When I saw the advertisement for the NARS Summer 2010 collection, I stopped in my tracks at the beauty of Amber Valetta. Suddenly, I realized she was channeling Catherine Deneuve, one of the most beautiful women to ever grace the screen - and Chanel ads. Maybe I'm getting a little "boggy" after so many bone and joint injuries over the last few months, but I just sat and stared at Valetta.
Then I went in search of a photo to validate that my impressions weren't all that boggy at all. I didn't have to do that! All I needed to do was wait for the collection to go online at the NARS Web site. There I would find that Francois Nars looked for inspiration from the character Séverine Serizy, played by Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour. "Her character is incredibly beautiful and elegant. Her look is effortless - she has an incredible inner sophistication, " said Nars.
Another connection: the title of Belle de Jour is the French name for the daylily (literally: "daylight beauty"), a flower that blooms only during the day, and one that has my special love. I am a life member of the national association for daylilies, and I have grown and judged them for over 30 years. I've made countless lifelong friends through that association, people I treasure even now that I am no longer active. I see them in my flowers each day they bloom. But I digress. Séverine adopted the name Belle de Jour in the brothel where she worked as a prostitute during the day. I brought a lot of daylily history to the collection (sorry - no tantalizing brothel history) when I first saw it at Neiman Marcus! What I did see vividly, apart from the fond memories, was color - lots of bright, sheer color.
The collection is beautiful. Heavy on warm tones, but with something for everyone, it provides a summer splash of sheer color that can be worn as a wash, as shown on Valetta, or with a heavier hand if you want a bit of drama for summer.
I've pondered my purchases for a week, and I have finally selected my items. I'll be a bit in experimental mode, but I'm sure, after testing for a short time in the store, that I have to get my hands on Enchanted Cream Blush ($26), described by NARS as a soft-peach shade that delivers a hint of shimmer and smooth, silky color for a luminous complexion. It's so sheer that I know I won't look like an orange daylily. While I'm not a blue eye shadow fan, after seeing the photo of Valetta, I have to buy the Burn it Blue Duo Eyeshadow ($32), and iridescent ocean-blue paired with turquoise. I may use it for a pop of color, rather than the lid wash in the photo, but I'll even enjoy staring into the pretty pots of relaxing color - rather mesmerizing when you think about the efforts that have gone into creating blue daylilies.
If you are a natural for oranges and peaches, like my friend Carolyn, the Lamu Multiple ($38) should jump into your bag. It will give you a summer glow that you can use on eyes, cheeks, lips, and body. I will choose to wear the Mustique or Orgasm Multiple with the collection, a softer peach, one that I can pull off more easily that the glazed-apricot Lamu. Oh but the color of Lamu - it's enticing.
I don't see the Coup De Coeur Lip Gloss ($24), an apple brandy, pared with the ocean eyes and warm skin, but it may surprise me. No matter how I wear it - or with what - I will enjoy its gorgeous shiny color.
There you have it - my own selections from a noteworthy collection from NARS. Please let me know what you think if you get to see the collection at a store counter. NARS has been pulled out of many of my usual haunts (Saks, Bloomingdale's Tysons - don't think "my Nordstrom" ever had it), so I have to go to Neiman Marcus or Sephora (never the first out of the gate) to find it. That's why I usually order online. I'm glad I got to play with the colors this time before I purchased. I was able to give it a week and discover the ones that sang to me.
P.S. You will also want to check out the new Sheer Lip Pigment. I've got my eyes on a couple of these too!
Photos courtesy of NARS and sofeminine.co.uk