In Honor Of Prince, A Look Back At 18 Iconic Men Who Made Makeup Look Good
 

Article by Vogue
 

Two years ago, the world lost Prince, who was a disruptor in every sense of the word. On top of catapulting funk, rock, and every genre in between to another dimension, the Minneapolis-born-and-bred prodigy introduced an ever-evolving, purple-drenched aesthetic all his own punctuated by directional, gender-bending makeup looks.

 

Two years ago, the world lost Prince, who was a disruptor in every sense of the word. On top of catapulting funk, rock, and every genre in between to another dimension, the Minneapolis-born-and-bred prodigy introduced an ever-evolving, purple-drenched aesthetic all his own punctuated by directional, gender-bending makeup looks. For the High Priest of Pop, no color was off limits, nor was any graphic gaze too extreme. And while he may have been a trailblazer, he joins an impressive history of men who have dipped into makeup bags with abandon, to great success.

After all, it was the moment David Bowie ditched his image as just another long-haired crooner from Brixton for the otherworldly and heavily made-up Ziggy Stardust that he experienced a meteoric rise to fame. While some critics found Bowie’s chromatic, gender-fluid looks a distracting display of smoke and mirrors, the Pierre La Roche–designed celestial makeup had a resounding influence. Contemporaries and collaborators Mick Jagger and Marc Bolan also exhibited a flair for cosmetics, using daubed-on eyeliner and splashes of glitter to set themselves apart from the average frontman, finding, in the process, that femme-ing up their looks only heightened their masculine edge onstage.

 David Bowie, 1973

David Bowie, 1973

 Steven Tyler, 1976

Steven Tyler, 1976

 

Not long after the glam rock ’70s came the culture club ’80s, where the likes of Leigh Bowery and Boy George made a habit of dressing as though their lives depended on it, down to the angular flush of their cheeks. Across town, while Bryan Ferry waxed poetic on redecorating Roxy Music’s hotel rooms, bandmate Brian Eno could be found in front of their best-lit mirrors, strategizing oblique slashes of blue eyeshadow and multi-tonal hair chalk. Robert Smith and, later, Marilyn Manson enjoyed the imprint their powdered porcelain skin, dark black eyeshadow, and blood-stained lips left on the streets. It’s an effect Manson enhanced with a milky-white eye contact—perhaps a wink at Bowie’s arresting, permanently dilated pupil?