Shopper: Makeup: All Dolled Up

Thursday, March 5, 2009

If there was ever a time to revisit your carefree childhood, now would be it.

At least that's what beauty gurus seem to want you to think. Cosmetics brands are turning up the kitsch with nostalgia-driven collections. Their makeup muses? Smurfette, Hello Kitty and Barbie.

"Every brand is looking for things that customers are going to find irresistible," says senior beauty industry analyst Karen Grant of NPD Group, a market research company. And a sure bet, she says, is through limited-edition collectible beauty lines.

A rundown of the current Beauty World Time Warp:

Too Faced has teamed up with '80s icon Smurfette. Jerrod Blandino, founder of the cheeky beauty brand, says the cartoon character was the "It Girl" of his generation. "She wore a mini-dress, stilettos and loads of mascara in the middle of the forest. . . . How much more glamorous can you get?" The playful Too Faced collection includes "mood activated" lip gloss, Smurfette-embossed highlighter and eye-shadow palettes, and eyeliners in blue and white glitter (of course).

Japanese cutie Hello Kitty joins MAC Cosmetics' roster of pop culture collaborations, which in recent years has included flamboyant design house Heatherette and French graffiti artist Fafi. The 42-piece Hello Kitty makeup and accessory collection swings between the expected (berry lipstick and fuchsia loose glitter) and the surprising (edgy orange eyeliner and glossy cement-hued nail polish) -- typical fare from a brand famous for both its exceedingly wearable shades and its outrageously wild ones.

And the feminine and flirty brand Stila pairs up with the ultimate bombshell, Barbie, who celebrates her 50th birthday on Monday. The collection encapsulates various Barbie looks by decade, from the original 1950s vixen, complete with matte red lipstick and liquid black eyeliner, to the 1980 Foxy Doll, whose look involves lively tangerine lip gloss and earthy eye shadow. Dream house and perfectly chiseled boyfriend not included. Unfortunately.

-- Michelle Thomas

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