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A La Mode

This season's most striking beauty products feature deep colors, rich textures and some arresting design elements.

Like the best of fall fashion, this season’s most striking beauty products feature deep colors, rich textures and some arresting design elements.

Purple Populi
Purple creates indelible images, as no doubt Michelle Obama, whose chic Maria Pinto sheath catapulted her to the top of best-dressed lists, can attest to. No wonder, then, beauty companies have chosen it as their statement-making shade for fall, too. Estée Lauder used the hue to convey the warmth of its newest fragrance Sensuous, a rich blend of woody notes, amber, magnolia and jasmine. Both Jeanne Lanvin and Lalique’s Amethyst use purple to reflect the contents within, the former a blend of fruity notes such as blackberry, raspberry and pear with a musky base; the latter a mixture of blackberry, white lily, ylang-ylang and wild rose. Aedes de Venustas’ deep cassis flacon reflects the sensuality of the interior of the cult boutique for which the scent is named, while Guerlain’s Insolence Eau de Parfum dark violet sphere houses a scent of violet, iris, sandalwood and tonka bean. Anna Sui and Urban Decay opted for an edgier route, Sui with Night of Fancy, whose peacock-topped flacon is a virtual flight of fancy, Urban Decay with a new sword-tipped lipstick collection in an array of outré shades.

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Deep-Sea Diving
Rich in potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and vitamins A, C and niacin, seaweed is a vital nutrient in food. It’s also a vital ingredient in beauty ingredients this fall, be it red, green or brown algae. La Mer built its brand on harnessing the hydrating power of sea ingredients and its newest, The Hydrating Infusion, is no exception. A serum that transforms into a liquid when applied, it’s activated by the skin’s temperature and pH level to provide tailored levels of moisturization. Kanebo’s Sensai Premier The Body features seaweed harvested from the Sea of Japan, while Clarins combines brown algae with oat sugars, peanut proteins and hibiscus seed proteins in its new antiager, Extra-Firming Tightening Lift Botanical Serum. Clinique uses red algae found off the coast of Israel in the Mediterranean Sea for its stress-neutralizing properties in Superdefense SPF 25 Age Defense Moisturizer, while H2O Plus’ Sea Marine Nourishing Body Cream is derived from three different types of seaweed to help strengthen the skin’s protective barrier.

Smooth Move
Baby oil has come a long way, baby. Once the province of the under-five set, oil as a product form is among one of fall’s biggest trends, be it for the face, the body, the scalp or the hair. Companies are not only tapping into the moisturizing benefits of oils, but also into their healing, soothing and detox properties. Take Dior, which is launching a supercharged version of its popular Capture Totale antiaging cream. Targeted to older, ultradry skin, Haute Nutrition Oil Care features a combination of three oils rich in omegas 3, 6 and 9 blended with Capture’s signature antiaging complex. Laveré’s Body Effect Active Silhouette contains nine different oils—among them argan, almond, apricot, cypress and juniper—plus sea algae extracts to moisturize and smooth. Argan oil stars in Moroccanoil Treatment, a multiuse treatment and styling product that has already gained a cult following among hairdressers, while Aetó harnesses the healing properties of rosemary flower, lavender, clary and nigella sativa for its De-toxer Oil designed to rebalance oily, itchy and flaky scalps. Intelligent Nutrients Hair and Scalp Treatment Oil—with the brand’s signature pumpkin, cumin, grape, raspberry and cranberry seed complex—also has a multitude of uses, applied to the scalp and hair before chemical processing such as color, applied to dry hair as a styling and defrizzing agent, and even as a massage oil.

Modern Twist
The strong lines of this season’s best collections—think Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Prada—call for makeup that’s equally bold. And nothing is more dramatic than graphic shades of black, white and grey on the eye—in other words, the classic smoky eye. “The smoky eye is one of those concepts that never goes away,” says MAC makeup artist Konstantine Mironychev. But what makes this fall’s look different from seasons past is the shape. “The colors are classic but the execution isn’t,” continues Mironychev, citing Kate Hudson’s dramatic look on the cover of W’s September issue as an example. “There’s a lot of structure to the look, but it’s smoky and sexy at the same time.”

Graphic by Design
It’s not easy to reinvent the wheel. Or the mascara wand, for that matter. But Givenchy did just that this season with a unique sphere-topped lash elongator. Naturally, there’s an explanation—the rounded tip is said to better reach the baby lashes in the inner corner of the eye—but when something looks this cool, who cares? Sometimes great design is enough of a reason to covet a product and this season that’s especially true. La Prairie’s sculptural Lucite jar for its new Cellular Cream Platinum Rare is almost as arresting as its $1,000 price tag, while Viktor & Rolf’s uplifting paper clipesque eyelash designs for Shu Ueumura were inspired by a bird in flight. In the fragrance realm, Tom Ford reinterpreted his classic flacon in milky white glass for his White Patchouli, lending it a Sixties Mod feeling perfectly in keeping with the contents within, while Jean Paul Gaultier infuses the bottle of his newest, Ma Dame, with shocking pink that waxes and wanes in hue depending on the light.