With fresh spring schmattes
pouring into the stores, this is normally the moment I machine-gun you, the
ordinary woman on the street, with imperatives regarding the purchase of the
season’s must-have garments. This year, I’m taking a new approach. Before you
rush off and shop yourself into credit-card debt, I ask you to consider the
following diatribe: “People have too many clothes …. I think you should go two
or three years without buying anything. But maybe you need a new haircut. Maybe
you ought to pay a hundred dollars for a terribly good cosmetician to teach you
how to make up.”
This radical advice comes from Diana Vreeland and was extracted
by moi from my treasured collection
of vintage self-help-style manuals. The book in question-for which La Vreeland
wrote the foreword-is Marisa Berenson’s unintentionally hilarious 1984
thigh-slapper entitled Dressing Up-How to
Look and Feel Absolutely Perfect for Any Occasion . F.Y.I., Marisa is the
classy 1960’s model-turned-actress whose incredibly chic film career only
permitted her to work for the likes of Visconti, Kubrick and Fosse. Dressing Up shows a very different
Marisa: Gussied-up in high 80’s drag, this founding member of the Beautiful
People looks as if she’s about to audition for Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion .
The granddaughter of Elsa Schiaparelli and sister of tragically
deceased photographer Berry (she died on American Airlines Flight 11 on 9/11),
Marisa is totally having a moment: check out the haunting Gaudi spread in the
March W , and look for her in the
gooey photo aftermath of the March 16 Minnelli-Gest nuptials, where she’ll be
the matron of honor. The Euro-trendy Marisa has always been so unimpeachably
fabulous-almost annoyingly so-that her tawdry tome (not to mention her devotion
to Liza) puts a much-needed chink or two in her style armor, adding
considerably to her appeal. Pick up a copy of Dressing Up on http://www.alibris.com ($40).
Enough about her: let’s nail that cosmetician.
Shockingly, the $100 budgeted by Vreeland over 15 years ago can
still get you a decent maquillage
consultation. Please note: I’m talking makeup, not skin care. In fact, I refuse to talk about skin care. Aren’t
you bored to death with it? New products arrive daily, each with more
outlandish claims than the last, and yet we all know that topically applied
unguents-with the exception of a dab of moisturizer-are a raging, tearing waste
of money. Makeup, however, is not.
When selecting your cosmetologist, go for experience over
grooviness: e.g., Laura Geller. This 26-year veteran was trained by Herman
Buchman (“He was,” according to Ms. Geller, “an old-school Hollywood guy from
the Max Factor days”) and modeled her Lexington Avenue makeup studio after the
old pink Max Factor Museum formerly on Hollywood Boulevard. Her client range?
“Young brides to fabulous gals in their early 80’s.” Ms. Geller’s philosophy?
“If the client makes a statement with a new makeup, she’s going to feel her
face is coming forward. She’s going to feel more alive.”
The Geller look for spring starts with the skin, “smooth, dewy
and luminescent. I stopped using pancake 15 years ago. Matte and powdery is
Eyes? “I’m loving blue and green, but only one eye shadow.
Blending three is old hat-one color across the whole lid and then a dark liner,
possibly dark blue, placed at the base. It’s kind of Michelle Pfeiffer-mod, but
Consultations start at $125. My advice: kick in another 50 bucks
and get a lesson from Laura herself. You will come away with an idiot-proof
diagram and a voucher for a complimentary follow-up critique. Expect to spend
at least $200 on Laura Geller products (1044 Lexington Avenue, 570-5477).
Over at Elizabeth Arden, international makeup director Lindsay
Ebbin is quick to assure me that things are totally happening behind the red
door. “We have lots of groovy customers. All my makeup artists are under 30,”
said the 34-year-old Lindsay, who supervises a team of 10. For the staggeringly
sub-Vreeland cost of $65 (includes chart and follow-up consultation), you can
spend an hour with this 10-year veteran and come away with a whole new
“First, I create a custom color foundation-and our system blends
four billion colors” to match your skin tone, says Lindsay, with the air of a
bloke long since inured to the wild exaggerations of his industry.
The hot look for spring? “Purple Haze eye shadow [$10]. It lifts
the intensity of any eye color.” Mr. Ebbin concurs with Ms. Geller on the
monochromatic lid, with a caveat: “If you wear a lot of black, then you can do
one color on your lids, and most young girls can do a solid. For more mature
clients, I recommend a blend.”
For lips, Lindsay recommends colored glosses, especially Radiant
Mauve ($13.50) because “it contains mica, so it glistens and works with the
Purple Haze eye shadow.”
This season’s brow? “A slight arch, but not too obtrusive,” said
Mr. Ebbin. “Like Jennifer Connelly in A
Beautiful Mind in that black-and-red cocktail dress.”
For your $65, you will come away with day and evening looks, but
be prepared to spend at least $200 on products (691 Fifth Avenue, 546-0200).
If you want to give yourself the celeb treatment, schedule a
house call from Scott Patric. Handsome Scott has privately painted the faces of
Nikki Taylor, Naomi Campbell, Kim Cattrall, Erykah Badu, Salma Hayek, Katie
Holmes, Lorraine Bracco and Candice Bergen-but not necessarily in that order.
For $350, he will alchemize, chez toi ,
for one whole hour.
Worried that you’re not model-gorgeous enough to inflict your
face on Scott? Don’t be: He also does Rosie O’Donnell.
“I’m feeling red lips for spring,” panted a frantic, overbooked
Scott. “We’ve all been doing neutrals for so long that we need to wake up the
face. Red lips make you feel sexy and strong.” According to Scott, that early
90’s favorite, Mac Russian Red ($14), is totally back! He also digs Scarlet
Empress from Nars ($21). Strong lips, according to Scott, are not aging as long
as you “define your eyes and don’t wear a light base.” What are the pitfalls of
a stronger lip? “You’ve got to pay attention to it. A lip-liner and a primer
will stop the color running into the creases.” Scott recommends Laura Mercier
primer ($28) and liner ($16) from Henri Bendel (Mr. Patric can be reached at
P.S.: Vreeland’s Dada office memos are now available in a
gorgeous boxed set for $175 at Rizzoli and Paul Smith.
P.P.S.: Don’t be surprised if demented hippie names make a
comeback: Marisa Berenson has a grown-up daughter called Starlight.
Next week: the new haircut … Oribe post-rehab … J. Lo … and more.