By  on August 3, 2007

Cool neutrals, deep plums and black-based hues make headlines this season. But don't discount true reds.

Marvelous Mauves and Mossy Greens

"Plums and greens are the new neutrals," says makeup artist Pati Dubroff, Christian Dior's international celebrity makeup artist. "It's a way to do daytime or soft eyes, but still inject color. The plums enhance all eye colors and create an effect that's romantic, but not too sweet."

Vincent Longo, makeup artist and founder of the makeup brand that bears his name, is also seeing a variety of green shades that, he says, carry a "coolness."

Retailers like Bergdorf Goodman are likewise focused on plum hues. "Plum is one of the strongest colors of the season," says Ed Burstell, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of beauty, jewelry and accessories, who adds that increasingly, consumers are embracing beauty trends seen on the runways.

Standouts in the plum category include Yves Saint Laurent's limited edition eye palette (E). Available in two color combinations, the compact features a female figure in an off-the-shoulder evening gown with a large bow. Estée Lauder's all-over crème shadow stick (H), designed to last up to 12 hours, can be used as a base color or a highlighter on eyes with its semi-pearl finish. Inspired by an 18th-century Chinese box given to its international artistic director Gucci Westman, Lancôme is introducing a multifaceted Destiny Cube (D) with green and pink eye shadows on one side and lipstick and gloss on the other.

Nude and Shimmery

While past falls have been marked by strong color, the surprise look this season is super natural.

"It's about reinventing nudes," says Bobbi Brown, founder and chief executive officer of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. "This fall, nudes with a little bit of tone and shimmer are in. There are different textures, but the colors are inspired by natural skin tones of the eyelids. They're best used for enhancing eyes."

It's one trend Brown must be thrilled about. After all, the makeup artist pioneered the look when she launched her line in 1991. According to Brown, neutrals were considered ho-hum until she came along and paired them with black mascara and eyeliner. "The full monochromatic nude face, lip and cheek is classic Bobbi," she says.Lord & Taylor senior vice president and general merchandising manager Barbara Zinn Moore adds that today's technology allows companies to create a variety of nude shades with different finishes and color gradations.

"You can have a creamy beige or a pinkish beige in a palette of 20 beige tones, with subtle color variations and different finishes," she says.

Bergdorf Goodman's Burstell adds that the Michael Kors, Yves Saint Laurent and Stella McCartney fall runways all featured lots of cool neutrals. "It's all about completely unadorned, fresh glowing skin," he said.

Fire-Engine Reds

According to Lord & Taylor's Zinn Moore, lipsticks—especially bright red ones—are making a comeback.

"At the fashion shows, while the rest of the face featured fresh neutral tones, a true red, especially in the lips, was played up," observes Longo. "Whether it's a reddish brown or reddish topaz, there's a richness with reds. There are colors that can be splashed together with red."

Gordon Espinet, vice president of makeup artistry at MAC Cosmetics, also noticed "a lot of strong intense reds," especially at Roberto Cavalli.

Dubroff adds, "The true red lip is that touch of retro glamour that is so right this season."

Bettina O'Neill, Barneys vice president divisional merchandise manager, notes that both Shu Uemura and Chanel are promoting new red lipstick shades, offering consumers enough hues for every skin tone.

Guerlain is introducing KissKiss Lipstick in six new shades this season with golden, brown and rosy undertones, including a bold red called Fabulous Rouge (G).

And while Chanel is covering its bases with the launch of four neutral hues of Rouge Hydrabase, a cream formula, it is also releasing a new shade of Rouge Allure lipstick for holiday—a heart-stopping red called Dazzling (F).

Fresh is building on the success of its Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 with high-shine, non-sticky Sugar Lip Gloss. In 10 shades, including a true red called Sugar Shag (E), it's packed with moisturizing ingredients including shea butter, jojoba oil, grape seed oil, black currant seed oil and vitamin E.Finally, there are plenty of red-hot nail colors to complement the plethora of red lipsticks and glosses this season. Standouts include offerings from IsaDora (B) and Sally Hansen (D).

Slate and Sapphires If you're cruisin' for a bruisin' - or at least the bruising look of smokey eyes, you're in luck.

MACCosmetics' Blue Storm and Smoke Signal's collection feature "a classic approach to beauty, inspired by Milanese women," says Espinet. "It's not about browns, but rather the cool combination of gray, blue and silver."

Bobbi Brown's collection takes a cue from Elizabeth Taylor's dark blue sapphire jewelry. "Deep colors with a lot of black and blue create products that are smoldering, sexy and wearable. Women of all eye colors can wear them; they're not just for blue eyes," she says.

"From accessories to ready-to-wear colloctions, metallics are very strong this season, so it's no surprise that makeup is following the trend in a big way," notes Lord & Taylor Zinn Moore. "It's either about smoky, shiny and metallic shades or very natural tones with nudes and beiges in different textures," she says.

Dior's Dubroff is excited about navy blue. She says it could be a great alternative or addition to a pair of black smoky or lined eyes.

New Wave Pink and Glitter

Fall makeup is also going retro with a variety of colored palettes inspired by the post-dico Eighties.

"These are girls who might have been punks in the Seventies and Eighties. We're taking that favorite era of ours and making more sophisticated. It's not glittery, but more like glamour gone cool," Espinet says.

Bustell saw lots of Eighties-inspired work at the Chloe, Louis Vuitton and Jeal Paul Gaultier shows. "It's another variation of the bold lip with very pale skin and that splash of color across the face," said Burstell, who notes that the variation of colors on the eyes is punk-like, especially when coupled with blast eyeliner.

"There's lots of color on the eyes, which makes it very dramatic," echoes Barneys' O'Neill.Judy Wray, category manager at Rite Aid, adds that the colorful trend has inspired the use of less foundation.

Maximum-Volume Lashes

"There's more mascara this season than ever before," says MAC Cosmetics' Espinet, who has seen mascara and false lashes become a growing trend the last three seasons.

Longo also considers false lashes and heavy coats of mascara as an important trend this season.

Kimiko's mascara (A), exclusively sold at Takashimaya in New York, is designed to increase volume and lengthen as well as renew and repair lashes. The formula features nourishing jojoba, keratin and vitamin E.

Rimmel London's mascara (E) is said to triple lash thickness with new micro-injected technology and an applicator with superfine micro bristles. The formula is infused with vitamins and minerals to help keep lashes strong and healthy.

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