In Paris, the mouths roar

Models for Dries Van Noten painted their lips in citrus shades, from tangerine to blood orange. Models for Dries Van Noten painted their lips in citrus shades, from tangerine to blood orange. (michel euler/associated press)
By Jenny Barchfield
Associated Press / April 2, 2009
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PARIS - The buzz was all about the mouth at recent previews of fall fashion, where lips popped in screaming shades of fuchsia and orange or pouted in vampy plums.

Some designers slathered models' faces in ghostly white foundations to contrast stand-out mouths, while others opted for bare beauty with an au naturel look. Skin was dewy, with luminous, velvety patches on the cheeks, chin, and forehead.

Hair was worn up in slick pompadours or skyscraper buns or occasionally left down in big '70s-inspired cascades.

"It was a very strong season for makeup," said Lyne Desnoyers, of cosmetics giant MAC, which does makeup at 35 Paris shows. "It was all about precision - we all got out our brushes and sharpened our pencils - and nothing was left to chance, nothing was innocent."

Screaming lips
At Emanuel Ungaro, lips matched the rainbow of upbeat shades on the collection's abbreviated cocktail dresses and miniskirts. Models' upper lips were pink, their bottom lips purple. Eyes were nude, with not even a trace of mascara.

Belgium-based Dries Van Noten sent out lips in citrus shades, from tangerine to blood orange. At Lanvin, models looked like they were just in from a romp in the berry patch, their lips stained in shades of raspberry, blackberry, and strawberry.

Red-carpet king Elie Saab and Jean Paul Gaultier both used strong eyebrows to balance out strong mouths, in cherry red and bubblegum pink.

Asked if she thought the bright shades on the catwalks would prove workable in real life, makeup artist Desnoyers said "it's all about modulating."

"Instead of going for a big matte mouth, Jane Doe might make it more subtle and wearable by adding a touch of gloss," she said.

Eye-popping eyes
Eccentric British designer Vivienne Westwood broke with the fixation on the mouth, instead adding drama with Pamela Anderson-inspired smoky eyes. Eyelids were swathed in mineral-based shadows in black with a blue or green sheen for a smoldering, sensual look. Lips were lined but not colored in.

"It was meant to look strong and edgy without looking too messed up," said Denmark's Carolina Patterson, a senior makeup artist with MAC.

At Chanel, models' lower lids were piled with flashing white sequins and tiny black beads, while lips were a sweet baby pink.

Prada's second line Miu Miu went wild with eye shadow applied in racoonlike patches that reached above the brow line. Picking up on a fashion trend that touted tarnished metallics, the tones were coppery.

At Chloe, bronze shadow was paired with flesh tone lips and big Farrah Fawcett hair for a sun-kissed, natural look.

The natural look also reigned on the Balmain catwalk, where sparkle was reserved for the clothes. Models in rhinestone-encrusted strapless dresses had bed-head hair that fell in tousled locks over fresh faces that were adorned with but a touch of rosy-pink gloss and a hint of black on the lids.

Ghostly foundations
Over-the-top British designer Alexander McQueen took the cake in this category, sending out models with eery whitewashed faces, except for their mouths, which were an oversize smear of red - like a stroke of fire-engine lipstick was applied by a clumsy child.

Fellow Brit John Galliano sent out pale-faced Russian brides, their lips rosy, their eyes ringed with baby blue and razor-thin, 1920s-inspired brows.

Hong Kong-based designer Shiatzy Chen toned down models' features with whitish foundation that even covered the lips. A dollop of lacquer red, like a little button in the center of the models' mouths, gave them a geisha look.

Ghostly skin and strong mouths in glossy shades of berry and mauve matched the gothic mood of the clothes at Givenchy.

Other labels, like Saab, applied whitish patches high on the cheekbones and around the eyes to boost the skin's luminosity.

Sky-high 'dos
Bad-boy Gaultier sent out gravity-defying pompadours - hairpieces, it turned out: After a staged cat fight between two beehived models at the end of the show, each came away from the fray with a fistful of teased locks.

Christian Lacroix also built skyward, topping off his sophisticated looks with donut-shaped twists that sprouted from the tops of the models' heads.

At Christian Dior, hair was close to the scalp in a '20s flapper style, the locks held flat by hundreds of bobby pins.

Givenchy rode the fence of big and flat with hair that was slicked down over the scalp but burst into tight crimped waves that hung down to the models' shoulders.

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