Plaid Is the New Black

I have a soft spot in my heart for MAC Cosmetics. In fact, I believe that the first lipstick I ever bought was a Mac matte lip color, in a taupey brown that was all the rage in the early nineties. At the time, the brand seemed like a tunnel straight to sophistication as Madonna wore MAC’s signature Russian Red. (Give me a break. I was fifteen.)

Today, the MAC image has evolved into a whimsical punk-meets-pretty affair–with drag queen models (Ru Paul) and their iconic counterparts, think Lady Gaga or Chloe Sevigny. Always funky, totally fun. Oh yeah, and in their spare time, they’ve also raised over $200 million dollars for AIDS reseach and charities.

So when I received an invite to the brand’s latest store opening at The Grove last week, I had to RSVP in the affirmative, especially considering that I had an appointment with one of the Senior Make-up Artists for North America, Christopher del Castillo, to preview the MAC Holiday 2010 Tartan collection and get my make-up did. Hey, I’ll take a little make-up lesson wherever I can get it. Beauty is just as fickle as fashion.

The Tartan Collection, inspired by bony lasses charging through the moor, marries fall’s gothic romance with spring’s tendency towards incorporating a brighter color palette, making it a perfect transition line. The packaging is particularly appealing with gift-friendly plaid painted tins, kits, make-up belts and brushes and of course, plaid pressed powders.

As for the Tartan collection’s color palette, fall’s signature lipsticks in dark berries and deep burgundies make an appearance in the line but for those of fainter hearts, perfect peach and pink shimmery lip glass glosses are also included. It’s nice to see color coming back to the lips after so many season of nude after nude lips.

Though I must say, I’ve always stuck by the enhance-one-feature-and-ignore-the-rest school of beauty and usually leaned upon a simple smoky eye as my go-to evening look, making me guilty of the chapstick-as-lipstick phenom. Del Castillo assuaged my fear that color belongs on only one part of the face. In fact, he stressed that Holiday beauty is all about a wash of pressed-in all-over color with simple satin finishes.

Del Castillo brushed A Wish Come True” eye shadow, a muddy mauve, onto my lids and followed up with the lightest dusting of “Cheers My Dear” and “Softwash Grey” pigments–loose glittering powders that add mega or minor color. It’s all, as Del Castillo explained, in the application.

He then lined my lower lids with “Bows and Curtseys”, a dark metallic hunter green. Lining the lower lids just beneath the lashes is a huge upcoming trend. It softens the hard appearance of smoky eye but retains the glamour.

Then, he completed my holiday look by pressing a beautiful burgundy named “Deepest Wish” into my pucker, turning it into a wine-stained pout. The trick explained del Castillo, is to use a lipbrush and lightly fan out the color, foregoing liner and definite edges. By applying the color with lighter hand, del Castillo managed to transform my one-trick pony make-up routine into a color palette with a variety of ranges. Score one for Roy G Biv.

Del Castillo also chatted with me about red carpet glamour–he’s sticking with thick brick reds–but stressed that the most important factor in creating a fabulous face is flawless skin. To that end, he recommended MAC’s Fast Response Eye Cream. I used the cream the next morning and it did in 60 seconds what could take a trained beauty team much time to accomplish. I looked bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with no signs of the dark circles which usually plague my morning hours. From now on, a coffee and my eye cream combo is my new way to start the day.

189 The Grove Drive, Space 0-20, Los Angeles, CA 90036 323.938.6294