Doing Well, Looking Fine

Our style panel helps S.F. politicians look as good as the city itself

Because San Francisco is one of the world's most physically attractive cities -- and, as design competitions for the new UCSF campus and Union Square show, constantly on the lookout to better itself -- SF Weekly recently reconvened its standing panel of style experts to offer advice on the physical appearance of our city's politicians. This is not to say our politicians are less aesthetically appealing than those in other cities. It is just that in San Francisco, public officials have a duty to look as good as their surroundings.

Our panel is composed of three internationally renowned and impeccably credentialed leaders of look.

Laura Mercier is known in New York, Paris, and Milan as makeup artist to the stars. Her work has graced the covers of Vogue, George, and countless other publications. No stranger to heavy lifting, Laura spent a week creating the makeup for Demi Moore's Harper's Bazaar and In Style photo shoots, and did Madonna's makeup for the MTV Music Awards.

Greg Tusler is a New York hairstylist who spends his days preparing top fashion models for runway and photo shoots. Lately he's been the star of the Good Housekeeping Institute's Mall Tour, spritzing the hair of beauties as he shills for hair care products. In general, Greg opines, San Francisco politicians would benefit by adding looser, more versatile haircuts and styles to their fashion repertoires.

Rebekah Ann Keller is, well, she's the Rebekah Ann Keller: Miss California 1997. A stunning brunette, she took fourth runner-up at the recent Miss America competition, and is well-versed in the sorts of pageant beauty secrets that might make our local politicians shine.

As is often the case with artists, SF Weekly's panel of experts occasionally became difficult, even slightly unruly, during our consultations with them.

Laura Mercier's publicist jumped up five minutes into a nice chat about Barbara Kaufman's "tons of mascara" and called Mercier away for an "emergency" phone call. Upon returning, the publicist demanded to know where the article would be placed, what its theme would be, and how Mercier's quotes would be positioned. She calmed down only after SF Weekly explained the public service nature of its journalistic mission, and its readers' keen interest in fashion and beauty.

Greg Tusler could also be trying. Every time our photographer raised his lens, it seemed, Tusler grabbed a can of the particular brand of hairspray he's been hawking (of course, we would never mention its name) and pretended to be styling Rebekah's hair. After a while, poor Rebekah's sporty do seemed to sag under the weight of such attention.

Still, the panel was able to provide constructive commentary on many style challenges facing our most prominent elected representatives. Consider, for instance, Greg's analysis of S.F. Supervisor Barbara Kaufman:

"From processing the hair with color, perming, that physical manipulation, curling irons -- any type of chemical or physical manipulation that's done on a regular basis -- strips the hair of its natural components."

And that's scarcely the first step on our road to civic improvement.

Barbara Kaufman

Greg: She's been coloring her hair for a long time, and the texture of the hair has kind of lost its natural shine, so I would, with that in mind, first of all, bring her hair color back to a more natural range, give it some more tone, use deep conditioning to reinvent the texture of the hair with a protein-vitamin-enriched formula that will feed the hair.

You're going to look at the hair and see that the hair shaft is swollen, it lacks shine, it again lacks any type of natural movement that is not created by manipulating the hair and then spraying it into what is called helmet hair. ... I'd take her back off, give her a softer nape line, and create more movement within the top, so that taking the top shorter, making the sides shorter, breaking up the bang area, and again, making it so that the hair will move again -- bring life back into it.

Laura: Obviously she has a lot of eyeliner. Maybe I would do a little less dark. And see where it's deep here? Maybe with smoke and a little less intensity. Smoke means take a color and blend it very well so it's soft just like a cloud, rather than a line. She wears tons of mascara, so I would lose the coverage a little bit in the mascara, and maybe smoke the liner at the base of the lashes to give her intensity.

Rebekah: I think this is a television camera look. You can tell she has applied some color to the cheeks, she has some eyeliner on, which make her eyes stand out, and that gives her a television presence, because it draws out her eye color. It makes her look alive, because when you're under television lights, you're washed out.

Laura: I would definitely wear the blush a teeny bit more blended under the eyes. She seems to put her blush quite low, so I would raise it a little bit in a blending manner. Also, I would maybe brown her lipstick a little bit. I would not go so red, I would go maybe with a brick red or a brown red. It is too bluish red. I would mute it down so we can see her face more rather than just, you know, be attracted by the color.

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