By  on September 10, 2010

Not too long ago, in the rarefied world of high fashion, a model was either art or commerce. The former was often edgy, androgynous, difficult for the general public to relate to and the darling of fashion editors and designers; the latter, curvy, classically beautiful and sexy, a staple of Victoria's Secret and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Then, during the fall collections shown last spring, the two worlds collided. Uberdirectional designers like Marc Jacobs and Miuccia Prada, designers who are considered the harbingers for those in the know, sent down their catwalk a parade of models who are as celebrated for their curves as they are for their cool factor. Their presence signaled a distinct shift in the prevailing fashion winds. Gone was the minimalist, androgynous aesthetic that has dominated in the recent past, replaced by a return to a sexy, sophisticated femininity and all that it implies—big hair, bold makeup, bodacious curves.

Beauty companies have responded in like. For fall, beauty—with a capital B—is back. Dramatic makeup, statement-making hair, ultrafeminine fragrances—these are the elements that feel most au courant now. As Madonna Badger says in "The Return of the Bombshell," "Who wants to see a depressing skinny girl with no boobs who looks like a boy? There is a luxury in voluptuousness." This issue, our annual guide to fall's most important products and trends, is chock full of just that.

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