Looking good in a snap

Makeup: Trish McEvoy offers no-nonsense advice and a product line designed for convenience.

April 18, 1999|By Tamara Ikenberg | Tamara Ikenberg,Sun Staff

Like junior high school girls giving tandem makeovers at a slumber party, women encircle makeup mogul Trish McEvoy at Nordstrom in Towson Town Center.

In an ultra-neat lavender turtleneck and gray wool pant combo, she is about as far from caked-on Gaboresque excess as you can get. Her lips -- rosy-pink, full and carefully drawn -- stand out against the muted pinks and beiges that finish her face.

Her manner is silky and persuasive with shades of Mommie Dearest. She gives orders, or, rather, suggestions, with an elegant nag.

"I give everybody advice," says McEvoy, the petite empress of her own cosmetics line. She has just commanded a brush-wielding client to "Sweep! Be assertive!"

Serendipitously, she is in the perfect business to tell it like it is -- or at least how she thinks it should be.

Her tips and tricks are valued by glam clientele from Salma Hayek to Sharon Stone as well as professional women without agents, including those who flocked to her recent appearance here.

During her visit, McEvoy had only about 10 minutes to spend with each client.

But she made up for the drought of time with a tidal wave of focus.

"Forget the mirror. No mirror. You know your face," she tells Mindy Binderman, 32, who came with her 2-month-old son Joshua.

"Tell me about your life," McEvoy, 48, asks Binderman, a Pikesville resident, while examining the products Binderman already has in her purse.

She finds out primping time is scarce -- about five minutes a day -- for this new mother. McEvoy accommodates her with a simplified, five-minute cosmetic tuneup, and shows her how to duplicate the look at home.

Like Binderman, McEvoy is no stranger to the rigors of a wild schedule.

"I have very little time," says the makeup artist, entrepreneur and one-woman ad campaign.

Fittingly, her line is built around cosmetic convenience.

"Her products seem to come from her own personal experience," says Martha McCully, beauty director at Allure.

McEvoy's line defies time-consuming purse-diving. She offers one-piece complete palettes for lips, eyes and skin, in a series of "kits." Her most celebrated innovation is the Makeup Planner, a three-ring beauty binder holding sheets for flat items such as eye shadow and blush, and zip-up bags for lipstick, mascara, and other necessities. Her no-nonsense line also includes skin care products and fragrances.

"Time management really means less product, less separate parts," she says.

At this Nordstrom, her counter is sandwiched between competitors Bobbi Brown and MAC.

McEvoy's packaging is adorned simply with her name, and colors are identified by numbers, though she will be adding descriptive titles in the next few months.

It's not quite the stuff of trendoid rivals Hard Candy and Stila, which are displayed nearby.

"They're more quirky," she says. "We're more classic."

McEvoy's passion for cosmetics began when she was a young girl, enveloped in the fragrances of her grandmother's parfuemerie in Germany. Scents, colors and especially faces, became an obsession, and she jumped on every opportunity to experiment on friends, family, and whomever else she could get her hands on.

She moved to the United States in the mid-'60s and worked at an Estee Lauder counter in the South. The early '70s brought her to New York, where she was in such demand that she became a private makeup artist. At this time, she was already manufacturing her own brushes and products, distributing them to an exclusive clientele. She and her dermatologist husband, Ronald Sherman, whom she met in 1975, eventually formed a business collaboration.(They live on New York's Upper East Side.)

In 1993, she made her first retail deal with Henri Bendel. Today, her line is carried in more than 150 stores across the country, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, and can also be found in England at the upscale department store Harvey Nichols.

Buyouts from beauty conglomerates are constantly being offered. But McEvoy prefers to call her own corporate shots.

"It's such a challenge to have a small company, because most of the companies out there now are getting bigger and bigger," she says. "They're getting eaten by these big conglomerates. To be small, to me, is neat."

Autonomy also allows her more opportunities for one-on-one with her employees and clients.

Nearly 200 women came to her Nordstrom appearance, emerging from their sessions freshened, not transformed.

"I don't believe in makeovers. I hate that word," McEvoy says. "Who am I to dictate their style?"

Five things to do

Trish McEvoy's top makeup tips:

1. Use a moisturizer containing a sunscreen rated at least SPF 15.

2. Apply concealer on eyelids, under the eyes, under nose and to cover tiny facial veins.

3. Use powder or foundation only where needed. Do not smear over entire face if there's nothing to hide. Foundation is minimal this year.

4. Make sure your lip and cheek shades are in the same color family.

5. Use a professional puff to soften lines of demarcation and to create an even look.

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