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Monday Muse: Marilyn Monroe Inspires MAC

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe famously sang that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but according to Gregory Arlt, MAC’s Director of Makeup Artistry,  a girl’s other, more affordable best friend is the perfect red lipstick. During a launch event at South Coast Plaza for MAC’s new fall collection, he explained how Monroe’s iconic beauty inspired the new line, which brings the  star’s instantly recognizable signatures from her heyday into the modern day.

At the Marilyn Monroe Collection event, visitors had a chance to see archival Marilyn photos and receive a preview of the collection, which launches nationwide October 4. (The South Coast Plaza store has it in stores now.) We chatted with Arlt, who helped create the products and colors as well as the looks to go along with the collection.

Marilyn Monroe

“With Marilyn, there’s so many unearthed shots coming to light,” said Arlt. “She’s more of a chameleon than we think. There’s so many different elements to her look that it’s not hard to make things fresh.”

So while most people know Marilyn for her signature red lip and kitten-flick eyeliner, Arlt explained to the group of editors and bloggers at a special press event that the collection that bears her name and image explores three separate phases of Marilyn’s life. During her more toned down Norma Jean beginnings, Arlt drew inspiration from Monroe’s clean skin and light washes of color on her lips and cheeks. The blushes he created for the collection — including the universal shade the Perfect Cheek — create a flush that’s natural and not too over-the-top.

“Red lipstick is the little black dress of your makeup bag,” said Arlt. So for the collection, he created five colors that range from a nude pink to a vibrant fuchsia red. Why so many? Artl offered that Marilyn’s makeup artist, Whitey, would often use up to six shades to shape Marilyn’s signature pout.

Darker shades were used along the perimeter (which was overdrawn for extra sex appeal) and lighter shades near the center for added dimension. The strong, bold lip is a Marilyn trademark that Arlt believes anyone can master.

MAC Marilyn Monroe Collection

Artlt suggested using MAC’s lip liners in Redd and Cherry to create a shape around your lips. Tip: A lip brush can give you the precision you need if you don’t have a steady hand. “Don’t try to do your red lipstick after a double cappuccino,” Arlt joked. Topped off with the shimmering glosses in the collection, Marilyn’s multidimensional look is just a few products away.

Later in her career, Marilyn’s look took on a more smoky look, but to modernize Marilyn’s eyes, Arlt used a technique he dubbe the “see-through smoky,” a softer, more gently approach to the boudoir staple. Think of it as less Kardashian and more carefree. The soft shadows in the collection are sheer and filled with a fine shimmer, giving a nod to Marilyn’s signature bedroom eyes.

Models at the MAC and Marilyn Monroe event at South Coast Plaza

Part of Marilyn’s appeal was her ability to embody a larger-than-life persona. Blonder, sexier, curvier, she was excess personified, which gives everyone from fashion designers to makeup artist something to take from. MAC’s collection has already been used by a modern Marilyn, burlesque superstar Dita Von Teese, who happens to be one of Arlt’s clients. “Dita knows makeup,” said Arlt. “She does it better than anyone can do it for her because she knows what she’s doing.”

Now you do, too.

The Marilyn Monroe MAC Collection is available at

Photos courtesy MAC and

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Mad For Marble: Shop the Coolest Picks

Rock on. That’s our M.O. this season with so many great marble prints to choose from. There are cool, minimal black and white options for girls who want to pay homage to Alexander Wang’s tenure at Balenciaga and more out-there bold buys for those of us who know that this natural masterpiece is available in every color of the rainbow. In big doses or small, for your home or your closet, this is one trend that we see weathering the seasons to come.

Clockwise from top left: Prabal Gurung Ombr©-Effect Marble-Print Shirtdress ($665.45), The Original Marble MacBook Decal €” Carrara Marble ($25), Pour La Victoire Bijou Colorblock Chain Shoulder Bag

($157.50), Charlotte Olympia Dolly Platform ($825), Clover Canyon Etched Marble Coverup ($240), McQ Alexander McQueen Marble Print Patent Slingback Sandals ($750), Rebecca Minkoff Mix Matched Oval Earrings ($58), Kelly Wearstler Little Head Trip Sculpture ($695), Fendi Galassia Marble Block Sunglasses ($470), Balenciaga Marble-Print Le Dix Minaudi¨re ($1,255), Christian Louboutin Riviera Patent Leather Clutch ($1,250), Baublebar Ra Bib ($62)

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Monday Muse: Kimora Lee Simmons Returns with KLS Kimora Lee Simmons

KLS Kimora Lee Simmons Pre-fall 2015

Back before the days where every celebrity had a fashion line, a perfume and a reality show, Kimora Lee Simmons was one of the original multi-hyphenates. She came onto the fashion scene when she was just 14 and she hasn’t stopped since, while she’s most known for helming Baby Phat, but she’s also the president and creative director for Just Fab, she’s a veteran of reality television with two series under her belt (and who can forget her appearance on America’s Next Top Model way back during its first season?) and multiple perfumes and fashion lines. But Simmons is back in a whole new way with KLS Kimora Lee Simmons. The designer and mother is returning to fashion with a designer line inspired by what her wardrobe was missing — and when you’re talking about a woman with Birkins and Loubs to spare, that says a lot.

KLS Kimora Lee Simmons Pre-fall 2015

If you remember the show MTV Cribs, Kimora showed her enviable wardrobe back in 2002, but believe it or not, that walk in closet and library of shoes still had holes in it, which was the starting point for KLS Kimora Lee Simmons.

This new collection is reflective of where she is now: 39 years old. Pregnant with her fourth child. The creative force behind Just Fab, which was just given a $1 billion dollar valuation. It’s not the bling and velour of Baby Phat, that’s for sure. Taking a book from Victoria Beckham, Simmons has embraced minimalism, showing a collection that featured below-the-knee hemlines, sharp tailoring and pieces you could see her wearing as well as women that don’t live life in the Fab Lane.

But being that she is Kimora, basics were anything but. Multi-paneled body con shapes were abundant, but done in black and white they were far from tawdry. Leather pieces were sedate, as well as Simmon’s take on Le Smoking, a tuxedo worn sans shell and with a graphic stripe down the pant. The price points are also a new realm for Simmons. Instead of the mass and contemporary price points she’s played in before these pieces bear the mark of real designer pieces: dresses range from $1,500 to $2,400. Tops are about $500 and coats inch near the $2,500 range. The collection is a lean and mean introduction to the new line, which will be available at the Beverly Hills KLS Kimora Lee Simmons flagship, set to open in 2015. This is Simmons’ idea of starting small — a whole collection and a flagship in the span of a few months — and if the new line goes the way of her past ventures, we’ll expect world domination in short order.