It’s safe to say this holiday season won’t be a typical one. Between a pandemic in the midst of its third wave and a less-than-smooth presidential transition, attending a typical holiday party would be a sweet slice of normalcy we’re just not going to be granted this year. When you think about it—at least, when I think about it—half the fun of the obligatory office party or yuletide reunion is the season-specific glam: The glitter is flashier, the eyeshadow is smokier, and the lipsticks are bolder. All the beauty rules are blurred by snowflake flurries and the spilled applesauce next to the latkes.

Since we can’t indulge in the usual festivities this season, the Marie Claire team is fantasizing about crashing the most extravagant soirées in history—real and imaginary. Here, the makeup looks we’d wear to the parties of our dreams, with the help of a favorite new mascara. Welcome to our ultimate house party!

Taylore Glynn, Associate Beauty and Health Editor

taylore glynn
It’s me, the disco queen. House of Harlow x Revolve dress, $228. Nickho Rey earrings, $350.

The Party: Bianca Jagger’s 30th Birthday Bash

Sure, I miss the joie de vivre of the typical holiday soirée: the obligatory red lipstick, tipsy hugging coworkers, and even battling over a cheap vibrator during a white-elephant exchange. But the one thing I’m longing for most this season—hell, every second of every passing day lately—is dancing. Like, thejumping around under a frenetic strobe light while the bass rips through my chest and I’m covered in strangers’ sweat and screaming wordless screams” kind of dancing. And if there’s one party I know will satisfy that craving, it’s a disco at NYC’s legendary Studio 54, circa 1977. I mean, come on...the birthday girl rode on a white horse inside while Andy Warhol looked on. It was, to say the least, a vibe.

The Look:

A hypothetical disco ball was my North Star for this makeup; anything that would glitter and shine in its reflection was fair game. Chunky gilded eyeshadow, bronzy blush, a bushy brow, and a few slicks of hot-pink lipstick captured the mood I was aiming for. Alexa, play “I Feel Love.”

Chelsea Hall, Assistant Beauty and Fashion Editor

chelsea hall, dressed as harlem nights
One night in Harlem. BHLDN shrug (shop similar), $200. Lara Heems earrings, $227.

The Party: Friday Night at Club Sugar Ray

Right now, I wish I were experiencing a lavish night out at the fictional but fabulous Club Sugar Ray from the 1989 film Harlem Nights. Despite the tension surrounding the club throughout the movie (due to the ongoing feud between Sugar Ray and rival club owner Bugsy Calhoune), the 1930s speakeasy was the place to be in Harlem. It was swarming with immaculately dressed patrons in upscale fashion: tailored suits, floor-length gowns, feathered necklines, and elaborate headdresses.

The Look:

My inspiration? The subtle smoky eye and bold red lip worn by Calhoune’s mistress, Dominique La Rue (played by actress Jasmine Guy), when she meets up with Sugar Ray’s adopted son in an effort to seduce him. For my take, I combined shimmering gold and mahogany shadows to create a fresh smoky eye and added a dramatic wine-colored lip.

Tatjana Freund, Beauty Assistant

The kids are alright. All clothing editor's own.

The Party: Euphoria’s Homecoming Dance

It’s no secret that this year has been, to be blunt, the worst. The only party I really want to go to is one where I’d be able to fully destress, without worrying about looking perfect or playing it low-key. The Euphoria homecoming dance is exactly that kind of party: glitter-heavy looks to die for, some NSFW fun, and, perhaps best of all, high school drama instead of real-world drama. I’m swapping a champagne flute for a champagne bottle and throwing on some eye crystals. There’s no such thing as overdoing it.

The Look:

Anyone who binged Euphoria can tell you that Maddy Perez, cheerleader and deliverer of sassy lines and snide comments, is iconic. She’s a scene stealer for everything from her attitude to her outfits to her beauty looks. There are no no-makeup makeup looks here; she goes hard, whether that’s bedazzling her eyes with chains and crystals or shaping winged eyeliner so sharp, it could cut you. The look I created was a mix-and-match of some of her best work: floating liner, cat-eyes, and of course jewels.

Wanyi Jiang, Design Director

batman returns
Meow. 16Arlington dress, $1,300. Mounser earrings, $180.

The Party: Batman Returns’s Masquerade Ball

I’ve always loved this masked affair, when Selina Kyle (Catwoman) and Bruce Wayne (Batman) show up to the party sans costume. The implication is that their masks are actually their human selves and the way people see them is their disguise—not unlike my makeup’s effect. It has a very sparkling, festive, dark irony to it, which is exactly my personality.

The Look:

Would “feline wiles” suffice? Obviously, I was influenced by Michelle Pfeiffer’s makeup in the soirée scene, which paired classic neutrals with a bold red lip. The eyes needed to be as catlike as possible and involved extended eyeliner at both the inner and outer corners.

marie claire dolly parton holiday cover 2020

Click here to read more from our Holiday issue.