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INSIDE OUT / NOTES FROM THE STYLE FRONT

Positively Mad for Makeup

July 02, 1993|DEBRA GENDEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

We thought we were heading to the hat department at Saks Fifth Avenue. But a tall redhead at the Orlane cosmetics counter who gave us directions knew better. "You want to be my star?" she asked, her large pretty face framed with soft curls, her large eyes rimmed with pencil.

With that time-honored come-on, we were delivered from having to look decent all on our own. We climbed into her chair.

"Hmmm, nice cheekbones," she murmured, smearing on the most beautiful foundation we'd ever seen. "That means you like adventure."

How well she knew us. We stared into the sequins of her sweater at about mid-sternum as she stroked mascara on our lower eyelashes. It was hypnotic.

"Never use black mascara. I'm going to put a color on you that makes us redheads look so young !" It was auburn-colored and she was right.

She finished brightening and reshaping our face. We stared in the mirror. It was us, only grown-up looking. I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille. "Give us one of everything," we demanded, blowing our entire personal allowance for the month in one moment of weakness.

The Paris-based cosmetics line doesn't advertise. With shoppers like us, why should it?

A Royal No-Show: According to the British tabloids, Princess Diana has been told not to bother showing up at Royal Ascot--the annual horse race where who wins is less important than whose spectacular hats get photographed. Well, that's probably fine with Diana, who turned 32 on Thursday. With all her charity work and single motherhood, she hardly has time for such nonsense. (Would Mother Teresa, Diana's idol, bother?)

Guess Who?Which head of state is getting grief over his recent private summit meeting with strapping German super model Claudia Schiffer?

Answer: Argentine President Carlos Saul Menem, who met with President Clinton this week to discuss U.S. economic relations with South America.

Menem has told reporters he was merely honoring Schiffer's request for an audience. (She was in Argentina for the opening of a lingerie store.) But a Menem critic said the tete-a-tete made Menem look like he was "enjoying himself too much."

"Such comments," the president said, "are mental dwarfism."

Family Values: Is it our imagination or are lots of people falling into the soothing lock step of a giant motherhood-apple-pie-nuclear-family feel-good fantasy? Take full-frontal-nudity pioneer Larry Flynt. He's the publisher of a new L.A.-based beauty and fashion magazine called Maternity.

In Flynt's reproductive utopia, fresh-faced young women--some so authentically ripe with child they border on bursting--frolic on the sand, get facials, learn how best to shave their legs and wear oversized dress-for-success suits. They also write to Maternity's resident sex therapist, Jill Model Barth. Sample question: "Why has my sexual desire heightened?" Hmmm. Motherhood may never be the same.

Scene Stealers: The villains and heroes who make "The Firm" so delicious to watch run away with the movie's fashion thunder as well. A trampy secretary with nerves of steel and a heart of gold (Holly Hunter) wears lavender Lee Press-On Nails. A self-destructive womanizer (Gene Hackman) wears flashy silk shirts. A foul-mouthed federal agent (Ed Harris) sports a chrome dome that, with just a few more inches, could be a Conehead.

So how does a shorter-than-average guy in nondescript suits and white shirts (Tom Cruise) compete? With lots of stung looks and even more long and loving close-ups. "Let it all out!" cried one man in the audience when Cruise finally gets to kick some butt.

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