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Subtly sexy smudges of earthy eye colour on the Autumn 2014 runways:  Houghton (left) and Derek Lam. All runway images: Showbit

WHAT: For fashion observers, Fall collections are typically all about the turtlenecks and trenches. Translation: Less colour, more material, arguably less exciting than Spring. Thankfully, we beauty people had a lot to take in at Lincoln Center!

Some of the most arresting eyes this season were seen at Derek Lam. The lush layered pieces – a lacquered canvas coat in a lovely forest green was a particular standout – were paired with peepers rimmed with deep, petrol blue pools that resembled lagoons under moonlight. The makeup magic was conjured up by Estée Lauder’s creative makeup director Tom Pecheux, who says he wanted “that watery feeling of something organic around the eye”.

Elsewhere, nature-inspired hues also cast their soothing shadows on the eyes of the girls at Richard Chai. Macquillage master Romy Soleimani ran with a really rich sage shade with a “wet” finish that referenced the patent leather separates of the collection. This sexy shine was, in the words of Soleimani herself, supposed to look like “cloud on the eye; moody and hazy with the hair coming across the face.”

SEEN AT: Angel Sanchez, Derek Lam, Richard Chai Love, DKNY, Houghton

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Richard Chai (left) and DKNY

HOW TO WEAR: We’re giving you fair warning: This “editorial” look has the potential to veer all too easily into insomniac clown territory. Indeed, a cursory glance at the racoon eyes on the face chart of Derek Lam’s Fall 2014 show might make you wonder if this was the mug shot of an L.A. socialite after a particularly hard night about town.

The trick to not looking like you have a black eye is to balance out the charred smokiness with beautifully airy, beguilingly bare-looking skin. At Derek Lam, Tom Pecheux and his glam squad pampered the girls with lots of Lauder goodness.

On the skin, a meltingly soft veil of the beauty brand’s top-of-the-line Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Creme and Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher; lips were primed and slicked with a really pretty pearlescent pink achieved by custom-swatching Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Insatiable Ivory and Intense Nude.

The clean canvas was then artfully mussed up with a splash of inky eye drama. To get the look, Pecheux patted on lots of pigment-grabbing translucent powder to the entire lid before swirling on a bespoke hue created by crushing a bit of Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Eyeshadow in Ivy Envy forest green together with the deep navy shade from the Camo Chrome palette.

NYFW Autumn Winter 2014 beauty trend: How to get the soft smoky eye

Backstage action at Derek Lam’s Autumn 2014 show

Insider tip: To get the perfectly elliptical rings of colour around the socket, switch things up by using a fluffy domed cheek brush bigger than your typical shadow brush.

Here’s why. Bigger brushes pick up less product and cover more ground at the same time, so you get a really sheer finish that’s less street tramp and more ethereal forest sprite. Resist the urge the blend the edges of your socket – the almost three-dimensional pop of colour is incredibly chic and ultra-modern.

For a really pleasing contrast, keep the rest of your face stripped down and more or less neutral – that means just a smidgen of mascara, no cheek contouring and no Cara Delevingne brows, please. Viola! Softly smoked eyes that’ll sit just as well on a boardroom warrior in tailored separates and kitten heels as they would on Björk in all her Icelandic earth goddess glory. Have fun!