Monday Morning Notes: Vanity Bash

Somehow I got (willingly) roped into co-planning a party for Louise and friends that will have me playing an educator’s role in outlining the basic fashion and beauty trends for Fall 2009 for a group of busy Seattle mothers and working women.

It’s easy enough to sit in front of a computer and type away about trends, luxury reports, fragrances and product design, especially when so much of that information is found just a click or so away on the net. It’s another matter altogether to organize this information and make it meaningful and relevant for a group of real world denizens who simply don’t have the time or the inclination to surf blogs, news sites and portals eight hours a day, yet still want to know what the newest color palettes are, what cultural influences are dictating jewelry and accessories trends, what wardrobe items they can bring back down from the attic (they’re in style again!) and which ones they can leave packed away in the back of the closet (they’ll never ever be in style again!).

The party isn’t until November 14th, but I’m stocking up on products and information right now. One resource I find infinitely helpful is the Pantone color trends report.

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The Pantone Fashion Color Reports (i.e. Pantone Fashion Color Report Fall 2009) are a wealth of spot-on color analyses compiled for people whose job and/or peace of mind doesn’t involve cooing over the latest runway shows. The Spring 2010 report is already up and running while the Paris shows finished not even a week ago — which means that stylists, far flung retail buyers and even knitting fiends like Marin can use the Pantone reports as a necessary (and welcome) guide as they hack themselves a trail through the tangled thicket often known as: “What the h*** is in style this season?”

The big realization that has hit the fashion industry over the past year is that the average consumer no longer has wads of spending money burning holes in his/her wallet (with even wealthy consumers cutting back due to domestic economic insecurity and global financial instability), so any products offered have to be exciting, different and dramatic if anyone is to be enticed to spend.

After fighting my way through the fanatics (religious and political) that had descended upon downtown Seattle as if Saturday was yell in the town square day:

Seattle: 10/10/09
Hell-fire Christians on one corner, Israel haters on the other

I made it to the Nordstrom doors and took a cruise through their cosmetics department to see what I could find that might fit this new “We Gotta Wow ‘Em!” mandate, because if I’m going to encourage a group of Seattle women to branch out from the usual black, grey and navy blue routine, then it’s going to have to be something special indeed.

I wasn’t deeply impressed by most of what I saw, but the Chanel counter stopped me in my tracks with their new Noir Obscur collection — it hasn’t been released nationally yet, but the Seattle Nordstrom apparently has clout because of its flagship status, and they had the full collection in stock and out on display:

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Chanel Noir Obscur collection

After several years of department store cosmetics aisles awash in beige, rose and pink, the dark, theatrical colors of this palette hit the thrill-spot like a speeding locomotive. It’s been fascinating to read accounts of the luxury industry’s intensified focus on the Middle East and China as its main money-making dream team, and to see colors like this pop forth from the likes of Chanel only reinforces the message — exotic and fantastical, with definite kohl (Middle East), jade (Asia), dragon’s blood (Asia, Middle East) and indigo (India) influences.

I knew immediately that this was the collection that was perfect for injecting some oomph into a Seattle woman’s day — the weather here in the Fall and Winter can be gray and dreary, and this collection works within that moody atmosphere to uplift it rather than fighting too obviously against it.

So I stocked up:

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Swoon inducing party favors

There are a few Armani items in there, too, just to mix things up a bit (a bronze shadow and a deep blue shadow, a semi-transparent purple-rose lipstick), and the Chanel sales assistant was so delighted with the idea of me purchasing a bunch of makeup for a Busy Moms Color-Trends Party (we’re calling it The Vanity Bash) that she loaded me up with a near full bag of extra cosmetics and foundation cream samples to hand out at the end of the evening. Score!

It’s unlikely that all the women will walk out of the party with a determination to incorporate such dramatic colors into their daily dash, but by introducing them to a palette that 1.) embraces international color trends and 2.) pushes the envelope for the average working mom, I’m hoping to encourage a little risk taking in future purchases. They may not be so bold as to grab after the latest red-black lipstick or jade green eye shadow next time they’re shopping, but maybe that new burnt sienna or warm copper won’t seem so out of reach in comparison . . . ?

Video clip below featuring some of the new Chanel Noir Obscur colors:

And did I mention there was going to be wine at the party? Wine, lipstick, fragrance (I ordered an Ormonde Jayne sample pack for their smell-testing delight), eye shadow, nail polish, color reports — I think all that’s left for me to do is hide the lamp shades.

***Note: I really wanted to pick up some Edward Bess and Kevyn Aucoin cosmetics for the women to try, since they’re both excellent quality lines and aren’t on the mainstream radar (I brought some items from both brands back from NYC for Louise, and she’s still raving), but neither brand is readily available here in Seattle, and it seemed like it would be almost cruel to introduce a brand and then say, “Oh, and by the way — you can’t find it anywhere in town!”

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