By Carolyn Barbre

Move over Rodeo Drive! The lovely ladies of Lindsay have the hottest new boutique and makeup studio north of Melrose, Picaso's Passion at 261 N. Elmwood Ave., two doors south of Virginia's Hair Salon.

Proprietor Suzi Picaso, 36, has worked in the cosmetic industry for 16 years, 13 of them for Gottschalks. She credits her husband, Joe Gonzales, for the recent turn of events, but this woman has a lot on the ball.

"Joe is the one who really made my dream come true to do this. He said, 'You've been working so hard, let's do this,'" she said introducing her husband at the grand opening of the business on Thursday, July 29. Picaso is Suzi's mother's maiden name, which she passed on to her daughter with the belief, Suzi said, that she would be an artist. She is a makeup artist, on the national team for Chanel Cosmetics. Her area is along the coast from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo. She is also a makeup artist for NeoStrata which manufactures Exuviance.

"The patented Exuviance line of skincare products contains a unique combination of Alpha and Polyhydroxy acids, soothing botanicals and marine extracts to restore and moisturize the skin. Vitamins, antioxidants and sunscreens protect the skin against harmful environmental factors, free radicals and premature aging," according to their website. Picaso was a coordinator for Exuviance, the one who would go in the stores and train the clerks regarding the product.

"Now that I have branched off on my own, they were super happy that I was going to carry Exuviance in my boutique and be a tool I used." Picaso said this line of make-up is extolled by plastic surgeons and dermatologists. She is on the referral list for these physicians when they are looking for a point-of-purchase for their patients.

The cost for a makeup make-over is $25. "It's really reasonable. There are so many women who just want to be educated in makeup and skin care." Picaso said, especially with the Botox rage and chemical peels. She said her boutique and Gottschalks are the only locations in Tulare County that carry the full line of Exuviance products. "I have exclusivity through this area since I am a makeup artist."

The boutique is about much more than makeup. Picaso's Passion carries a selection of the latest fashions and all accessories including darling shoes, precious bags, jewelry, hats, even sunglasses. "I get everything from L.A. where I go every week. Anything I see that women will be wanting I get. I take requests from my clients and bring it to them. Women love it. We're about two years behind [fashion-wise in the Valley] I get a very select amount of the newest things. I am just so excited. I feel that the women here just need an upscale boutique and makeup studio. I make them feel very comfortable."

Picaso also works with name photographers, has worked on makeup teams that work with stars like Jennifer Lopez, does the makeup for The Barn Theater productions in Porterville and much more. In addition she is creating her own line of makeup, "Picaso's Lips," and has a patent pending on a makeup pallet, "Picaso's Pallet" naturally, for makeup artists as well as women in general. Country Plastics in Woodlake is making the prototype. She plans to take it to trade shows and the state board for the cosmetic industry as well as Gottschalks and anywhere else there might be interest. She said the pallet can be personalized so a cosmetic giant like Elizabeth Arden could put their colors and logo on it.

Suzie and Joe have two daughters, possibly the luckiest young ladies in Lindsay considering their mom's unique boutique. Amanda is a cheerleader at Lindsay High School, and was at a cheer camp at UCLA last week. Gabriella is 12 and will be attending Steve Garvey Jr. High School in the fall. She was class president at Jefferson Elementary last year. "I'm very blessed with my girls," mom said.

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The phone number is 562-1500. A tip for guys - your special lady would love a gift from this store.

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