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Spring's blush


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POSTED: Thursday, February 26, 2009

This spring, retailers will be waiting to see whether the lipstick theory holds up. That is, even if the economy falters, women may not be able to add to their wardrobes, but they'll still have enough to treat themselves to a new shade of lipstick or another small cosmetic item that will give them currency.

This season, those shades are softer versions of the fuchsias, yellows, greens, blues and violets on store racks, with pretty pinks at the top of the heap. They even turn up in one of the most unlikely places, Giorgio Armani Beauty.

The designer is noted for sophisticated clothing befitting powerful women, matched by cosmetic colors that have up to this point been classic, strong and dark. This season's “;Pink Light”; collection reflects the designer's softer side.

“;Mr. Armani did take the collection in a brighter, more ethereal direction for spring/summer, but in keeping with his design ethos, he kept the overall look subtle and understated by highlighting one key area, the inner eye,”; said Tim Quinn, celebrity face designer for Armani.

The emphasis is on a fresh complexion and a shimmering eye, a look achieved by starting with Light Master makeup primer ($55) to wear under foundation. The pearlescent formula reflects light, to give the complexion a fresh, luminous glow.

The other stars of the collection are a limited-edition Pink Light eye palette ($58), with a trio of soft pastel peach pink, pale beige and pale lilac, with silver gray to use as an eyeliner, and Lip Wax 7 ($26), a bold, saturated fuchsia. The collection can be viewed during the Neiman Marcus Beauty Event today through March 8 (details below).

The pearlescent trend also is evident at Stila Cosmetics, highlighted by a Precious Pearl Palette ($40), with six eye shadows infused with crushed pearls to minimize fine lines and impart a soft glow. Colors range from pearly white to deep blue.

At Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, the spring motto is “;A little sparkle goes with everything,”; and they've come up with the Platinum Collection to give cheeks and lips touches of sheer, shimmering color.

The collection's must-have is its limited-edition Platinum Pink Shimmer Brick ($40) featuring five color bars - soft pink, platinum, bright pink, golden coral and rose - that are blended together and swept over cheeks.

The reason for so much color is that skin-perfecting foundations have evolved to be so sheer that women can wear more makeup without looking made up, said Smashbox National Artist Hank Hoffman, who was at Sephora stores last month to introduce the company's Spring Muse collection, dressed in packaging reminiscent of Jackson Pollock's paint spatters. He'll be back in town March 19-24 for Nordstrom's Cosmetics Trend Show.

“;For a long time, makeup was really neutral. I think people are bored with neutrals and want to see something more feminine,”; he said.

The collection was inspired by the muses of Greek mythology and the desire to inspire women “;to step out of the box and play with the colors,”; Hoffman said by phone from Los Angeles. The collection evolved, in part, as an antidote to the smoky eye, which “;won't go away,”; he said.

Although the violet, blue and green ($48) of the Muse eye palette can look intimidating at first, Hoffman said, “;Color is back but it's not like theatrical makeup. It's cleaner, prettier and polished.”;

Those who do like a stronger effect can use the collection's cream eyeliner pencils ($36), layering for the desired impact. The face is balanced with peachy coral Blush Rush ($24) and glossy Lip Paint ($21) in subdued hues of creamy nude, creamy berry or creamy pink.