Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Katie Holmes and Jason Wu launch beauty lines

Bobbi Brown and Katie Holmes have collaborated on

Bobbi Brown and Katie Holmes have collaborated on a new beauty line, launched this month. (Credit: Handout)

Travel deals

You can toss out all those old notions about beauty being in the eye of the beholder. It's in the eye of top fashion designers these days, particularly in the past few weeks, when heads of four fashion labels launched major beauty collections.

The brands? Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Jason Wu and Katie Holmes (remember, when she's not acting or divorcing Tom Cruise, she's co-helming the Holmes & Yang brand).

This isn't exactly new -- Chanel, Dior and Saint Laurent all have beauty lines -- but the new rush to beauty doesn't surprise Allure magazine executive editor Kristin Perrotta.

"The economy is still unsteady, and many women are not out buying new clothes, or even fragrances -- but they are buying makeup," she says.

No wonder. Makeup gives consumers access to designer vision -- and cache -- at an affordable price point.

Women love seeing a curated look from their favorite designer, says Perrotta. "It makes shopping for makeup so much easier, and it satisfies the urge to have something that feels luxurious and special."

We reviewed the offerings with Perrotta and asked her -- quick! -- what adjectives spring to mind to best describe each line?

Marc Jacobs

THE LINE A whopping 122 items developed with Sephora, including lipstick, eye shadow, foundation, nail lacquer and more, plus four luxe brushes; $18-$78 at Sephora, select Marc Jacobs stores, sephora.com and marcjacobsbeauty.com.

THE SCOOP Film titles and characters inspired some shade names, from "Saboteur" (a killer crimson lipstick and vintage Hitchcock thriller) to "Lux" (a tough-gal yellow nail enamel named for Kirsten Dunst's tragic role in "The Virgin Suicides," a film by Jacobs gal pal Sofia Coppola).

WHAT HE SAYS "It just became a natural way to name the colors," Jacobs told In Style magazine. "I hope these influences help people relate to the collection and make it more personal."

PERROTTA'S TAKE "Individualistic and fun"

Michael Kors

THE LINE Products for face, lips and nails created with Estée Lauder, emphasizing signature Kors looks (bronzer powders, pinkish-neutral nail shades), plus a fragrance; $18 to $95 at Macy's, Michael Kors shops, macys.com and michaelkors.com.

THE SCOOP Kors' mother (who wore natural makeup and had a relaxed, sporty style) and grandmother (who loved color, pattern, glamour) served as muses. He decided to divide the line into three categories: Sporty, Sexy, Glam.

WHAT HE SAYS "In a strange way, the Michael Kors woman really is all three of those things -- it's just that she feels more strongly about one of them at certain given times," he told Women's Wear Daily.

PERROTTA'S TAKE "Sexy, bronzed jet-setter"

Katie Holmes

THE LINE Created with Bobbi Brown, it includes a palette of eight eye shadows, two pot rouges and a mini eye pencil, plus a brush set; $65 to $68 at Bobbi Brown counters and bobbibrowncosmetics.com.

THE SCOOP The palette case (like a small brown and pink book) resembles one of Holmes' old, beloved journals (hmm, what might be written in there?), and the shades are heavy on neutrals for busy, on-the-go women who want to look fresh, not overly done up.

WHAT SHE SAYS "You can put it on in the back of a cab . . . in your bathroom . . . in the parking lot at your child's soccer game," Holmes told WWD. "It's all about the effortless chic."

PERROTTA'S TAKE "Natural, pretty, perfect basics"

Jason Wu

THE LINE A 15-piece line for Lancôme featuring eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara (in a surprise navy hue), nail polish and more; $18 to $51 at Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman and Nordstrom.com.

THE SCOOP It's a smaller line but with stunner shades from Wu's recent shows (like the dazzling indigo in the Violet Streak palette, used to create the popular violet cat eye on models from his fall runway).

WHAT HE SAYS "I'm a beauty junkie and I love makeup," Wu told Style.com. "It's always been such an important part of my shows, and I felt like this was a really natural progression for me."

PERROTTA'S TAKE "Elegant, feminine, bright"

advertisement | advertise on exploreli

Follow us on Twitter

advertisement | advertise on exploreli