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As designers were putting the finishing touches on their fall collections this week, work was just beginning on another front: figuring out the beauty looks. While makeup artists are famous for being quick-change artists, fashion week forces that ability to a whole new level — beauty tests, when hair and makeup looks are presented to a designer, nearly always take place just days before models march down the catwalk.

While it’s safe in any season to bet that you’ll see red lips, lip gloss and plenty of black mascara, there’s a real movement toward color on other parts of the face — a bold eye shadow, a flush of blush, a shimmery eyeliner. But don’t expect the clown-like looks this time around.

“The looks coming up are very easy to translate into ‘street’ makeup, something an actual consumer would wear,” said Gordon Espinet, executive director of makeup artistry for MAC Cosmetics. The company, a backstage powerhouse, will do upward of 40 shows — including Zac Posen, Catherine Malandrino, Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera — in New York alone this season.

“You see brights like violet, pink and peach, but they are sheer and wearable, and worn with earthier colors,” Espinet continued. “Inspiration is coming from all eras, from the Fifties to the early Eighties. And there’s a movement toward playing up your makeup — not to mention using multiple products like a few eye shadows, eyeliner, multiple shades of blush. It’s about letting your inner child out.”

Here, just a few of the looks that were planned:

This story first appeared in the February 5, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

  • “The makeup tests for the Hollywould show took me back to why I started in this career,” said MAC’s Espinet. “Holly [Dunlap, the line’s creator and owner] pulled out old Vogue covers and photos from Scavullo shoots, and it all came rushing back — lots of mascara, multiple eye shadow colors. Sort of rebellious with a touch of classic. I think that ultimately, this season is going to be about full-on makeup — lots of color, with natural, healthy, flawless skin.”
  • “For the Marc Bouwer show, the setting is a Thirties nightclub re-created at Cipriani’s,” said Gina Brooke of Caliente Beauty LA, the key artist for Bouwer’s show on Wednesday. The show’s makeup sponsor is Shu Uemura. “Eyes are the focus — dramatic and luxurious. The trend is a new take on the smoky eye moving away from black and gray and instead using Shu Uemura’s new chocolate eye shadow with bronze and gold highlights. To add period glamour, custom Shu Uemura false lashes are also applied. The cheek is a very soft amber to give subtle definition, and the lips are a rich eggplant with high shine to match a luminous skin created using Shu Uemura’s new fall cream cheek shimmer.”

    But will it play in Peoria? With a few adaptations, yes: “The look can be translated into a more wearable look with a tighter smoky eye using the same chocolates and gold shades,” said Brooke. “The lips become more sheer using an eggplant gloss while the skin stays luminous with a touch of gold as a highlight.”

  • “The fall season will bring an autumnal shower of lush green shades with rich, velvety texture,” said Polly Osmond of Art Department, who is doing shows both here and abroad, including several for Shu Uemura. “Forest wood tones of brown and darker gray and silver shadow bring mystery and intrigue to the eyes.”
  • Paul Starr, who will be the key makeup artist at Sass & Bide on Monday and will use Estée Lauder’s new fall color story to create the looks, is betting on a simple formula: smoky blue eyes and nude, fleshy lips.