From gamine to vamp, makeup kits look to books.

NEW YORK — Spurred on by pouty pinups, artists’ sketchbooks and just plain convenience, makeup companies are hitting the books for holiday packaging, selling multipurpose palettes with narrative covers and magnetic...

NEW YORK — Spurred on by pouty pinups, artists’ sketchbooks and just plain convenience, makeup companies are hitting the books for holiday packaging, selling multipurpose palettes with narrative covers and magnetic clicks.

“You need a brush, lip gloss, eye shadow, and it becomes a huge kit,” said Jerrod Blandino, chief executive officer of Too Faced, which is releasing its three-stockkeeping-unit Quickie Chronicles palette line in December. “It was getting too big, too complicated, too expensive. I was looking through all these pinup books and I thought, ‘Why not put makeup in a book?’”

Packaging experts said the move makes sense, aesthetically and functionally.

“There’s a long tradition of disguising objects as books. In the 19th century, a chamber pot could be done up to resemble a stack of books, making it look appropriate in the library where the men would gather to talk, smoke and drink after dinner,” said Ellen Lupton, curator of contemporary design at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum here. “I have a Judith Leiber purse in the form of a jewel-studded book, and curio boxes disguised as books are commonplace. Packaging makeup this way is a clever idea, suggesting both portability and intelligence.”

With more than a winking nod to his collection of pinup sirens, Blandino created a three-book set, each illustrated with a retro glamour girl, and each containing three eye shadows, four glosses, one blusher, a lip gloss brush and an eye shadow applicator. Each book holds a different color palette: The Cupcake is pink, The Temptress plum and The Starlette a “naughty neutral.”

In addition to creating the makeup, Blandino penned the colorful copy. “She was a champagne bubble of a girl who liked to keep it nice and natural,” starts the paragraph on the starlet. The proverbial cupcake, in Blandino’s words, “adored pink satin sheets, chauffeured limousines and gentleman callers with an affinity for buying diamonds. The world was her oyster, and that oyster was pure pink!”

The limited-edition palettes — there are 7,000 of each — retail for $25 and will roll out to 225 domestic doors, including Sephora and Nordstrom, and 110 international doors. Blandino is launching an additional installment for spring and one for summer, each as part of the Quickie Chronicles series, and the company’s in early discussions with book chains like Booksoup and Barnes & Noble to sell the palettes in their bookshops.

This story first appeared in the October 1, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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Appealing more to the gamine than the would-be femme fatale, illustrator Jeffrey Fulvimari has created a pair of eye makeup palettes called Eye Love It! for his Bobbypin Makeup line, distributed by 312 Boots doors in the U.K. Decorated with a stylized cartoon of a young woman and the caption “Sophia invented cool, or at least she thinks she did,” the palette holds six eye shadows, an applicator and a small mirror. It also has the tag line “Warning: this item may be too fabulous for words.”

Priced at 14 pounds, or about $25, the palettes come in both day and evening versions.

Fulvimari, who illustrated Madonna’s children’s book “The English Roses” and has accessories in U.S. stores ranging from Kohl’s to Bloomingdale’s, said the book format “brings the ‘journalistic’ approach to makeup.”

Certainly, the book form seems to appeal to makeup moguls’ inner writer.

“We wanted something almost like a diary but without the hardware,” said Jean Ford, co-founder of Benefit. “It seemed to us that everything else had been done — pleather, leather, the plastic palette, the metal palette. We wanted something that was more papery and had a very nice closure.”

The result: Benefit’s two limited-edition holiday palettes, Hoola Hues and Decked Out Dandelion, each with a mirror, two eye shadows, a lip gloss, a blush, a blush brush and an eye/lip makeup applicator.

“It’s such a slim-fitting, portable product, and you can hear that click — that Mercedes click — and you know nothing’s going to fall out,” said Ford.

— Jackie Cooperman