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Cuckoo for Coco
Chuck Loose

Cuckoo for Coco

Women have just one luminary fashion figure to thank for bringing them out of the era of corsets and into the millennium of little black dresses: Coco Chanel. Chanel was the straight-talking, controversial designer who gave the world bold red lipstick, brought costume jewelry into vogue, and stuck shoulder straps onto handbags. Her decision to (a) invent a signature scent, (b) name that scent after herself, and (c) specify that it should not smell like any sort of flower was revolutionary for its time. She is often quoted for having told perfumers, "I don't want any rose or lily of the valley. I want a perfume that is a composition... like a dress, something that has been made." To this day, Chanel No. 5 is the world's best-selling fragrance. Judging from another one of her quotes, Chanel would not be bothered by the fact that the company bearing her name has expanded into the realm of skin care and makeup. "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only," she once said. "Fashion is in the sky, in the street. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening."

What's happening is a combination makeup workshop and tea ceremony. Traditional afternoon tea -- with warm scones and Devonshire cream -- is served in the intimate Leopard Lounge (at the Chesterfield Hotel, 363 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach). Linda Johnson, a woman who puts the artist in the term makeup artist, will step out from her usual perch behind the Chanel counter at Saks Fifth Avenue to show women "how to modify their looks without looking dead or like a 16-year-old."

According to Johnson, every woman's profile is different based on her skin type and the set of her eyes. If a woman isn't properly hydrated, her makeup can dry out during the day. If she's wearing a satin blouse, she should use a matte lip color. "Seriously," she says, "that's why we can sit here and talk about it for two hours." During this event, expect Johnson to answer the question she is asked most frequently by her clients: "How can I look more dewy?" What would Coco say?


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