NEW YORK — The ultimate authority on makeup won’t be found this week on TV talk shows or inside glossy magazines — or even in uptown boardrooms — but backstage in the fashion tents at Bryant Park, where a crew of frenzied makeup artists wield mascara wands, lipstick applicators and powder brushes.

And a good number of them usually work for MAC Cosmetics. The sometimes loving, sometimes fitful triangle between fashion, beauty and entertainment has formed a wedge, allowing MAC to become one of the most revolutionary and influential success stories in global cosmetics, as the brand approaches its 20th anniversary next March. In the five years since the Estée Lauder Cos. acquired full ownership of the brand, MAC has grown tenfold from an estimated $65 million in retail sales to a projected $660 million for this fiscal year, which began July 1, according to calculations by industry sources.

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