Bring Back Bitch-Red Lips! Plus: Spring’s New Eyebrow

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 ($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

not trendy.”

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

customized look.

“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. Bring Back Bitch-Red Lips! Plus: Spring’s New Eyebrow