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NOW WITH SPRING HERE AGAIN, THE HUE HAS AN ORANGE LOOK

This spring don't think pink - opt for orange.

Last spring, beauty editors, cued by cosmetics companies, pushed pink for makeup, Stacey Okun wrote in an article for Town & Country, a Hearst magazine, but by autumn pink was passe. Burgundy was the color of the moment, and if your lips weren't coated in a wine-colored lipstick, you simply were not with it.Now that spring is coming around again, the new hue is orange.

"We've been hearing that orange is coming back into style for nearly three years, but it was considered such an ugly color, nobody dared use it," said Dominique Szabo, senior vice-president of product development for Estee Lauder.

"Orange conveys a bad feeling because we have a bad memory of it. In the '50s, when it was used in home design, it was very bright and obnoxious."

Szabo has since changed her mind - and her makeup. Lauder is just one of the cosmetics companies this spring for which "The Future Is Orange." Lauder's entire collection this season is a palette of warm and wearable oranges that take their inspiration from the fruit, but look nothing like it.

Yves Saint Laurent also offers a number of lipsticks, nail polishes and blushes in tones of orange, as does Guerlain, Nars and Shiseido.

Today, orange is toned down with touches of pink or brown. It does not go by its true name but instead is known by warmer, friendlier aliases such as terra cotta, coral, apricot and dawn. Its reappearance on the scene was again heralded by the home-design industry. In recent years, whimsical accessories such as vases and plates have included a touch of orange.

The fashion industry usually follows suit and, indeed, at the New York spring collections, designers exhibited a new playfulness with textures, prints and colors - such as lime green and, of course, orange.

Ralph Lauren showed orange leather jeans. Donna Karan's DKNY line consisted of tangerine T-shirts and matching skirts. Pocketbook mavens Barry Kieselstein-Cord, Ferragamo and Kate Space even designed orange handbags.

Lauder's Szabo had an even more compelling reason to put orange makeup on her shelves. Her customers in Puerto Rico, Miami and South America had long requested it.

"They love really bright, pure orange, and every time I traveled there I was deluged with requests," Szabo said.

For them, and for the color-adventurous, Lauder offers oranges called "Future Shock" and "Cosmic Coral" - the kind of colors that only look good if you have a deep tan and high courage - or if you are a Latin beauty like Gloria Estefan.

For the more conservative, there are oranges called "New Neutral" and "Sunrise."

If you are going to wear orange this season, Terry, creative director of YSL Beaute, suggested you play it off with soft colors - "perhaps a deeper orange on the lips and a softer orange blush on the cheeks and eyelids," she said.

Szabo added, "With orange, you have to be in harmony. Avoid mixing it with any pink or purple on the face."

The future really is orange, according to Szabo. "We've discovered that people are moving away from the blue shades (the reds and the pinks) to yellow shades (the browns and the oranges). I think the trend will continue into fall. Orange is the color of vitamins and optimism."