And The nominees for best-dressed stars are ...

STYLE FILE

February 13, 2000|By Maria Blackburn | Maria Blackburn,SUN STAFF

Seasoned TV viewers know better than to watch award shows for the awards. Boring speeches, big bad production numbers and flubbed lines? Come on. The real reason to watch the Grammy Awards (Feb. 23) and the Academy Awards (March 26) is to see what the stars wear.

New York-based celebrity makeup artist Maria Verel -- whose client list includes Grammy nominees Emmylou Harris and Diana Krall, not to mention Diane Sawyer, Emme and Lucy Lawless -- says you don't have to be a star to dress and wear your hair and makeup like one. Her thoughts on the topic:

Q: What can we expect to see women wearing at awards shows this spring?

A: The only word that comes to mind is "feminine." You'll see diaphanous fabrics, pinks and floral prints, anything that's light and airy, and strappy, tiny shoes. Skin is beautiful and showing through makeup. Instead of [wearing] a lot of color on their faces, women are wearing sheer veneers of color.

Q: How can we steal this look?

A: You don't have to wear the tiniest, skinniest Manlolo Blahnik shoes to be feminine. You can wear a pretty color pink floral skirt, a chemise with a jacket and a sandal with a few more straps. For makeup, don't wear anything too dramatic. Once you have it blended, go back and blend it again.

Q: What hairstyles go with this feminine look?

A: For the awards shows, a lot of people will be wearing their hair up. If they wear their hair down, it will be in chunky pieces instead of smooth and shiny. It takes a lot of tweaking and cajoling to make hair look like it hasn't been done.

Q: What's in your makeup emergency kit in your handbag?

A: Q-Tips for touchups, L'Oreal Tawny lipstick, Wet N' Wild lip liner #666, Cornsilk pressed powder and a black eyeliner pencil to make a quick smudgy line if I'm going out at night.

A leg up to a new era

They run. They're uncomfortable. And they rarely stay in place.

Nevertheless, nylon stockings are a thing to be appreciated, celebrated even, according to Susannah Handley's "Nylon: The Story of a Fashion Revolution" (Johns Hopkins University Press, 192 pages, $29.95).

Without nylon, women would still be wearing expensive silk stockings. Without nylon, the world's first synthetic fabric, there might not be any polyester leisure suits, Tencel trousers or microfiber jackets. "Synthetics," Handley writes, "have generated more excitement and more disillusionment than any other material previously known. Their story is infinitely complex and riddled with metaphor and paradox ... At the heart of the rise, fall and rise of synthetics in fashion lies their own amorphous character."

Under the froth, some solid advice

If you can get past such dumb stories as "Do you pull men in or push them away?" and "Four secrets your crush is keeping," the February issues of Seventeen, Mademoiselle and Cosmo Girl are filled with enough beauty and fashion tips to more than make up for their puppy love-filled pages.

From Seventeen, a rundown of spring's hottest trends. The good: Worn-in denim, baguette bags and anything tie-dye. The bad: Studded bags and shirts a la Beadazzler. The ugly: Pocketbooks trimmed with hunks of straggly Cousin It hair.

From Mademoiselle: High-voltage makeup is in for spring -- strong, orange-red lips and pale, pearly nails a la the Helmut Lang and BCBG spring shows.

From Cosmo Girl: Try this tip: "Freshen your foundation or concealer [while on a dinner date] by warming your hands under a hand dryer then pressing them to your face."

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