ORANGE--A COLOR born in Southern California--is emerging as a major spring/summer fashion shade. Now orange lipstick, nail polish, blusher and even eye shadow are part of the trend. As Vivian Behrens, vice president of marketing for Estee Lauder, says: "Orange is going through a major reawakening."
Once pegged as a makeup color for casual, beachy, California types, orange became sophisticated and internationally important last fall when French and Italian designers showed their purple and khaki spring fashions on models wearing orange cosmetics.
Jean Paul Gaultier not only featured orange on his models' lips and eyelids but also scattered a few "I Love Lucy" redheads throughout his fashion show. Gianfranco Ferre used deep mango and persimmon shades on lips and nails to accent his elegant evening gowns and swimwear. And New York's pricey designers--Donna Karan, Louis Dell'Olio for Anne Klein and the upstart Isaac Mizrahi--all have used orange as a spring staple.
In the past, many women would not wear orange clothes because the yellow undertones in pumpkin-orange seemed to drain their complexions of color. But this season, fashion designers are using oranges that are rich with red or gold undertones. With the right makeup, the new oranges can make skin tones come alive.
Estee Lauder is offering bold oranges in its Heading West and Perfect Lipsticks collections. Behrens of Estee Lauder reports that consumers are eagerly opting for the bright new oranges. A new Lauder moisturizing lipstick called Perfect Orange has been a sell-out success in every store that carries it, she says.
"The sun-streaked look is hot right now, and the trend is going to continue through the summer," Behrens says, adding that touches of orange makeup are the perfect complement to the sunny look.
Clinique's newest shades include Sun Tang, a rich coral lipstick pencil with a built-in sun-protection factor.
Princess Marcella Borghese's Tangeri is a deep, true-orange lip color that is sold in the same collection with orange eye shadow from Borghese's Solare collection.
In its see-through tube, Sunshine gloss from Christian Dior looks just like Crayola orange, but on the lips it becomes a sheer, golden tint. Yves Saint Laurent's summer line features a lip and nail color called Golden Apricot.
Max Factor's Chameleon, a versatile coral, can be worn with pink and red outfits as well as with shades of orange. Maybelline is promoting mocha- and ginger-color lipstick that is worn with apricot blusher.
Whether intense or barely there, the overall effect of beauty's new oranges is decidedly tawny yet sophisticated. As Gale Hayman, the Beverly Hills cosmetics manufacturer, says: "This is the look that started in California and came back via Paris."
Model: Nancy Sheppard / Prima; makeup: Dominic Cervantes / Zenobia; stylist: Karen O'Neill