Byline: Cassandra Chiacchio

NEW YORK — Detailing isn’t just for cars anymore.
This spring, beauty counters will offer a variety of beautiful eye shadows and powders that are almost too pretty to use. Almost.
And it’s not just the colors or even the compacts themselves that are turning heads. It’s the powder and eye shadow cakes that are drawing attention. Once staid and boring, these intricately designed color cakes now boast everything from lettering to Impressionist-inspired artwork.
As to what initiated this trend, Jeanine Recckio, a beauty futurologist at Mirror Mirror Imagination Group, points to the five senses.
“We think of it as experiential therapy,” she said. “In this high-tech age, we need to get a little more high-touch as well. Through these [powders and eye shadows], all aspects of the beauty product can be experienced — how it feels in your hand, the sensation of the applicator, the dimensions of the cake. Its all about the look, the touch and the feel.”
“Its almost like an erotic experience,” she added.
And, she continued, the technology behind it is amazing — embossing, debossing, overspray and special molds are all methods used to create the special effects inside the compact.
“They add sex and sizzle,” she laughed. “Plus, people are delighted by that element of surprise.”
Cosmetic companies such as Clarins, Madina Milano, Vincent Longo and Estee Lauder have all incorporated such techniques in the creation of their spring collections.
For Clarins, their spring offering took the form of miniature paintings in the Impressionist style.
The collection, appropriately called Impressionist Lights, will hit counters in mid-February and includes two face powders and four eye shadows that are reminiscent of the work of Monet. Each face and eye compact has four different basic shades as well two additional colors as flowers.
It was a return to nature and femininity, said Jenny D’Adamo, Clarins’s marketing manager of color and fragrance. “Just as flowers and gardens are unique, so are these palettes, no two are alike,” she added.
The palette impressions for face will retail for $28 and the palette impressions for eyes will be $26.
According to Caroline Peiper-Voget, vice president of marketing, the company will really focus on merchandising. “We’re going to have a lot of interesting visuals, displays that will really encourage customers to try the products.”
The complicated technology for formulating the products consists of background shades and flowers being placed in the cake holder with the help of molds, then being compacted and smoothed manually.
As for following up this collection with other art-inspired makeup, Peiper-Voget said they would wait and see. “We are constantly looking for new inspiration,” she added.
The Madina Milano line, created by Madina Ferrari, regularly features brightly colored eye shadows imprinted with sayings such as “color is emotion” or “color is fashion.” Her spring-summer collection offers several shimmering eye shadows imprinted with “2001.” They retail for $15.
Vincent Longo will launch its own artistic offering in February in the form of a new eye shadow trio called Flowers. The five shadows each contain three shades which form the shape of a flower. Inspired by the new girl group S’Cool Girlz, each shadow identifies with a different band member and will retail for $20.
Estee Lauder’s Pretty Please spring collection includes Pretty Sheer All Over Face Powder — fresh pinks combined with “Estee Lauder” scripted in gold over the powder. The powder goes on counter in February and retails for $25.
While this cosmetic artistry appeals to women of all ages, Recckio did note an especially big response from teens. “It adds a playful factor for them as well as individuality. I think it challenges brands that are stuck in mediocrity — consumers are now expecting more.”

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