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Making an Open Book of Women's Beauty

October 11, 1985|SARVAT HASAN

"There's no such thing as a beauty secret," Glenn Roberts, Elizabeth Arden's creative beauty director, says.

"If it enhances a woman, why should it be a secret?"

Roberts, who recently whisked into the May Co. to share his tricks and tips, tries his best to keep nothing hidden. For two decades he's traveled the world--his next stop is Saudi Arabia--teaching women all he knows about makeup and skin and hair care.

"One standard of beauty no longer exists. Not here, not anywhere," Roberts says. "Americans are hyphenated beauties. They're part Oriental or Mexican or Caucasian. In short, a composite of all the looks in the world. And why should I tell a woman her nose should be straighter and shorter, or longer and wider? She should look like herself. Nothing dates a woman more than shading and contouring in order to change the appearance of her features. It looks as bad as an outdated dress."

Fashion and beauty are synonymous to Roberts, who began his career as a Seventh Avenue designer. Elizabeth Arden hired him on the basis of his fashion illustrations, which devoted as much detail to the face as they did to the clothes.

"You can't deal with makeup without considering hemlines, colors and trends. Fashion changes, so should your makeup," he says.

While much of the industry is seeing red for fall, Arden's palette ranges from pale and practical to dashing and daring. Red, but not resolutely. "We have a range of reds, but I can't tell you it's the color, any more than I can tell you there will be only one hemline length this season. That's ridiculous," he exclaims.

"See that girl over there?" He points to an attractive, heavy-set woman wearing a black mini-skirt. "The hemline is all wrong for her, but it might look fabulous on someone else." His point seems to be: If you don't feel comfortable, if you're not certain you look good, don't wear it.

What is Arden's direction for fall? The major focus is on eyes, Roberts says. They're decorated with one to three shades of shadow--jewel tones for brunettes, pastels for blonds. (Women with wide-set eyes should use the deepest color closer to the nose, using lighter shades to blend outward. Vice-versa for close-set eyes.)

"Build and blend the colors for a more natural effect. Definite lines are passe," he says.

With eyes emphasized, he explains, lips become paler for day and night. And nails harmonize with, but don't necessarily match, lip color.

"This is good news for working women who don't have time to change nail polish every time they change their lipstick shades."

Cheeks are not contoured, but get more of an overall blush, he says.

"Wearing too much, too dark, or too high looks very old-fashioned." Roberts thinks makeup, properly applied, should give you a healthy, vibrant glow--"as if you've had a good breakfast and taken a stress tablet."

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