New York S/S ’12: Are you ready to say no to blush? Because that’s what Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein are telling us

Marc Jacobs - Spring 2012 beauty

Let’s just be clear before we delve into this alarming (at least to me) headline: there was no shortage of blush on the New York catwalks. But these three designers decided to pretty much skip it, which worries me. Is this a sign of things to come?

I sure hope not, because as you know blush is my addiction. (And concealer, but we already talked about that.) Yes, even Carmindy was on to me when she did my makeup, telling me that “you’re going to feel like this isn’t enough blush” and comparing me to one of her celebrity clients who feels compelled to frantically apply more blush—MOAR! MOAR!—in the limo enroute to the red carpet, thereby ruining Carmindy’s good work.

I don’t know if I’m that bad… yet… but perhaps I’ll be more restrained if this trend actually takes off. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Donna Karan’s models were the first to ditch the cheek colour in favour of a very NON-spring/summer lip:

Donna Karan Spring 2012 beauty 2 New York S/S 12: Are you ready to say no to blush? Because thats what Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein are telling us

Kinda harsh, yes? Instead of blush, makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury went for sculpted cheekbones using M.A.C Cream Colour Base in Sepia, a taupey contour cream. You could get a similar look with the step-by-step contouring kit that I reviewed a few weeks ago. Oh, and remember the faux freckles Charlotte did at Chloé last season? They’re here too, using the same M.A.C Lip Pencil in Hodgepodge. Always a cute touch.

At Calvin Klein, the girls were blush-free but a little more radiant and healthy-looking:

Calvin Klein Spring 2012 beauty New York S/S 12: Are you ready to say no to blush? Because thats what Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein are telling us

I could do this—if I had this girl’s bone structure and hair and general flawlessness. No word yet on the specific products used to create this look, but the makeup artist was Pat McGrath, so you just know we should pay attention. Aside from the perfect skin (you might want to brush up on your foundation skillz, ladies), I think what also makes it polished are the combed-up lashes and the very slightly darkened eyebrows. I’m also liking whatever is on the lips to give them that slight shine. Notice how it’s not goopy.

The definitive no-blush statement, however, came from the (always highly anticipated) Marc Jacobs show:

Marc Jacobs Spring 2012 beauty New York S/S 12: Are you ready to say no to blush? Because thats what Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein are telling us

The focus was all about the eyes—with Amy Winehouse and Patsy Kline as inspirations—so makeup artist François Nars made the executive decision of eliminating the blush so as not to distract from the heavy lashes (as well as the strong brows). MAN do these lashes look heavy! I kind of see his point that blush isn’t necessary here. It’s very French, very Cabaret, “like a black and white film,” says Nars. The only thing on the face is NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer, which won’t be out until next year, so for now try Sheer Glow Foundation.

Tell me:

Could you live without blush?
Which one of these looks do you like best?
Do you think a blush-free face needs another feature to balance it out, like the lips (as at Donna Karan) or the lashes (as at Marc Jacobs)?


Friday, September 16/2011 at 12:32 pm

I might be wrong, but I always feel that I look much younger sans blush.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, September 16/2011 at 1:05 pm

Oh really? I’ll have to test-drive that theory then! I feel the same way about going sans mascara.


Friday, September 16/2011 at 12:35 pm

Hmmm, it is so hard to tell with such bones!! Calvin had it right but then is she 15 or what?! I do not have this bone structure but then I don’t want an unfriendly look either. That would NOT be me, I like to laugh a lot – and laugh loudly! Haha! I think that’s what is so fun about blush, the youthful, buoyant, approachable feel of a rosy framed mouth!
Not too much, mind-your-brushes!
Lovely article Michelle :)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, October 10/2011 at 5:51 pm

Oh I know – perhaps if I had cheekbones that could cut glass I wouldn’t need to pile it on!


Elaine R
Friday, September 16/2011 at 1:26 pm

i feel your pain – i am always like “MOAR BLUSH” when it comes to my face too! otherwise I feel like I have the flu, or that my look isn’t finished.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, October 10/2011 at 5:51 pm

Haha, exactly! :-)


Friday, September 16/2011 at 1:46 pm

I liked the Marc Jacob one the best.. oddly enough I have been skipping blush since the last one week. For no particular reason, i just got bored of using it. And I actually look ok without it too. I do some dark brown eyeliner, neutral lip liner & am done. Yes, I do need to do the primer-foundation-concealor routine for good skin – but a no-blush look is making me look less made up (may be I was applying too much earlier) & younger as well.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, October 10/2011 at 5:54 pm

Ok, that’s what Anya said – and “looking younger” is probably the one thing that would convince me to let go of my blush addiction.


Friday, September 16/2011 at 1:47 pm

Personally, I don’t see the need for blush. I think that whenever someone is wearing blush, you KNOW that they are wearing blush… It just seems sort of unnatural, however I can dig the sort of natural, contour-y, rosy cheeks type blush. Apart from that, I say to hell with it, these girls looks better to me. Although that Calvin Klein model is the prettiest model I’ve seen in such a long time… I mean, does the Donna Karan model not look scary and malnourished to anyone else??

Huge fan, hyper-hair-colour-aware Thomas xx


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, October 10/2011 at 5:56 pm

Yes I definitely prefer the CK over the DK.


Friday, September 16/2011 at 2:34 pm

I could ditch neither blush nor mascara — they’re practically the only things I wear anyway! And while we aren’t on the subject, I won’t wear nude pantyhose either.


Saturday, September 17/2011 at 4:54 pm

Totally agree on all 3 points


Friday, September 16/2011 at 4:05 pm

Blush is better! For me, never ever would I consider going without. I use creams and powders and they make me happy and look better.


Friday, September 16/2011 at 4:39 pm

I read about the sans blush look and decided to go without it as an experiment. For a daytime look, I can definitely go without, but I feel a highlighter is needed on cheekbones to give it a slight oomph. I do feel, however, that blush is a necessity in the evening, or you will just look gaunt, knackered and washed out (classic if you have been stuck in an office for 8 hour plus).


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, October 10/2011 at 5:57 pm

I know what you mean – maybe because in the evening the eye area can look a bit tired (either from dark shadows revealing themselves or migrating eye makeup)? I think blush can help distract from that a bit so I agree.


Friday, September 16/2011 at 5:38 pm

i am addicted to blush. it is one of my only daily staples. my daily look: concealer, a bit of translucent power, blush, and chapstick. i think for some faces the no-blush look would work- on these models, it works, since they’re young and models and whatnot. (the calvin klein girl does look super fresh.)

but on us 30+’ers, we need some help looking fresh and healthy on the outside, even if we feel fresh and healthy on the inside! mascara ages me too, but a pretty, sheer pink blush does wonders for my face. but i have colouring similar to the brunette model, and i could see that look working on me. anytime i do a lot of make up on my eyes in the evening, i use only a teeny bit of sheer blush on my cheeks, since any more looks too overdone for my liking. so yes, i would try the no-blush look- but only if another one of my features was really played up and i was having a really good skin and hair day.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, October 10/2011 at 5:59 pm

That theory makes sense – good skin is a must and yeah, because I’m so pale and washed out I’d definitely need to play up one of my other features to do this.


Saturday, September 17/2011 at 5:03 pm

If I only do one thing before leaving the house, it’s applying some cheek stain. I think it just makes me look a bit more alive.

I can see how this would work for spring/summer but with cooler temps on the way I would just rather be bundled up and rosy cheeked.


Monday, September 19/2011 at 6:05 am

Same here, blush is my must, otherwise I look too pale and unhealthy. I am not skipping it by no means :)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, October 10/2011 at 6:00 pm

I get the rosy cheeks in the cold weather regardless – even if I don’t apply them artificially, the wind and cold aggravate my sensitive skin. Oh well…


Sunday, September 18/2011 at 2:54 am

Awww, and I just got SUPER into blush too, thanks to Chanel and their stupidly pretty pinks.. Dang! :P I like the Nars version though, I might try that.


Sunday, September 18/2011 at 1:17 pm

I go without blush all the time, but I pretty much always contour my cheekbones with highlighter and a dark contour powder


Monday, September 19/2011 at 11:26 pm

I am a blush fiend, but I LOVE the MJ look – those lashes are gorgeous! Agree that the look works without blush because of the lashes.

The mistake I find most people make with blush is they overdo it – the key is to build, start with a little, then add as needed.

Thanks for a great post, btw!


Wednesday, September 21/2011 at 11:45 am

I can’t live w/out blush! I just can’t! With out it i look dull and sickly. Yes it might me look younger because its the first obvious sign of make up that one would notice – but I would rather look a little more older and healthy any day!


Stephen Dimmick
Tuesday, December 6/2011 at 8:21 am

A lot of the time we feel that we look better or worse because we aren’t used to the alternative i.e not wearing blush when we’ve been wearing it for a long time. It takes time to adjust to anything new. Don’t give up ladies when you’re trying a new method to your makeup.


Thursday, December 15/2011 at 12:28 pm

I think it depends on two things. The first would be, what look you’re going for. If you want edgy, no blush could be the way. And the second, can you pull it off? I personaly can’t.
I have yellow undertones and without rosey blush, especially in the winter when I am pale, I look sick. I think it works for the Calvin Klein model, because her skin already has a pink undertone.I think the Marc Jacobs model has a trace of pale pink blush on the apple of her cheeks, but it might just be my laptop.
And the Donna Karan look is all about making a statement, not beautification.
I think most of us just wanna look pretty. Besides, I am an almost crazy blush collector, there’s no way I am giving up my hobby :D


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