By  on December 2, 2005

NEW YORK — Catherine Deneuve has definite opinions on a lot of things, not the least of which is makeup.

Clad in a green print dress and wedge heels during an interview with WWD at the Mercer Hotel here, the French actress and fashion icon made it clear that while she wants it to be salable, her upcoming limited-edition makeup collection for MAC Cosmetics was born of her own beauty likes and needs.

"I really wanted to be involved with the making of the colors, and to create a very small but very personal collection," said Deneuve, whose lineup for MAC will be on counter on Jan. 20 in the brand's stores and at Deneuve worked closely with MAC's James Gager and Caroline Geerlings to create the collection, which comprises more than 27 limited-edition products — including four lipsticks, four Lipglass shades, two eye shadow quads, two nail lacquers and four short-handled makeup brushes.

Deneuve is the third in a series of MAC Beauty Icons; previous icons were Liza Minnelli and Diana Ross.

"Catherine Deneuve has always been a style inspiration to everybody who works at MAC," said John Demsey, global president of the MAC and Estée Lauder brands. "Over the years, almost every single swipe of every single MAC collection invariably has a moment from the life of Catherine Deneuve. She is such an accomplished actress and an amazing style icon. I thought it would be wonderful to bring the ultimate icon of French beauty and style here to do a collection."

And Deneuve was more than up for the challenge. "As an actress, I've been concerned with makeup for such a long time, especially because as an actress you will wear makeup at least eight hours a day — as compared to session photos, where you are maybe in makeup for two hours," she said. "For instance, I knew that foundations often go to pink or yellow, so we worked together to find the tone that I thought was so necessary for a nice, natural glow on this skin. No one is very pink or very white or very red, so these foundations are not either."

MAC will offer a limited-edition Select Tint shade, NW23, and three limited-edition shades of its Studio Lights makeup — Tender Glow, Sand and Frangipani — in the Deneuve lineup. Select Tint retails for $23, while Studio Lights retails for $14.50.Two limited-edition eye color palettes, each retailing for $34, will also be offered. "I knew that I didn't want sparkle of any kind — in eye shadows or even the nail lacquer," said Deneuve. "I wanted things as matte as possible."

While Deneuve realizes that matte can be a scary word to some women, she's convinced of its importance. "When a woman hears that it's matte she might think, 'Oh, it's harder to wear, you have to be perfect,' but actually, I find that the sparkle in makeup is harder to wear," she said. "Things are a little looser, with shining particles going everywhere as you touch your eye or your cheekbone. As an actress, you have to have makeup for the cinema that is as clear and as matte as possible, because the artificial light doesn't take the sparkle of makeup well, especially after a few hours.

"We quickly decided on the colors, but it was the finishing that took time," continued Deneuve. "Getting the exact perfect tone takes as much time as deciding on a color. It's hard, when people try foundations on their hands and then try them on their face. The hand's skin and texture is never that of the face."

Store lighting is another challenge. "[In general] I think in stores it's a shame because you don't have the right lights to try makeup," she said. "You go in a store that has really beautiful yellow lights all around, and the lipstick or foundation looks different than it will at home. [The stores] should have lights that represent real life. Some architects now work with very specific lights, for instance with daylight, which is not so flattering — but I feel that it's better to be not flattering than to be disappointed. The woman will feel more comfortable afterward."

A muse of Yves Saint Laurent in the Sixties and Seventies, Deneuve is still very much a fashionista, and said she approves of the current direction of the iconic brand. "It's difficult to take the place of someone who is still living," said Deneuve. "It will take time, because there is a change of direction — yet there are archival influences, styles that Yves Saint Laurent himself might create today." She said that she is also quite fond of Marc Jacobs, and praises Prada for offering "incredibly couture details despite being ready-to-wear."

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