Late summer, early autumn, whatever you want to call September, this is my favourite time of year, both in real life and in beauty. It's always warmer than we think, but cool enough for make-up to stop slipping down my face, and it's far too late for summer wardrobe panic.
Beauty-wise, autumn is by far the most exciting of the seasons, and the one to which the most attention should be paid. As with fashion, autumn is when the big beauty guns launch whatever it is they hope we will all soon be unable to live without. This means there are new products galore, and anyone with a clever eye can pick up items that will become the next beauty must-haves before they end up on the dreaded waiting lists.
Top of my list of autumn 2004 classics has to be the new Armani autumn range. No one does soft sultry colours quite the way Armani seems to do. The eye shadows and blushers (my personal favourites are sheer blush in 8 and 9, and eye shadows in 45 and 48) are so stunning that they work on every skin tone.
Next up is MAC, whose use of pigments is still largely unbeatable. Its new Gorgeous Gold Veluxe Pearl eye shadow, a sort of green-gold, is so beautiful it shouldn't be legal. Bobbi Brown has also come up trumps this autumn with two great new shades for its best-selling long-wear gel eye liners: espresso ink, a rich, deep brown, and my favourite, black plum.
And finally, Chanel has really done itself proud. First, with Ombre d'Eau, a fabulous new range of eye shadows that look liquid in the bottle but dry on application, leaving colours with wonderful depth and texture (dark skins should try number 30). But it's the Lèvres Impression de Chanel that wins my award for Product Most Likely To Be Copied. Neither lipstick nor lip gloss, this "trio of make-up pads", each saturated with lip colour, uses the principle of ink pad printing to apply colour to the lips in a completely new way. They go on counter this Monday and they'll be like gold dust by Tuesday.