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A Pinker Shade of Pale : Kiss Goodby the Raucous Red Lips of '86

January 11, 1987|PADDY CALISTRO

After a season of being coated with deep, aggressive reds, lips are going back to lighter shades. Today's mouth is understated and pretty, devoid of obvious color, a quiet and studied complement to the pastels that fashion designers are showing for late winter and early spring.

This pink mouth is far

from the bare look of the nature-loving '70s. It ranges from petal pink and delicate rose to vibrant raspberry and vivid fuchsia. The newest lip colors have an opalescent sheen or even a slightly metallic glint, finishes that haven't been seen for a while on the lips.

In the past, light-colored lipsticks were a means of erasing the mouth. When Cheryl Tiegs graced the covers of Seventeen in the early '60s, her lips were whitewashed with pale matte pinks and peaches, which focused attention on her heavily lined, luxuriously lashed baby blues. By the early '70s, though, white and frosted lipsticks were set aside in favor of see-through lip glosses that were worn with equally subtle eye makeup, so neither feature dominated the face. Many women, perhaps inspired by the feminist movement or just eager to discard their cosmetics bags, stopped wearing makeup altogether. After years of relatively unembellished faces, times and trends changed again, and women returned to tubes, sticks, brushes and pots of lip color.

Last year, reminiscent of the 1950s, rouged lips returned. Consumer reaction to red was positive, but as Millicent Novas, U. S. representative for Paris' Stendhal cosmetics, observes, "We're in a post-'50s stage now. We're moving into something more modern: pink."

Iris Model, senior vice president and director of education for Clinique, says there is a "resurgence of consumer interest in soft, subtle shades," which her company calls Whisper Glazes. The five-shade collection of what Model calls "less colorful colors" ranges from a luminous mauve to opalescent Sugar Glaze, a pink so pale that only adolescents need apply. But as Model points out, the over-16 crowd can use it to subdue, highlight or put a glistening sheen on darker shades.

It should be remembered that most pink lipsticks look quite different on the lips from the way they appear in the tube. Shades that seem too intense can be actually stylishly pale. The pouty pink mouth must be supported by the other colors on the face, points out Vivian Behrens, vice president of makeup and fragrance marketing at Estee Lauder, who adds that the new face will reflect a "balanced, almost monochromatic point of view. Winter and early spring faces are softly focused, with lips as well as cheeks paler than in the past."

Such softness, Behrens says, will "play off of a heightened awareness of the eye." Angie Heon, regional training director for Shiseido, predicts a comeback for eyeliner that will be "not as we saw it in the '60s, but with a more contemporary, linear look."

Clinique has reintroduced cake eyeliner in both black and white--shades of the late '60s--to create a "well-drawn" eye. And during the holidays, Lancome brought back faux eyelashes.

The return to hushed lips and highlighted eyes might be interpreted as a reaction to the boredom of the natural look and the threatening, overpowering flash of the retro-'50s face. And unlike bold reds and quirky corals, there's a shade of pink to flatter women of every age, skin tone and attitude. In other words, pink--as innocent as a baby or as polished as a pearl--is the news on everyone's lips.

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