SEPHORA SENDS COSMETICS DOWN THE CATWALK

Byline: Julie Naughton

NEW YORK — Gather a circus full of makeup artists and hairstylists, 15 cutting-edge beauty brands, a galaxy of makeup divas like Lorac’s Carol Shaw, Stila’s Jeanine Lobell and Iman, and add a runway. What do you get?
For Sephora, it added up to a moment of history — the first beauty runway show.
And the bleachers were well stocked with megawatt heavies. Monica Lewinsky and actresses Gretchen Mol and Drea de Matteo joined a host of beauty editors and brand reps — and a few Sephora.com competitors — at the tents Thursday for the show, which was presented on big-screen, high-definition television screens.
“Why am I here? I’m a total girl! I love makeup!” said de Matteo, a self-avowed Stila fan, who was skipping an early Sopranos call to catch the show. So does Lewinsky: “I think every girl likes to play with makeup,” she said. Lewinsky, who was wearing Nars, said she wasn’t there looking for a makeup deal. “I wouldn’t rule it out, but that’s not why I’m here,” she said.
Backstage, the scene was chaos, as 60 models — four for each artist — were prepped, and beauty editors and TV cameras crowded close to catch the action. “I’m having a lip crisis here!” said Shaw, as Pamela Haunschild, a Lorac makeup artist, tried various lip pencils on a model. Nearby, Iman, whose I-Iman brand also participated in the show, was practicing her deep breathing. “I haven’t been backstage at a show since I stopped modeling,” she said of her exit in 1989. “Now I remember why!”
The looks themselves were as diverse as the brands participating, but several prevailed: glossy lips, red lips and smoky eyes. The gloss craze was somewhat unexpected, as the fall fashion runways were all about a matte lip. Shaw’s looks were all about matte and metal — “and I always love burgundies and reds for lips — they never go out of style,” she said.
Lobell did smoky eyes in greens and browns, paired with sheer dark berry Stila Lip Glaze. “I love doing these shows, and ideas I have here often make it into my makeup collections,” she said, pointing to a new foundation that she’ll add this fall. “I’m not saying ‘straight off the New York runways’ or anything, but they are.”
Anne Upton, doing Christian Dior’s looks, is also a smoky-eye believer for fall. “I’m pairing it with sheer wash of color for the rest of the face,” she said. And Urban Decay’s Wende Zomnir believes strongly in the “bad girl gets beautiful” look. “I’m doing eggplanty purples for the eyes, liquid liner, and glitz with a glitter pen we’re adding to the line this fall,” she said.
Salon owner Edward Tricomi, who was prepping the hair on Shu Uemura’s girls, was aiming for an “uptown rebel” look. “But I don’t think these extensions will be a big trend for fall,” he said wryly, holding up a black-and pea-green piece.
Nearby, Frederic Fekkai took it all in stride. “I see hair as an accessory, and I just want to make the girls look modern and beautiful,” he said. “Runway looks give ideas, and they’re a great base for creativity, but they’re not necessarily trend-starters.”
The show is an effort that Sephora hopes to make a seasonal event. After seeing how avidly its daily beauty reports were received last season, doing a show seemed the logical next step, said Betsy Olum, senior vice president for marketing for Sephora. “Beauty follows fashion, and due to the wide range of brand partners we have at Sephora, we knew we could address trends in a meaningful way,” she said. In fact, beauty editors left with black tote bags stuffed with products from participating brands, including Club Monaco, Body & Soul, Anna Sui, Vincent Longo, Cargo, Make Up For Ever, BeneFit and Sephora Artist.
Olum also plans to screen videos of the show in Sephora stores this fall. “It brings the meaning of trends to consumers in a whole new way,” she said. “We think it will have greater meaning for them.”

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