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Editor’s Letter: Let’s Put On A Show

Spring 2010 beauty trends, the department store cosmetics scene, and new top model Karlie Kloss all up the wow-factor.

After four cities, five weeks and more than 400 shows, one word sums up beauty from the spring 2010 collections: Wow. Horned creatures with glowing, iridescent skin stalked the runway at Alexander McQueen, while at Luella Bartley, Alice in Wonderland-on-acid–inspired doll-like creatures, their eyes painted with bright primary colors, their topknots crowned with shiny patent leather bows, cavorted on the catwalk. Gucci, which, season in, season out, usually sends a slew of sexy-haired, smoky-eyed models down the runway, opted instead for a utopian vision of healthy beauty, while a new crop of hot models made headlines with boyish haircuts and an androgynous aesthetic. In all, it was a fantastic—and very relevant—season for beauty, with hair and makeup looks that were connected to both the clothing and some key cultural goings-on. We’ve broken down the entire season into the most directional trends in “Super Six.”

 

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The indisputable star of the season was Karlie Kloss, a 17-year-old model from Missouri who has become the darling of photographers and designers alike. She opened, among others, Dior, Isaac Mizrahi and Marc by Marc Jacobs, and closed Thakoon, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Sonia Rykiel. John Galliano has already tapped her to be the face of Dior for spring. Makeup artistPat McGrath likens her to a chameleon, noting she “morphs beautifully to the specifications of each job she takes on.” For a very striking look at the young model, turn to “Karlie in Command.”

 

Speaking of morphing, some key American department stores have undergone significant transformations in the last few months—and no wonder. According to Euromonitor International, overall U.S. department store sales are forecast to decline an estimated 14 percent in 2009 to $117.5 billion, from $136 billion in 2008, and to decrease 3 percent in 2010 with continued declines through 2014. To counter the trend, Bloomingdale’s redesigned its 59th Street flagship beauty floor into a wonderland of technology, excitement and brands galore, while Saks Fifth Avenue continues to revamp its Fifth Avenue beauty department into an oasis that combines high tech with high touch. Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and Dillard’s, meanwhile, are all experimenting with new formats. Will it be enough to bring back consumers—particularly younger shoppers—who have migrated to other channels? Find out in “The Big Bang.” As Jean-Paul Agon, chief executive officer of L’Oréal, says in the story, the key is to enchant consumers. And if spring’s bold runway statements are anything to go by, there should be a lot of magic happening in the months to come.