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That Old Saw Is True: You Can Judge a Witch by Her Lip Color

May 23, 1996|MIMI AVINS | TIMES FASHION EDITOR

A wicked little high school revenge movie now in theaters, "The Craft," features the most blatant example of character definition by cosmetics since "Working Girl." In the story of four misfit teens whose supernatural gifts surpass their emotional maturity, the makeup and special effects are easily as compelling as the story (girls get mad, girls get even) or the moral (what goes around, comes around).

Fairuza Balk, once an angelic young Dorothy in Disney's "Return to Oz" plays Nancy, the most malevolent character, a fact that's telegraphed by her extreme makeup, her nose ring, her studded dog collar and other punk jewelry.

Nancy's face is pasty white, her eyes thickly rimmed in kohl. She outlines her full mouth in lip pencil the color of natural fertilizer and fills it in with gobs of black, burgundy or loamy brown lipstick.

The other coven members aren't nearly as bad to the bone. The pretty witch paints her lips a glamorous red and the good witch wears a natural look, soft coral-brown lipstick and warm apricot blush on her freckled skin.

Done under the direction of makeup artist Jeffrey Hamilton, the faces also reflect social class. Of course Nancy looks as cheap as Joan Jett on a bad day. She is white trash, complete with lecherous stepfather, alcoholic mother and a slovenly trailer to call home. The good witch lives in a million-dollar Spanish house in the Hollywood Hills. Vampy lip color would be a more shocking sign of rebellion in her neighborhood than levitating.

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Stores We Love: French Connection is a great place to scratch a shopping itch, the sort of trendy chain store that has exactly what you want the moment that you want it. The problem was that until a month ago, the chain snaked around London and across New York, but didn't extend west. The first French Connection on this coast opened last month on the Santa Monica Promenade and features the complete women's and men's lines.

Anyone dressed in French Connection head to toe (they do have hats, but no shoes) would probably be thirtysomething or less, but the shop is a reliable source of basic pieces, such as black leather jeans for $275. Instead of a standard sweater set, it has a sheer rayon polo with matching cardigan, and a tank to lend modesty to either piece. The store's hot item right now is skinny pants, some hip-hugging, in silk, cotton, and Lycra and rayon blends, priced from $58 to $135. Groups of silk madras separates include more narrow pants, sleeveless shells and shifts.

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Beauty Tip: "It's a poor farmer who blames his crop on his tools," a humorless ski instructor once replied when I suggested to him that I'd be World Cup material with better equipment. I disagreed then and still do. Therefore, I think Gillette's new SensorExcel razor just for women is the greatest thing since heated ski boots. It has a rubber grip, spring-mounted twin blades and microfins that lift hairs into position for annihilation!

Gillette offers four fragrant new Moisture Rich Shave Gels in their Satin Care for women line. The beauty of the foamy teal gels is that once you've shaved off a stripe, you can see where you've been, something the old bar-soap-in-the-shower routine and its anemic lather can't claim. They're available in drug stores.

* Sense of Style appears Thursdays in Life & Style.

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