Famed Parisian macaroon shop Laduree began as a single rue Royale bakery, expanding to Milan, and eventually, Dubai, Tokyo, and Sydney. Macaroon flavors range from a sweet and savory salted caramel to a subtle pistachio, a fragrant but not overbearing floral rose petal to the classic vanilla bean. A flight to Paris is no longer necessary to cop a macaroon - although a getaway to Paris is always welcome.
In 2012, Laduree joined the beauty business, introducing a collection of bath and body products inspired by the colors of their macaroons- with a myriad of cosmetic companies folowing suit . Violet powders and rasberry gels imbue glazed cheeks and rose-shaped blushes; lilac dyed creams embraced by pouts of pastel pink; a dressing table adorned with macaroon mirrors and  gold accented eggs- a little slice of Paris for the celluloid vanity. Sofia Coppola chose the French luxury bakery to produce the exquisite, dream-like confections that defined the excessive Queen of France, as portrayed by Kirsten Dunst in Marie Antoinette. Jessica Chastain wears violet eye shadow with a punchy raspberry lip. Naomi Watts tries rose pink lips and light pink pastel cheeks to match. Scarlett Johansson softens a candy colored royal purple lash with a lavender lip. On a Young Hollywood cover of Vanity Fair, Amy Adams wears seafoam green organza with a deep pink heel. Zoe Saldana stands regally in a baby blue ‘50s silhouette fit one piece. And Emily Blunt lounges in salmon pink elbow grazing gloves, a confectionary crème hat. 
Pat McGrath is, arguably, the most influential trendsetter in makeup.  “When a beauty trend is happening on the runway, most of the time Pat is behind it” is the prevailing rule in the fashion world.  She is the artist sought out by the top fashion houses, including Prada, Lanvin, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabanna, Jil Sander- the list is endless- committing to about 25 shows per season. If Steven Meisel has photographed something, Pat has most likely closely collaborated on the beauty. McGrath is legendary for traveling to shoots and shows with as many as 50 large black duffel bags in tow, each individually labeled: lashes, colored lashes, cream color, foundation, feathers, lipstick, lip gloss, Swarovski crystals, etc. McGrath takes a supreme interest in the narrative behind every collection and uses that inspiration to fuel her imagination, with a collection of collectable reference books, scanning subjects from ancient Byzantine artifacts to Sonia Delaunay textiles. She created a Technicolor butterfly with seafoam and bright blue pastels topped with Swarovski crystals for Dior’s Spring 2013 show, looked to a cool lavender and touch of rose pink to give Givenchy Fall 2013 a hint of lightness, and integrated confectionary pink and banana yellow into ‘50s beauty-inspired Dolce & Gabanna collection.
If a pastel complexion is a little too sweet for your tastes, look to macaroon-inspired pieces to soften your summer wardrobe. For Resort 2014, Alexander Wang expressed wanting “something sweet but almost saccharine, synthetic-feeling,” pointing to candy wrappers as inspiration.  Pink pleated pants and skirts and caramel leather blend sweeten neutrals like black and grey. Phillip Lim frosts light blue pieces with hazelnut and vanilla- an ode to cupcakes. Stella McCartney lightens the edge of faux-snakeskin by utilizing a blush and custard yellow palette. And Christopher Kane mixes banana yellow organza with pastel pink chiffon and shower cap plastic for cocktail dresses that are part sweet, part Psycho-inspired graceful monster.
Fashion always remains quite aware, and seemingly takes cue, from the arts- whether it’s the art of baking or the smudge of a watercolor.  Leonardo da Vinci first mentioned the pastel medium in 1495.  Maurice Quentin de La Tour and Rosalba Carriera created masterpieces using the milky hues as far back as 1703.  Today, tucked away beside a dry cleaners in a Paris courtyard, is the shop that supplied faithful customer and Impressionist master Edgar Degas  with the one-of-a-kind pastel colors used in his series of ballet dancers- some of his most famous works.  In the Marais district, La Maison du Pastel, which appears almost unchanged since the 1920s, is only open on Thursday afternoons.  It is run by Isabella Roche, the youngest relative of the three elderly sisters who carried on the work of the grandfather, Henri Roche.   
Today, a range of contemporary artists—Will Cotton with his sherbet shaded cotton candy series, Piotr Uklanki with his pastel rainbow spotted collage – integrate delicate hues into their works. Anne Hamilton and Julie Verhoeven crafted lemon, egg and nude wrapped foam boxes—a candy-colored, curve-filled lounging motif. It’s not hard to imagine Marilyn Minter photographing a macaroon series.
Starting with Paris, a whole range of cities seem to be inspired by pastels. The fishing villages that climb the mountains of Cinque Terre, Italy appear as if they were drawn in place by the pastel hand of a dreaming artist.  Overlooking the sea, they reflect their varied bright colors onto the surface of the Mediterranean.  Many years ago, the priestly caste of Jodhpur, India painted their homes blue to separate themselves from the city’s buildings.  Soon after, the Jodhpur’s citizens followed suit, creating a new tradition in painting their homes blue.  The city has long outgrown its old walls, but at its core it remains a watery indigo.  Blue also takes claim in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, as blue bricks- shipped over from Spain during the 16th century- pave the streets of the UNESCO World Heritage site.  In Cape Town, South Africa a group of Southeast Asian and Muslim immigrants live together in the quarter of Bo Kaap; pink, orange, yellow, and blue homes neighbor each other, creating a community of eye candy.

Australian-born and New York-based photographer Ward Roberts dedicated four years to capturing the likes of this global eye candy, but in the shape of empty sporting courts and fields.  He traveled to Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, and New York so that he could document the beautiful, humanizing, and liberating spirit of these urban courts, even in their vacant states of being.  Complete without life and people, Roberts found these places uplifting and took comfort in the vibrancy of the rose acrylic courts, the fading lilac and daffodil concrete bleachers, the tangerine posts, and the plush, mint of untrammeled grass.     
We feel more alive when living in color. Auras are the electromagnetic fields that surround the human body, and every organism and object in the Universe.  They are categorized by different colors, which brings us to think that colors are living things, themselves.  They seem to breathe.  They have their own stories.  There is something in the make up of a waxy pastel stick that makes us want to grab hold of a white piece of paper and just, well, create. Decorate and embellish. Surround yourself with living color: introduce the impressionist artists’ hues into your kitchen with a porcelain tea set stacked with homemade macaroons; sip a glass of just-sweet-enough pink lemonade, and, treat skin to a pastel makeover in your summer boudoir.

~Susan Brickell