Ellen Payne, 49
Full disclosure: We found Ellen in our own cafeteria. She is Hearst Magazines' director of editorial operations. She is focused, firm, whip-smart…and decidedly reserved in her style. "There have been periods in my life when I was more in touch with my attractive, sensual side," she mused. "But I've morphed into the suburban soccer mom. Between a full-time job and three teenagers, I don't think a lot about hair, makeup, or clothes."
Ellen's metamorphosis began the next morning with a new haircolor. "Her blonde is almost beige, and it washes out her complexion," Ken explained. "Taking it a bit darker—with more rich, golden tones and thicker highlights—will actually make the color, and her skin, brighter." A few new layers in front made her narrow face appear a bit fuller and put more focus on her eyes ("so big, and the most gorgeous green-gold," Rebecca said). Cat's-eye liner—slightly elongated at the outer corners—made them look even wider. "I'm using a grayish brown instead of black, though, which would be too severe," Rebecca says. "You want people to notice the whole package, not just the makeup." A light caramel-tinted lip gloss, pink cream blush on the apples of her cheeks, and carefully groomed brows ("Blondes should keep them two shades darker than their hair, to help define the eyes," Eliza said), and Ellen officially achieved knockout status.
We did a double-take when she emerged in a champagne silk gown that seemed to melt over her figure—she was still strong, still commanding, but also resplendent and really sexy. After she vamped for our cameras, she went home for another shoot: Her husband and three daughters were so awed by her new look, they had to snap some shots of their own.
Dress, Domenico Vacca. Ring, Diamonair.
— Jenny Bailly
Judson O'Hair, 41
Technology Sales Executive
"The vixen in me was never really…encouraged," says Judson, recalling the kilt-and-kneesocks uniform of her days at a girls' school, the bulky sweaters of her college years in Vermont, the conservative crewnecks she currently favors when she calls on her (mostly male) clients. "I haven't done the whole 'sexy' thing—until today." But for a first-timer, she was a natural, hardly flinching as Ken transformed her simple shoulder-length hair ("It's always been a variation on this theme," she says) into a glamorous bob, stacked in the back and with side-swept bangs in the front, to bring more focus to her deep brown eyes. "The silhouette reminds me of Faye Dunaway's style in Bonnie and Clyde," Ken says. "All the edges are soft, but the overall effect is still bold, daring."
Our fashion editor said the same about the next step in Judson's vixenization: sliding into a curve-hugging, cleavage-baring silk jersey dress. To balance the sophisticated haircut and clothes, Rebecca kept the makeup understated, blending a warm beige shadow over Judson's lids and smudging a light brown one along her upper lashline. Then she tapped on a pink lipstick to leave a raspberry stain on her mouth. Once the transformation was complete, we wheeled in a plush, unmade bed; Judson hesitated only for a second before she hopped in (rhinestone-studded stilettos and all). After her roll in the sheets, she reflected on her foray into "the whole 'sexy' thing": "I've always thought of myself as the perky, fun girl, the goofball; suddenly, I feel powerful."
A few days later, she called to give us an update after a client meeting. "The guys didn't even notice any difference," she said. "But somehow I felt more serious, more grown-up. I'm definitely going to keep up this cut."
Dress, Zac Posen. Earrings, De Beers. Ring, David Yurman. Bracelet, Whiteflash.
— Jenny Bailly
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