be drawn to weirdos. Not people who are simply weird for the sake of being weird, but people who are just naturally and earnestly different. An endless well of 70s makeup inspiration, Kate Bush is one of those people.
With her training in interpretive dance and mime, watching her perform isn't just seeing someone sing, it's seeing the song come alive right before your eyes. Sometimes it feels a little wacky at first, but by the time her choruses kick in, you can't help but be entranced. One such instance comes in the case of the video for her debut single, "Wuthering Heights."
Released in 1978 when Kate was 19, it's a haunting take on the Emily Brontë novel, with Kate's falsetto voice soaring and pleading throughout. In the video, Kate leaps and stretches and plays peekaboo, her gigantic eyes popping out to the viewer. She sways in a gauzy dress, alone in a black background save for the occasional ghostly copy of herself. The whole thing is romantic, eerie, unnerving, and beautiful.
All you need to recreate this look are a couple makeup items you already have: hairspray, a vintage dress, and a willingness to sway around and stretch your limbs. Let's get started.
Kate is known for heavily rimming her big hazel eyes with dark liner and wearing shadows of all different shades to really make them stand out. In the "Wuthering Heights" video she kept it pretty neutral but still smoky, so I started out by covering my entire lid with Urban Decay Vegan Eye Shadow in Mushroom, a warm, slightly taupe gray with a lot of sheen. I also blended it lightly up into the crease.
Next, the liner, which Kate wore plenty of in the late '70s and '80s. I chose Essence Gel Eye Pencil Waterproof in Black Blaze to line as close to my lash line as possible all around my eye, while still avoiding the lower waterline, as I find it makes my eyes look small if I apply liner there.
The black liner was definitely making my eyes pop, but it was a bit harsh, so I went back in with more of the Urban Decay shadow and brushed it over the liner, smudging to soften the edges, and ta-da, my eyes were complete. I have eyelash extensions right now, so I skipped mascara, but feel free to add a few coats of your favorite formula as a final step.
Heavy blush was big in the '70s (and '80s), and Kate was not exempt from the trend. To get the era's look I used NARS Blush in Exhibit A, a bright true red, and loaded it on in the manner all of our moms used to--by making a fish face and accenting the hollows. I also applied some of the blush high near my temples for that super '70s look.
Kate also understood the power of a good highlighter, and so I lightly dusted the tops of my cheekbones with Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics' Loose Colour Concentrate in Iced, a frosty white.
Kate usually painted her lips up in poppy, cherry shades at the time when "Wuthering Heights" was released. I went with a highly pigmented gloss for that '70s shine, using Armour Beauty Lip Gloss in Siouxsie, a tomato red. I applied it with a lip brush and then blotted down with a tissue to create my ideal level of opacity.
On any given day my air-dried hair isn't that different from Kate's. It's pretty frizzy and full of texture, with short layers on top. If you don't have similar short layers on top, I'd recommend keeping the longest layers of your hair smoother, and teasing the layers near the crown and those framing the face to get a look similar to Kate's. I also used a natural bristle brush to fluff up my bangs a bit, and misted my entire head with Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray and then scrunched to make everything even bigger and fuzzier.
And just for fun, here's a soft-focus '70s shot.
- Have I inspired you to emulate Kate?
- Did any of you manage to catch one of her comeback shows at the Hammersmith Apollo? The rest of us will have to wait until the concert DVDs come out, I suppose...