HOLLYWOOD STARS ARE NOTORIOUSLY TOUCHY ABOUT being touched up. So when makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin asked today's leading ladies to let him radically recast their looks, they could have taken serious umbrage. Instead, over a two-week span last year, Aucoin, 35, transformed several of his longtime clients into legends of an earlier Hollywood: Courtney Love turned into Jean Harlow, Demi Moore morphed into Clara Bow, Gwyneth Paltrow became Kim Novak, and Cher was made over as a Merle Oberon-style siren. Her picture, along with the others, appears in Aucoin's how-to tome Making Faces. "Kevyn isn't a makeup man," said Cher in the book. "He's a magician."

A native of Lafayette, La., Aucoin started by painting his kid sister Carla "like one of the models in Vogue." When he was 22, his work appeared in the real Vogue. Now living in New York City with boyfriend and project coordinator Eric Sakas, Aucoin says his "whole agenda is to destroy stereotypes. We, as human beings, tend to feel more comfortable putting people into boxes." Of course there's more to the project than that. "All of these [stars] are friends of mine," he says, "and we all have an incredibly sick sense of humor."

LISA MARIE PRESLEY AS MARILYN MONROE
"I did the signature Marilyn Monroe makeup tricks—giving her big red lips, curling the outer lip a little bit and pushing the eyelashes down at the corners," says Aucoin. When he finished 30 minutes later—and added the trademark Monroe wig—"everyone on the set gasped. It was almost like Marilyn channeling herself through Lisa Marie."

DEMI MOORE AS CLARA BOW
To transform the GI Jane star into the famed silent movie actress, Aucoin brushed Moore's eyebrows "down at the ends and up in the middle" and added plenty of grayish-brown eye shadow to make her eyes appear rounder. But Bow's "defining element," says Aucoin, "is the bee-stung lip," which he drew inside her natural lip line with a dark-toned pencil. The photo's downward angle, he says, adds to the illusion of a small face and mouth.

GWYNETH PALTROWAS KIM NOVAK
Paltrow's transformation into Kim Novak took a mere 15 to 20 minutes. The whole look, he says, "was about the eyebrows," which he drew on with a brown pencil. The rest? "Pink lip gloss, a little mascara, her hair pulled up and the big brown sweater all contributed to the gamine feeling." And, says Aucoin, Paltrow "really got into her character" to capture Novak's "elegance and yet accessible air."

ISABELLA ROSSELLINI AS BARBRA STREISAND
As a child, Aucoin admired Barbra Streisand "for her strength and nobility." This makeover—his personal favorite—worked because "Isabella, like Barbra, has a beautifully strong profile." Besides a wig, Aucoin used a light-brown pencil to give the eyebrows "a slightly dramatic arch," then added "brown powder eye shadow and a black liquid liner, the signature of the diva look."

DREW BARRYMORE AS A CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD SIREN
Aucoin describes Barrymore's thin-browed look as "the sophisticate"—a combination of Marlene Dietrich, Claudette Colbert and Myrna Loy. Barrymore's "youthful, fresh kind of beauty," he says, made turning her into someone "womanly and very Park Avenue" a challenge. But, he adds, "she is an old soul, and I think she projects all that ancient knowledge in this photograph."

COURTNEY LOVE AS JEAN HARLOW
People think of Love as "that crazy drug-addict wild woman," says Aucoin. But new brows and glossy red lips helped turn the singer-cum-actress into the Red Dust actress by emphasizing her "starlet look."