For Spring 2012, YSL is Sexy Beauty and Valentino is Sweet

I'm going with the latter.
Michelle Villett
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I'm going with the latter.

Pretty or sexy: it's the eternal beauty question, isn't it? Kind of like Mary Ann or Ginger. Jackie or Marilyn. Betty or Veronica. Or the early 21st century version, Aniston or Jolie.

Anyway, I'm not gonna lie—for every single one of these examples, I am firmly on the side of sexy every.single.time. But that's mainly because the pretty character is always "nice," and nice is boring. This will be no surprise to you if you remember our discussion on Girl Hot versus Boy Hot. Even though it's kind of my job to embrace the Girl Hot (yellow nails, orange lipsticks, top knots), at the end of the day, Boy Hot (voluminous hair, fresh skin, classic nails) always transcends the trends.

But here's where things just got all confused. At Paris Fashion Week, Yves Saint Laurent presented a beauty look that was definitely sexy... but I don't think it's Boy Hot at all. Then, Valentino got all girly and romantic—and now I'm hopping on board the pretty train after all. Come take a look and then let me know which side YOU prefer.

Sexy beauty at Yves Saint Laurent


"Young, eccentric and rich"—that's how Pat McGrath described this look, and I have to admit it's a great catchphrase. But we need to really emphasize the whole eccentric thing, because you'd have to be that in order to pull this off for real life, I think. (Especially the bleached brows, which I had hoped we wouldn't see again after last season.)

It's also clear that the rule about having to emphasize either eyes OR lips is long gone. I think the eye makeup is particularly interesting—not in colour but shape:


Pat used YSL's brown and black liquid liners mixed together to create a graphic V at the outer corners (and also painted all over the lids up to the crease). On the lips, it's a metallic, foil finish (let's call it the evolution of the vinyl texture at Gucci for S/S '11). Apparently you can get the look with YSL's Rouge Volupté in No. 17 (Red Muse), Touche Brilliance No. 2 (Gold Shimmer) and some gold powder on the top.

The hair was all about low chignons decorated with large metallic ornaments:


I kinda dig them, although the whole thing was, I believe, a bit too hard-looking on most of the models. With the exception of Miss Arizona Muse...


She somehow pulls it off, don't you think? Maybe it's her hair colour and skin tone, because the blondes look way overdone to me.

Even still, I'll probably be sticking with...

Sweet beauty at Valentino


Valentino's was easily one of the prettiest shows of the season. And yes, it's partly because I see blush! Oh, I missed it so. And partly because of those rad dangly earrings.

But really, I think it's the hair that makes this look. If you recall the couture look from way back in January, you'll recognize this signature style—although I'm a bigger fan of it here, since the braiding is a lot looser and softer. (Read: more flattering for non-model types.)

Here it is from the back:


No, probably not something we can do at home, alas—unless you have Guido Palau at hand to blow it out with Redken All Soft Argan-6 Oil and then braid it around the entire head.

At least we can attempt the makeup, which is equally gorge, especially the SKIN. (This is all Pat McGrath again, BTW.) It's achieved with sheer foundation, iridescent highlighter on the cheekbones, inner corners of the eyes and cupid's bow, and then soft pink cream blush on the cheeks and lips. The shade is CoverGirl and Olay Simply Ageless Sculpting Blush in Lush Berry—hooray! You can pick it up at for $13.99 (free shipping in Canada with no minimum order).

To emphasize the eyes, Pat used grey-brown powder shadow and brown mascara.


So there you have it—not sexy, but maybe straddling the line between Girl Hot and Boy Hot and that's good enough for me.

Now, over to you:

Are you Team Sweet or Team Sexy? (Aniston or Jolie? Betty or Veronica? Jackie or Marilyn? Mary Ann or Ginger?)
Do you like the YSL look or is it too much sexy for you?
What do you think of the ethereal beauty at Valentino?