By  on August 7, 2006

LOS ANGELES — Victoria's Secret Beauty launched Very Sexy makeup last week with a barrage of events here, where the line is being carried before rolling out across the country in September.

Last Monday, Victoria's Secret models signed autographs at the Victoria's Secret store at The Grove here. At night, it was on to dinner in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's penthouse. After hours, the models partied with 500 of their closest friends at the Tropicana Bar downstairs.

Victoria's Secret chose Los Angeles to kick off Very Sexy makeup to stress the line's Hollywood theme. The collection includes 30 formulations and 200 shades with names that include "All Access" and "Fierce."

The packaging is sleek black, and "Very Sexy" is written in pink dots, like a movie title on a marquee.

At the Roosevelt, hotties and heavyweights rubbed shoulders. In a jovial mood, Heidi Klum, her pregnant belly tied up with a bow that topped off a black dress by actress and designer Milla Jovovich, sang along to Michael Jackson's "PYT (Pretty Young Thing)." Karolina Kurkova, clad in a shimmery number by Los Angeles designer Anthony Franco, was delighted to suggest songs for the playlist.

Unlikely makeup reveler Joe Lockhart, press secretary for former President Bill Clinton, joked with Christine Beauchamp, chief executive officer of Victoria's Secret Beauty, about answering reporters' questions. Also seen schmoozing were Rachel Zoe, Jessica Paster, Jason Pomeranc, David Rabin, Orlando Jones and Lawrence Bender.

Despite the crowd, Beauchamp noted it does not take a Hollywood paycheck to buy Very Sexy makeup. Lip gloss goes for $12, and bronzer for $18. "It is a luxury product at an accessible price," she said. "You can buy it like candy."

Very Sexy makeup replaces Victoria's Secret Color and will be displayed in dedicated beauty fixtures inside Victoria's Secret stores. The makeup will be available this month in selected Los Angeles locations and will go nationwide next month. To raise awareness of Very Sexy, the central image of Victoria's Secret Beauty's advertising campaign features six Victoria's Secret models with makeup on, but little else, and the tag line: "The Sexiest Women in the World Wear Very Sexy Makeup."Beauchamp said she was pleased by consumer reaction so far. Very Sexy items sold out in two hours at The Grove, and more had to be shipped from nearby stores. "It is exceeding our ambitious expectations," Beauchamp said. "It is off to a good start."

— Rachel Brown

Mariah Carey's Starr Makeover

LOS ANGELES — When Mariah Carey's "The Adventures of Mimi" tour kicks off in Miami this month, she will sport a look created by Paul Starr, a makeup artist who has painted his fair share of pop stars' cheeks. For Carey, Starr consciously put aside work he did with Madonna, David Bowie and Boy George so that the multitonal singer's makeup could be all her own.

He also carefully avoided repeating the palettes popularized now by other musicians and in Carey's prior tours.

"I didn't want to do something that had already been seen. I am really tired of seeing no makeup on tour," Starr said. "When people come to see a performance, they want to see a show. I wanted to give her fans and her audience the best version of Mariah."

Starr drew his inspiration from an odd cast of characters: he named Malibu Barbie, Brigitte Bardot and Diana Ross from "Lady Sings the Blues" among them. He gravitated toward Malibu Barbie's healthy California vibe, Bardot's Sixties appeal and Ross' doughy eyes.

"She is a modern-day woman who has a sensual quality about her," Starr said, referring to an imagined combo of Malibu Barbie and Bardot. "What is great about Mariah is that she lets you try things."

Eyelashes are a must for Carey's look, and that means lots of mascara to accent the full eye. Starr used a peachy coral shade on the singer's checks. For her lips, there are three colors featured during the show: beige for the opening, coral for the middle and pink to close out the performance.

Starr did not stick to Carey alone. He handled the dancers, who are being colored with bronze and earth tones. Two female backup singers will have red-stained lips and smoky eyes. A male backup singer will be styled to resemble Billy Dee Williams in "Lady Sings the Blues."After perfecting the makeup, Starr reached out to MAC Cosmetics, which had supplied products for Madonna shows in the past, to sponsor the tour. The company is providing the cosmetics and makeup artists in cities along the tour's route.

Starr himself will only be on hand for select dates, as he is busy with myriad other projects. He is hashing out his own cosmetics line with a company he declined to disclose, as well as delving into a new book to follow "Paul Starr on Beauty," which itself may be relaunched in paperback soon, and is considering a third book project in collaboration with Carey.

"I just have a lot on my plate right now," he said. "Stay tuned."

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