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A Tribute to Princess Diana’s Blue Eyeliner Obsession

Of all of Princess Diana’s style signatures, her ’80s-era proclivity for swipes of electric blue eyeliner was a standout for one Vogue editor….

“I like to be a free spirit,” Princess Diana once said. “Some don’t like that, but that’s the way I am.” Over two decades since her untimely death, the public’s longstanding fascination with her—as a royal, a humanitarian, a style icon, and an unapologetic rebel—has yet to wane. The new season of The Crown, out today, is only sparking more intrigue around the ways in which she bucked royal tradition with a self-assured attitude and distinct codes of self-expression.

As a kid of the ’90s, I, like many, have always been taken with Princess Diana’s beauty, grace, and glamour. But of all her signatures, the one that has always stuck out to me was her ’80s-era proclivity for swipes of electric blue eyeliner; most strikingly worn with one of her sparkling diamond tiaras. Oh, the contrast! Yes, I know it was the ’80s, and that it was the banner decade for colorful makeup, but for a woman of her stature, to me it always seemed kind of punk, a means of subtly railing against the royal system. 

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Plus, her pared-back approach to a decidedly bold color statement brought a real-world sensibility to the look. “In the ’80s, blue eyeliner was about pulling out or brightening up naturally blue eyes,” explains makeup artist and Tatcha’s first-ever global director of artistry Daniel Martin, who famously gave Meghan Markle her natural wedding-day glow. “She kept it close to the lash line, enhancing the iris by creating this monochromatic tonal effect on the eye. She never took it up to her eyelid, which would create an entirely different effect all together. I think her wearing it in that way made it wearable for so many.”

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Photo: Getty Images
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