This Fall: Austerity and Opulence

I have recently had the luxury of being a captive audience for this upcoming fall-season looks.

No, I wasn’t given front row seats at any runway shows. I am on a road trip and sitting on my lap are all the latest editions of my favorite fashion magazines. Since I hate driving on road trips and my husband hates stopping (only if we absolutely have to), I can leisurely peruse these inspirational tomes of fashion and let my imagination run free.

Magazine editorials are fun to look at because what they tend to show is a distillation of trends across brands. Generally a style editor and team will look at all the season’s offerings and gather pieces which express a certain direction they feel will be important for the upcoming season.

After about four hours of trying to make sense of it all, I distilled it into two opposing and yet intricately connected opposites: austerity and opulence. It seems to me that hair and makeup for fall is either undone (check out the Céline ad with hair undone and skin scrubbed clean); overdone (look at Estée Lauder’s Vivid Shine collection ad with no feature left untouched. This look should make Twilight fans happy), and occasionally some combination of the two (the Prada ads with anime eyes and nude faces).

So the question that remains is what’s a girl to do with this information? Well, consider me your interpreter of makeup extremes.

My recipe for fall is as follows:

  • Skin should be flawless and, if you dare, literally naked—well, at least once you get a great facial.
  • Eyes should be the focus, and if you’re feeling adventurous, try something smoky with a shade other than brown. (See next week for a step-by-step application primer.)
  • Cheeks should be subtle—just a sweep of color on the cheekbone.
  • Lips can go nude. If you’re feeling exceptionally daring, try a shade of crimson, from bright to deep bordeaux.

Experiment, try something new, think of makeup as your ultimate accessory. In the end, remember: You can always wash it off.